Please consider downloading the latest version of Internet Explorer
to experience this site as intended.
Meloria • Ever Better
Search Tools Main Menu

Step By Step: Procedures for Incoming Students

For helpful video resources on how to navigate these steps, please visit our TIPS On-Demand page.

1) Request your Immigration Documents

You will need to submit the New Student Information Form to the University. Please follow these detailed instructions to complete the form and collect the required documentation. ISO will issue your new Certificate of Eligibility as soon as possible.

2) Review & Sign your Document

Carefully review the information listed on your I-20 or DS-2019 to ensure that everything was entered accurately. The details listed on the document are shown exactly as they are reported through SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. If you discover an error, please notify the ISO immediately! Any errors should be reported and addressed before you visit the local US Consulate. If your document is accurate, sign and date it in blue ink, line 11 on the I-20 or section 8 on the DS-2019. The student should also sign and date any dependent documents.

3) Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee

In addition to the standard visa application fees, F-1 and J-1 applicants must pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee online. This fee should be paid before scheduling your visa appointment.

4) Prepare & Interview for your Visa

To receive the student visa, you are required to schedule an interview and apply for the visa in person at the local US Consulate or Embassy. More information on Preparing for the Visa Application is available online. Please review information on Applying for a Visa Outside Your Home Country if you are considering applying for a visa in a country other than where you have citizenship. Note: Canadian citizens are not required to apply for a visa, but must still prepare all other documents.

Multiple Schools: If you have multiple documents from different US universities, you will need to decide in advance which school you plan to attend. Once the visa is issued, you must enter the country with the I-20 or DS-2019 from the school printed on the visa stamp and your permission to study will be granted only at that school.

Visa Delay or Denial: Some visa are delayed due to administrative processing. Please see our Travel section to review more about visa decisions or to report a delay/denial.

5) Enter the United States in valid F-1 or J-1 Status

Once your visa is approved, you can finalize travel plans to Rochester. You are permitted to enter the United States up to 30 days prior to the program start date listed on your initial I-20 or DS-2019. This travel restriction does not apply to Immigration Transfer students or Change of Level students. Change of Status applicants should not leave the US while their application is pending. More info on Travel Preparations is available online.

6) Arrive in Rochester & Report to ISO

When you arrive in the United States., it is helpful to know what to expect. Please review our Arrival Information for instructions at the Port of Entry and getting to the University. You will need to complete the mandatory Immigration Check-In process with ISO within 1 week of your arrival. You will also be expected to attend the International Student Orientation Program (ISOP) held for new students in your school or program.