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Incoming International Students

Congratulations on your admission to the University of Rochester! The International Services Office (ISO) will help you navigate the processing of becoming an F-1 or J-1 student.

Our office can help you with aspects of the New Student Information Form, including:

We also provide video resources on tools for immigration and preparation support and answers to frequently asked questions. Visit NAFSA’s website for tips when applying for a student visa.

Step-by-Step Procedures

  • 1. Request your immigration document(s): I-20 or DS-2019

    Complete and submit the New Student Information Form to the University, along with the required documentation. Read the instructions carefully.

    ISO will issue your new Certificate of Eligibility as soon as possible.

  • 2. Review and sign your document(s)

    Carefully review the information listed on your I-20 or DS_2019 to ensure accuracy. The details listed on the document are shown exactly as they are reported through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

    If you discover an error, notify ISO immediately. 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). Sign and date any dependent documents as well.

  • 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. Pay this fee and print proof of payment before scheduling your visa appointment.

  • 4. Prepare and interview for your student visa

    To receive the student visa, you must schedule an interview and apply for the visa in person at the local US Consulate or Embassy. Learn more about the visa application process, including applying for a visa outside your home country of citizenship

    Note: Under current immigration rules, Canadian citizens are not required to apply for a visa. However, you must still prepare all other documents and pay the I-901 SEVIS fee for F-1 and J-1 students. Landed immigrants in Canada, who have not obtained citizenship, are still required to obtain the appropriate US visa for activities here. Visit the Department of State website for details.

    Multiple schools: If you have multiple documents from different US universities, you 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 visas are delayed due to administrative processing. Learn more about visa application decisions or report a visa delay/denial.

  • 5. Enter the US 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 US 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 Academic Level students. Change of Status applicants should not leave the US while their application is pending.

    Learn more about preparing for travel.

  • 6. Arrive in Rochester and report to ISO

    Before arriving in the US, please review our arrival information  page for instructions about the Port of Entry and getting to the University.

    Complete the mandatory immigration check-in process with ISO within one week of your arrival.

    Please plan to attend the International Student Orientation Program held for new students in your school or program.