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International Students & Scholars

Steps To Enter The U.S. On An F-1 or J-1 Visa

Step 1: Obtain an I-20 or DS-2019 Form

Seeking an F-1 visa? Obtain an I-20 Form (Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 visa). The following links will guide you in obtaining your I-20.

UNDERGRADUATE

GRADUATE

Admitted to Pace as an exchange student? Obtain a DS-2019 Form (Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 visa). Find a checklist here to obtain your Pace DS-2019.


Step 2: Pay SEVIS I-901 Fee

After receiving your Pace I-20 or DS-2019, pay the SEVIS fee. Follow these instructions to pay the SEVIS fee for F-1 students or J-1 students.


Step 3: Schedule your visa appointment

For information on scheduling a visa appointment, find the consulate or embassy nearest to you. Many consulates and embassies provide online appointment scheduling.

Visa processing times vary widely depending on the country and time of year. Some  applications undergo lengthy background checks. ISS suggests scheduling your appointment upon receipt of your I-20 or DS-2019, not sooner. U.S. consulates and embassies will issue F-1 and J-1 visa stamps no earlier than 120 days prior to the start date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019. Once you receive your visa, you may enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days prior to the program start date.

*Canadian citizens are exempt from Step 3, but must present their valid passport, I-20 or DS-2019, and SEVIS fee payment receipt at the port of entry to the U.S., as well as obtain an I-94 arrival record annotated by class of admission -  F-1 or J-1.  


Step 4: Arrival in the U.S.

ARRANGE YOUR TRAVEL AND ACCOMODATION

Once you have obtained your visa, make your travel arrangements and plan your accomodations.  Learn more about Pace Housing.

ENTER THE UNITED STATES NO MORE THAN 30 DAYS IN ADVANCE

Enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before and no later than the beginning date indicated on your I-20/ DS-2019. This is very important. While you may want to arrive sooner to find an apartment and prepare for school, U.S. law prohibits you from doing so. The only exception is for students who have transferred their SEVIS record from another school to Pace, please consult number 4 for Accepted International Students.

ARRIVING AT A U.S. PORT OF ENTRY

When you arrive at a U.S. port of entry, you must present the following:

  • a passport valid at least six months into the future,
  • your F-1 or J-1 visa (if you are Canadian you do not need an F-1 or J-1 visa),
  • your I-20 or DS-2019 Form
  • copies of your admission letter and financial documents
  • SEVIS fee receipt (see instructions for guidance, F-1 or J-1).

GETTING FROM THE AIRPORT TO YOUR DESTINATION

The following Pre-Arrival Guides will help you with logistics, like transportation from the airport, as well as summarize all the pre-arrival steps to be followed:

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ORIENTATION AND MANDATORY CHECK-IN

Pace University is required by U.S. Law to report international students' arrival, full-time registration, academic status and progress, local address, as well as other information to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State.

IT IS MANDATORY to check-in with ISS as well as attend the appropriate International Student Orientation listed below.

NYC UNDERGRADUATE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

Thursday, September 1, 8:00-11:00 pm at 1 Pace Plaza, Student Union
Check-in begins at 7:30 am at 9 Spruce Street (entrance is around the corner from 1 Pace Plaza).

NYC GRADUATE INTERNATIONAL  STUDENTS

Wednesday, August 31, 9:00am-12:00pm at 1 Pace Plaza, Student Union
Check-in begins at 8:30 am at 9 Spruce Street (entrance is around the corner from 1 Pace Plaza).

WESTCHESTER UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

Friday, September 2, 3:00-5:00 pm at Kessel Campus Center, Pleasantville Campus

J-1 DIRECT EXCHANGE STUDENTS

Thursday-Friday, September 1-2

The following items are required for check-in at the International Student Orientation:

  • Your passport
  • I-20 (F-1 students)
  • DS-2019 (J-1 students)
  • I-94 electronic arrival/departure record.

The I-94 record can be accessed here. Refer to #3 in Maintaining Status for additional information.

Please review the appropriate orientation packet before orientation: