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.
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
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 to 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:
- New York City Pre-Arrival Guide for F-1 Students (PDF)
- Westchester Pre-Arrival Guide for F-1 Students (PDF)
- New York City Pre Arrival Guide for J-1 Students (PDF)
Step 5: Arrival to the University
New International Student Manadatory Immigration Sessions And Orientations
Pace University is required by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to report international students' arrival, full-time registration, academic status and progress, local address, as well as other information.
It is mandatory to check-in with ISS as well as attend the appropriate International Student Immigration Session or Orientation as listed below.
UNDERGRADUATE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
All Freshman and Transfer International students must attend a New Undergraduate Student Orientation provided by the University on Thursday, January 18 on top of the Mandatory Immigration Orientation Session on Wednesday, January 17.
All undergraduate international students on an F-1 visa who are first-time students at Pace must attend the mandatory immigration session. This session will focus on immigration regulations pertaining to international students on F-1 visa, visa applicable benefits, and restrictions.
New York City Campus
Wednesday, January 17 - 9:00am to 12:00pm. at One Pace Plaza, Bianco Room
Thursday, January 18 - 3:30 to 5:00pm. at Kessel Student Center
GRADUATE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
All graduate international students on an F-1 visa who are first-time students at Pace must attend the mandatory new international student orientation. This orientation will focus on immigration regulations pertaining to international students on F-1 visa, visa applicable benefits, and restrictions.
New York City Campus
Wednesday, January 17 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm at One Pace Plaza, Bianco Room
Thursday, January 18 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm at Kessel Student Center
J-1 DIRECT EXCHANGE STUDENTS
Thursday, January 18 - 9:00am to 4:00pm at 163 William Street, 16th Floor
(in the event of snow-related University closure, orientation will be held on Friday, January 20.)
Mandatory Check-in Procedure
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
Please review the appropriate orientation packet before orientation: