Pace International student in front of a row of world flags

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

Congratulations on your acceptance to Pace University! We hope that we will see you all on campus for the Fall 2022 semester; however, given the uncertainty with travel bans and suspended visa services due to Covid-19, we understand that not everyone will be able to join us physically on campus. Whether you are able to join us in NYC or will be attending classes remotely from your home countries, we will continue to keep in touch with you during the semester. We hope that you and your families stay safe and healthy during these challenging times.

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

Seeking an F-1 visa? Obtain a Form I-20 (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 Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 visa).

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 (PDF) or J-1 students (PDF).

Effective June 24, 2019, the I-901 Fee for F international students is $350. The I-901 Fee for J exchange visitors is $220.

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 and Bermudian 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 Accommodation

Once you have obtained your visa, make your travel arrangements and plan your accommodations. 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 program start 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.

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 or Bermudian, you do not need an F-1 or J-1 visa)
  • your Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • copies of your admission letter and financial documents
  • SEVIS fee receipt

Getting From the Airport to Your Destination

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

Step 5: Arrival to the University

Mandatory F-1 Information Session for New International Students

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, and local address, as well as other information.

It is mandatory to check-in with ISS, as well as attend the mandatory F-1 Information Session:

F-1 Undergraduate International Students

The Information Session for all new F-1 undergraduate international students for Fall 2022 will be held on Wednesday, August 17, 2022 at 8:00 a.m. EST on Zoom. Zoom details will be provided via email.

Undergraduate International Students: All Freshman and Transfer International students must attend a New Undergraduate Student Orientation provided by the University on top of the mandatory F-1 Information Session for New International Students.

F-1 Graduate International Students

The Information Session for all new F-1 graduate international students for Fall 2022 will be held on Wednesday, August 17, 2022 at 8:00 a.m. EST on Zoom. Zoom details will be provided via email.

Mandatory J-1 Orientation for New International Students

Wednesday, August 24, 2022 on Zoom. Zoom details will be provided via email.

Mandatory Check-in Procedure

You are required by the U.S. Immigration law to check-in with the University International student office for activating your SEVIS record. Please complete the check-in procedure as soon as you arrived. Remember: You are reporting your arrival to the U.S. and submitting your arrival record. Therefore, the check-in can be done ONLY after your arrival, never before.

In order to check in online, once you have arrived to the U.S., you will complete the New International Student Check-in request in ISS Connect. New students will receive an Invitation Email to ISS Connect. To access ISS Connect for the first time, you must use the link in that Invitation Email.

In the check-in request, you will be directed to report your arrival to the U.S. by uploading the following documents identifying you and serving as evidence of your arrival:

  1. Passport page with biographical information.
  2. Passport page with visa stamp
  3. I-20 Form (pp. 1 and 2) *Transfer students must also upload previous I-20s.
  4. Most Recent I-94 (Visit the I-94 Website to access your I-94 record)

Having trouble with online document check-in through ISS Connect? Send an email to with subject line "Check In" and a description of your issue so we can help.