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). View the checklist 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 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 (PDF) or J-1 (PDF)).
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:
- 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)
- Online Pre-Arrival Orientation for F-1 Students
- Online Pre-Arrival Orientation for J-1 Students
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
Please arrive to Pace University to 3 Spruce Street entrance no later than at 8:30am.
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 5:00pm at One Pace Plaza, Bianco Room
Please arrive to Pace University to 3 Spruce Street entrance no later than at 12:30pm.
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
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., please follow the step-by-step instructions outlined below:
1. Log in ISS Student Portal. Your Pace University credentials (user name and password) will provide access to ISS Student Portal
2. You will be prompted to select the appropriate term. Choose “Spring 2018”. This is when you begin your degree program at Pace and therefore are required to complete the immigration procedure as a new student
3. On the check-in page you will be directed to reporting your arrival to the U.S. by uploading the following documents identifying you and serving as evidence of your arrival
a. Passport page with biographical information.
b. Passport page with visa stamp affixed
c. I-20 Form (pp. 1 and 2)
d. I-94 arrival/departure record (Visit the I-94 Website to access your I-94 record)
4. Upload scans (PDF format) of the original documents
5. Fill out the ISS Check-in Form
6. Click “Submit” (clicking “save” will not submit the information to the ISS Student Portal)
7. Read and sign the acknowledgement form
8. Click “Submit” (clicking “save” will not submit the information to the ISS Student Portal)
9. Once you’ve completed all of the items, click “Submit” at the top of the page
Having trouble with online document check-in through the ISS Student Portal? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line "Check In" and a description of your issue so we can help.
Please review the appropriate orientation packet before orientation: