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 spring 2021 semester; however, given the uncertainty with the current 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 spring 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 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
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 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 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 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 and Scholars (PDF)
- Online Pre-Arrival Orientation for F-1 Students
- Online Pre-Arrival Orientation for J-1 Students
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. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Information Session will be held virtually via Zoom this year in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment.
The Fall 2021 Information Session for all new F-1 undergraduate and graduate international students will be on Thursday, August 19 via Zoom. Details will be announced on this page shortly.
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.
Mandatory J-1 Orientation for New International Students
Bilateral Exchange Students
To Be Announced
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 log in to ISS Connect and complete the New International Student Check-in request.
In the check-in request, 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) *Transfer students must also upload previous I-20s.
d. I-94 arrival/departure record (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 firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line "Check In" and a description of your issue so we can help.