Congratulations on your acceptance to Syracuse University! You are about to join a diverse, global community of students and scholars representing 124 countries. We look forward to meeting you and assisting you with your transition to Syracuse.

After You Are Admitted

Undergraduate students who indicated in their application to Syracuse University that they will be applying for an F-1 or a J-1 visa, should receive their I-20 or DS-2019 forms by email after being notified of their admission to Syracuse University by the Admissions Office.

Graduate students who indicated in their application to Syracuse University that they will be applying for an F-1 or a J-1 visa, should receive their I-20 or DS-2019 forms by email after completing the Admissions Acceptance Form in the Admitted Student Portal, paying the tuition deposit, if required, and submitting proof of financial support.

If it has been 14 days since you were admitted (undergraduate students) or accepted your admission, paid the deposit, and submitted proof of financial support (graduate students) and you have not yet received your I-20 or DS-2019, please email the Center for International Services.

Already studying in the U.S.?  Undergraduate students and graduate students who are already in the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status, should follow the SEVIS Transfer-In instructions and will receive their I-20s or DS-2019 forms after their SEVIS records are transferred to Syracuse University.

When you receive your I-20 or DS-2019 form, review it carefully and make sure the information is correct. Your name on the I-20 or DS-2019 must be entered in the same format as it appears in your passport. If you have any questions, please email the Center for International Services  or call 315.443.2457.

If a mistake involves your name or date of birth, please attach a scanned copy of your passport and email the Center for International Services.


If you need to apply for a student visa, apply as early as possible. F-1 and J-1 visas are non-immigrant visas.


A SEVIS Fee is required if you are applying for an F-1 visa based on an I-20 form issued for “initial attendance” or a J-1 visa based on a DS-2019 form issued to “begin a new program.”  The fee is $350 for students applying for an F-1 visa and $220 for students applying for a J-1 visa. You should pay the SEVIS Fee before you apply for your visa and you must present proof of fee payment at the visa appointment.  Citizens of Bermuda and Canada do not need to apply for F-1 visas or J-1 visas, but must pay the SEVIS Fee before entering the U.S. to begin their studies.

Required Documentation:

Please refer to the U.S. Department of State website for documentation requirements for F-1 Students and J-1 Exchange Visitors. You should also consult your U.S. Embassy or Consulate to see if there are any additional country-specific visa application requirements.

Visa Application Process:

You should apply for your student visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside your country of permanent residence. Prior to scheduling your interview, you can check visa appointment waiting times. Please note that depending on your country of residence and field of study, visa processing times can exceed one month, so apply early.

Expedited/Emergency Appointments: 

If you are having difficulty scheduling an appointment for a visa interview, check the Consulate’s website to see if you may request an expedited/emergency appointment.  Not all U.S. Consulates are able to accommodate requests for emergency/expedited appointments.  Each Consulate will have their own specific criteria and procedures that you have to follow.  In general, an emergency/expedited appointment may be requested by a student who needs a visa to begin or resume a program of study in the U.S. within 60 days of the request when no regular visa appointments are available.  Some  U.S. Consulates may have a shorter time frame.

You will need to:

  • Pay the visa application fee.
  • Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.
  • Schedule an appointment online for the earliest available date. Please note that you must schedule an appointment before you can request an expedited date.
  • Follow the instructions for requesting an expedited/emergency appointment on the Consulate’s website.  Specific instructions will vary from Consulate to Consulate.

The only documentation you will need from Syracuse University is your I-20 or DS-2019 form indicating a start date of your academic program within 60 (or fewer) days.  No additional letters are required.

Visa Interview:

Student visa applicants must establish, to the satisfaction of the consular officer, that they have binding ties to a residence in a foreign country which they do not intend to abandon and that they will depart the U.S. when they have completed their studies. For certain countries, the U.S. Consulate may take 20 to 30 days or more to issue a visa. You will need to consider this when scheduling your visa appointment and making your travel plans.

New students are encouraged to arrive in Syracuse during the week before International Student Orientation.   This will allow time for you to complete the Center for International Services mandatory check-in process, attend orientation programs and prepare for the beginning of the semester. Some graduate students may need to arrive even earlier to attend orientation sessions held by their academic departments or by the Graduate School.

U.S. entry date restriction - When making your travel arrangements, be aware that you may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before the program start date noted on your I-20 or DS-2019 form.

Housing - You will be responsible for all housing when you arrive in Syracuse.  Links to temporary and permanent housing can be found at and

Follow Instructions for Admitted Students

Newly admitted students should review the instructions in the sections below prior to arriving in Syracuse.

The Center for International Services works closely with the Admissions Office, the New Student Programs office, and schools and colleges to assure students can achieve their academic objectives and become part of the Syracuse community.

As part of your arrival to Syracuse, the international student orientation program will cover topics on immigration, adjustment and a variety of other subjects. It will give you time to take care of necessary paperwork and important issues such as purchasing cellphones, opening bank accounts and shopping for daily necessities before classes begin. More importantly, you will have the advantage of becoming familiar with college life and campus resources to ease the transition to college in the U.S.

Your time at Syracuse will be exciting and exhilarating as you explore your interests, study and learn, make friends and take advantage of the many opportunities provided on campus to interact with students, scholars and faculty from around the world.

Here is some helpful information to review in advance of your arrival:

  • Explore the Required Tasks webpage.
  • Review information about international student orientation.
  • Learn more about the University-wide new student orientation within the Welcome Schedules.
  • Take the English Language Assessment Exam (ELAE): Non-native speakers of English must take the English Language Assessment Exam. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Matthew Hammill, English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Coordinator, by email at or calling 315.443.9484.
  • Get involved! Check out the Connections and Mix It Up student programs.

Whether it is your first time studying in the U.S., you are transferring from another institution in the U.S., or you are returning to the U.S. after previous study here, the staff of the Center for International Services is here to assist you with your transition to graduate studies at Syracuse University. You are joining a vast community of international graduate students and scholars!

The center works closely with the Graduate School and academic departments to assure that graduate students can achieve their academic objectives and become part of the Syracuse community. We hope that you will take advantage of the many opportunities provided on campus to interact with students, scholars and faculty from around the world to fulfill your potential and make the most of your time at Syracuse University.

In preparation for your arrival to Syracuse, here is some helpful information to review:

Incoming law students are asked to explore the Admitted Students College of Law webpage.

SEVIS Transfer In

Students who are attending other schools in the U.S. and who are in F-1 or J-1 status can request that their SEVIS records be transferred to Syracuse University by following instructions in this section.

  1. Receive an admission letter from Syracuse University.
  2. Contact your current school and follow their procedures for requesting your SEVIS record be transferred to another school.
  3. Complete the SEVIS Transfer In Form and email it to the Center for International Services with the subject line “Transfer-in Form.”

Within 3-5 business days of your SEVIS release date, Syracuse University will issue you a new “Transfer Pending” I-20 or a new DS-2019. I-20s will be emailed to the email address listed on the transfer-in form. J-1 students will receive an email with document shipping options once their DS-2019 is issued.

If you will be traveling outside the U.S. before beginning your studies at Syracuse University, you will need a valid visa to re-enter the U.S. unless you are a Canadian citizen.

  • Unexpired Visa – F-1 Students: You do not need to apply for a new visa stamp if your current one is still valid. You will be able to use your current visa to re-enter the U.S. when using your Syracuse University “Transfer Pending” I-20, despite the fact that your visa stamp has your previous school’s name on it.
  • Unexpired Visa – J-1 Students: You will need to apply for a new visa stamp even if you have an unexpired J-1 visa in your passport. The program number and university name on your visa must match the program number and university name on the DS-2019 you will be using to enter the U.S.
  • Expired Visa: If you are going to travel outside the U.S. before beginning your studies at Syracuse University and if you do not have a valid F-1 or J-1 visa, you will need to apply for the visa type that matches the document that you are requesting (F-1 visa with an I-20 form or J-1 visa with a DS-2019 form). Please contact the U.S. Consulate in your home country for application procedures. Be prepared to present financial documentation with the I-20 or DS-2019 when you apply for the visa. As a transfer student, you are not required to pay the SEVIS fee again. You should carry all of your previous I-20 or DS-2019 forms to your visa interview and when entering the U.S. in the event that you are asked questions about your previous status.

If you have checked in with the Center for International Services and are registered as a full-time student, we will register your record in SEVIS. Approximately two to four weeks after classes begin, we will issue you a "Continued Attendance" I-20. You will be notified by email when the updated I-20 has created and is available to you in the Document Center of the ISSS Portal. You must print out and use the “Continued Attendance” I-20, as it will be the most current I-20 and will be the one you use to travel, fill out I-9s, obtain a driver’s license and apply for a social security number.