Preparing for Your Arrival (Getting your immigration documents.)
Congratulations on your acceptance to Virginia Tech! You are joining the ranks of nearly 4,000 international students from over 100 countries who have chosen to pursue their undergraduate or graduate studies at Virginia Tech. Below you will find information to assist you in preparing for your arrival to the U.S. and/or the Virginia Tech campus.
SUBMITTING THE "NEW INTERNATIONAL STUDENT INTAKE FORM"
The New International Student Intake Form could take up to 20 minutes to complete. However, if you are unable to complete the entire form at once, you have the option to choose to "Save Draft" at the bottom of the form so that you may return to complete it at another time.
In order to submit the New International Student Intake Form, you must follow these steps:
- Create your Virginia Tech User ID/Personal Identifier (also known as your PID). For more information about setting up your PID, please visit the applicable page below:
- Undergraduate Students: You're In, Now What?
- Graduate Students: Getting Started as a Student
- Your PID will the the first part of your official VT email address. For example, if your VT email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, then your PID will be hokiebird.
- Once you have created your PID, you will then need to set up your 2-Factor Authentication before attempting to log in (see "important note" below regarding setting up your 2-Factor Authentication).
- Once you have set up your 2-Factor Authentication, navigate to the IntlHokies Portal: https://sun-prod-app.db.vt.edu.
- Select the large, orange “Login” button, which will automatically direct you to a login page where you will be required to enter your PID and password, followed by the 2-Factor Authentication process.
- Once you successfully log in, you will be taken to the “IntlHokies Services Home Page” - you will find the New International Student Intake Form in the "Admissions" section of the menu to the left.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Virginia Tech uses a high-security login process referred to as 2-Factor Authentication, which is mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff, and it required to log in to the IntlHokies Portal. To set up your 2-Factor, go to https://it.vt.edu/projects/2factor.html. If you need additional assitance setting up or using 2-Factor, you can submit a request through http://www.4help.vt.edu or call 4Help directly at +1.540.231.4357.
- Copy of your passport ID page
- Proof of sufficient funds
- Sufficient funds will need to cover educational and living expenses for your first year. Please review our Financial Requirements page thouroughly for details on the required amount of funds and acceptable financial documents you may submit.
- Dependent information (if applicable)
- If you have any dependents (spouse and/or children), you will need to provide the passport ID page and additional funds (see Financial Requirements page) required for each dependent you plan to bring to the US with you.
If you will be transferring your SEVIS record from another U.S. institution, you will need to provide the following additional items:
- Current SEVIS ID number
- Copy of your most recent Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
- Copy of your most recent Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)
- Anticipated date of last attendance at your previous institution OR the end date of your current OPT authorization period (whichever is applicable)
- The full name and email address of your previous International Student Advisor and/or Designated School Official (DSO) at your previous institution who will be facilitating the release of your SEVIS record - they will be sent an electronic "Transfer In" form to complete, so be sure that you have completed any "Transfer Out" requirements, as well. See below for the applicable school/program code, required by your previous school to transfer your SEVIS record:
- F-1 undergraduate transfers: WAS214F01228002
- F-1 graduate students (admitted to Blacksburg campus) transfers: WAS214F01228001
- F-1 graduate students (admitted to D.C. area campus) transfers: WAS214F01228003
- J-1 transfers: P-1-00071
If you are inside the US in another status besides F-1 or J-1, you will only need to provide the following:
- Your most recent Form I-94 so that we can confirm your current status and update your student record accordingly; additionally:
- If you confirm via the form that you wish to maintain your current status, no additional action will be required once your form is submitted.
- If you confirm via the form that you wish to change to F-1 or J-1 status, you will be contacted by one of our Cranwell International Center's International Student Advisors to discuss your options.
We ask that you please allow 10 business days for the Cranwell International Center to process your request.
If you are issued a Form I-20, your document will be sent to you as a password protected document via your VT email account where you can download, print, and sign it.
If you are issued a Form DS-2019, your document will be mailed to you or it can be picked up in-person; an International Student Advisor will reach out to you about shipping and/or pick-up options once your request is procecssed.
PREPARING FOR YOUR ARRIVAL TO THE U.S.
If you were issued an “Initial Attendance” Form I-20 or a “Begin new program” Form DS-2019, you will need to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee and set up a visa appointment.
If you are transferring your SEVIS record to Virginia Tech or changing academic levels, you do not need to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee again and will only require a visa appointment if you are currently outside the US and your current visa has expired. You do not need to renew your visa because you started a new program or if you will remain in the US until your new program begins.
You can pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee by going to the following website:
The purpose of this fee is to support the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which keeps track of students and exchange visitors, ensuring that they maintain their status while in the US. We recommend that students pay the fee as soon as possible, as failure to pay this fee could result in the denial of your visa.
The current fee amount is $350 USD for F-1 students and $220 USD for J-1 students - there are no additional fees for dependents.
You will need to make an appointment at a U.S. Consulate/Embassy to apply for the required F-1/J-1 entry visa. Below are a few helpful links regarding the visa process:
- U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs “Student Visa” website - since the procedure can vary by US Consulate/Embassy, be sure to consult the instructions on your home country’s specific US Embassy or Consulate website.
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Study in the States “Student” website - the “Prepare to Travel to the United States” section will be most helpful, with instructions regarding the visa application process and document preparation for your arrival to the US.
- Exchange Visitor Program Welcome Brochure, published by US Department of State (J-1 students ONLY)
Once you have obtained your visa and are preparing to make travel arrangments, please note that students who have been issued an "Initial Attendance" Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 cannot enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the program start date listed on their immigration document, so be sure to plan accordingly. Additionally, be sure that you follow all necessary and required precautions while traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic. You will need to confirm any travel requirements and/or restrictions with your chosen airline(s).
When your travel day comes, make sure that you have the following documents in your carry-on (do not place them in your checked luggage):
- Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
- Evidence of financial support (see Financial Requirements page for more details)
- Evidence of student or exchange visitor status, such as transcripts or admission letter
- Paper receipt for payment of SEVIS I-901 fee (if applicable)
- The contact information for Cranwell International Center
You can visit the U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement website for more information on what students can expect at a U.S. Port of Entry, as well as information about immigration documents.
AFTER YOUR ARRIVAL TO THE U.S. AND/OR CAMPUS
All new students are required to check-in with the Cranwell International Center upon their arrival, and many of you will need to obtain a Social Security Number to begin working on-campus. These require you to submit additional forms through the IntlHokies Portal.
All new international students must complete a mandatory immigration check-in process after arrival to the US and/or campus by submitting the Immigration Check-In e-form through the IntlHokies Portal.
Your SEVIS record will be activated only after you complete this mandatory check-in. Failure to check in may result in the de-activation/cancellation of your SEVIS record and could mean you are no longer able to legally stay in the U.S.
If you have secured authorized on-campus employment in the form of an assistantship or wage position, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). Before you can go to the Social Security Administrative (SSA) office to apply, you will need to thoroughly review the detailed instructions on our Obtaining a Social Security Number webpage.
GETTING STARTED AS A STUDENT
To learn more about getting started as a student - inclusing orientation, setting up your PID (Personal IDentifier), traveling to Blacksburg, dates and deadlines, housing, and more - be sure to visit and review the new international student orientation page.