As you prepare for your arrival to Virginia Tech and the US, the staff of the Cranwell International Center is excited to introduce you to your new home and to help make your transition easy and enjoyable. This Pre-Arrival section includes information and resources regarding the first steps you will need to take before arriving to ensure a smooth transition. You will find detailed guidelines on applying for a visa, paying tuition and fees, obtaining your required immunizations and insurance, as well as other recommendations for a successful entry into the United States.  

Once you have been accepted to Virginia Tech, you will need to pay the matriculation fee - this can be done either online or by mail, although online is the preferred method. 

Please note that the Cranwell International Center cannot issue undergraduate immigration documents until you pay the required matriculation fee. The visa process can be lengthy and unpredictable, so we encourage you to follow the steps outlined in your acceptance email or as listed on the Office of Undergraduate Admission's website as soon as possible.

Once you have submitted the required matriculation fee, your record will be forwarded to Cranwell International Center for processing of the required immigration documents, if applicable. Depending on your particular situation, you may need Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 to facilitate your application for a student visa, your entry to the United States, and/or your appropriate status once you are admitted to the United States. 

Every Thursday, we will send out an Immigration Information Form to new international undergraduate students who have paid the matriculation fee. You are required to complete this information prior to us issuing your immigration documents. 

Please continue to check your email for additional information. If you have not received an email from us within 5-7 business days but you have submitted you matriculation fee, you may need to confirm the status of you payment with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and/or the Bursar’s Office. We will be unable to take additional action regarding your admission to Virginia Tech and your related immigration needs until we receive both your record and the completed Immigration Information Form. 

Once processed, you will be receiving your admission's packet from Cranwell International Center; the packet contains your I-20/DS-2019, and additional materials that are important for you to review and complete before your arrival to Virginia Tech.

Paying the SEVIS Fee

You are required to pay the SEVIS Fee online before arriving for your visa interview. Be sure to print the payment receipt prior to your appointment;  you will also be required to present your receipt when entering the U.S.

Making Your Visa Appointment & Preparing for Your Visa interview

You will need to contact the U.S. consulate in your country and follow the appropriate steps for scheduling a visa appointment. You will also find more detailed information on the U.S. Department of State’s website on how to prepare for your visa interview.


Your PID (Personal IDentifier) is the username you will use to log in to various Virginia Tech services; it will also be your email address. To create your PID, be sure to have your 9-digit Virginia Tech ID number ready and go to the PID creation page. During this process, you will also set up your account for 2-factor authentication (see below). 

For additional information, please visit the PID Overview Page

2-Factor Authentication 

Whenever logging in to most Virginia Tech services with your PID and PID password, a confirmation will be sent to a device you own for added security. This confirmation is much like an app notification, text, etc. To be able to receive this confirmation, you will first need to register a valid device.

You can, and should, register more than one device to your account; valid devices include mobile phones, tablets, landlines, or tokens. We highly recommend enrolling your mobile phone and installing the Duo app, as it offers multiple options for confirming your identity at login, even if your phone isn’t connected to a wireless network. If you have any issues or trouble now, or in the future, you can get assistance from 4Help.

For additional information, please visit the 2-Factor Authentication Overview Page.  

You can also check out the video tutorials for more information. 

 For Chinese Android Users

Because the Google Play Store is blocked in China, Chinese Android users have two options:

1.     Register your mobile phone number and purchase a new device upon arriving to the United States or

2.    Register a non-Android device (such as an iPad, laptop, etc.)

If you choose to register your mobile phone and purchase a new one, you should print out login bypass codes from MyVT, which will help with the transition to your new device. Printing out these codes will allow you to login and register your new device without having to use your old phone. You should print out the codes prior to arriving to the U.S., and make sure you put them somewhere safe so they don’t get lost during the journey. After you purchase and set up your new phone/tablet in the U.S., you can then register that device by logging in to your 2-Factor Authentication settings using one of the bypass codes. You can find instructions for printing out bypass codes here.

Every new student is required to complete the Registration Requirement in Hokie SPA. Please use your PID/2-factor Authentication tools to log onto Hokie SPA. Once you have logged into Hokie SPA, click on Registration and Schedule. In order to be ready to register for classes during Oreintation, you must complete all required items. You will know when something completed as it will turn from red to green (see example below). Please make sure you complete this requirement before you arrive at Virginia Tech. 


The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a US federal law that governs the access of the education information and records. 

In order for an authorized third party to access a student’s educational records, the third party must provide the relevant office with a FERPA passcode. The student must set up a FERPA passcode in their Hokie SPA account prior to a third party requesting access to information. 

Virginia Tech requires all admitted students to submit the Immunization History Form, which indicates the history of required immunizations; this form is required to be submitted AT LEAST one month prior to your arrival at Virginia Tech. 

For detailed information regrading how to submit your immunization documents and for a detailed list of required and/or recommended immunizations, please visit the Schiffert Health Center website.  Please be aware that your documents will need to be uploaded to the Online Student Health Portal AT LEAST ONE MONTH PRIOR to your arrival at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech requires all incoming, first-year students to live on campus. Please be sure to review the Freshman Residency Requirement section and complete your Housing and Dining Contract on the Housing and Residence Life website by June 1, 2017.  Failure to complete a housing contract will result in your withdrawal from the univeristy.

***When choosing which residence hall to list on your contract, it is important to note that most students must vacate the majority of residence halls during planned academic breaks (Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, and Spring Break). This is because housing contracts are usually only for 8 months, meaning the residence hall closes completely during break and students are unable to access their building or room. However, some allow for 10 month contracts, which enable students to request to remain on-campus during these breaks. (click here for form to request to remain on campus during breaks)

The 10-month contract residence halls include:

  • Ambler Johnston Hall (East and West) - residential colleges
  • Donaldson Brown - Graduate Life Center
  • Cochrane Hall
  • Harper Hall
  • Hillcrest Hall
  • Main Campbell Hall
  • New Hall West
  • Newman Hall
  • Oak Lane Houses (Special Purpose A - R, Sigma Phi Epsilon House)

It is also possible to apply to live on campus during the winter semester

When choosing where to live on campus, we hope you consider the Mozaiko Global Living Learning Community, where both U.S. and international students will live together in community, sharing experiences, learning language, and participating in community events.

Learn more about Living Learning Communities or apply today!

Find out more about dining plans here

Virginia Tech requires all F-1 and J-1 visa holders to have health insurance coverage. You may choose to enroll in the Aetna Student Health Insurance plan, which is pre-approved by Virginia Tech to meet requirements, or you may choose an insurance of your choice. Please note that if you choose to enroll in an insurance plan other than Aetna, it must meet the international student insurance requirements, as well as submit a valid Virginia Tech International Student Medical Insurance Waiver and Proof of Coverage NO LATER THAN September 11, 2017. 

PLEASE NOTE that your health insurance coverage needs to begin NO LATER THAN the first day of classes (August 27th, 2017), and must be effective through July 31st, 2018

For detailed information regarding requirements, health insurance definitions, plan benefits, and more, please visit the Student Medical Insurance website

The University Bursar processes tuition and fee payments for all students. You can review detailed information regarding payment options and other Frequently Asked Questions concerning international students on their website - please be sure to click on "Students". Your tution bill will be available to view in your Hokie SPA account after July 15th.


  • FIRST YEAR international students: September 11th
  • Students already registered for Fall (for example: returning international students, first year international students who took Summer I or Summer II classes): August 10th

If your payment is not received by the appropriate due date:

  1. A late fee of 10% will be added to your account. 
  2. A registration hold will be placed on your account and/or all of your registered classes will be purged for the entire semester.