Grad students with a professor in the lab

International students from nearly 100 countries choose graduate study at Virginia Tech. In addition to the items on the new student checklist, international students must prepare for immigration to the U.S., take an immigration orientation online, and submit certain documentation. Here are the steps to take after you receive acceptance to a Virginia Tech graduate program .

For Students Not Currently in the U.S.

International students who have been accepted into a graduate program at the Blacksburg campus must supply the following documents before an I-20 or DS-2019 form can be issued so you can apply for F-1 or J-1 visa status. Students accepted for the National Capital Region must contact NCR for assistance.

You can submit these documents after the department recommended you for admission by the Graduate School and before the deadlines of June 1 for fall admission or November 1 for spring admission:

How to submit documents:  

  • Fax documents to 540-231-3714
  • Upload documents through the admission application portal in Section 4, Other File Uploads. If the department has not yet recommended you for admission, the "Other File Uploads" section will only show [Thesis, Paper Presentations, Publications, and Other] as available document types. Do not use any of these to upload immigration documents; wait until the department made its decision, which will expand the document upload options to include immigration and financial documents as well.  

For Students Already Studying in the U.S.

International students in F-1 or J-1 visa status who are currently enrolled in another higher education institution in the United States may transfer to our Blacksburg or National Capital Region campuses. In addition to submitting proof of funds, the immigration information form, and copy of your passport, you must also submit a copy of your current I-20 or DS-2019, and a transfer in form. Review the procedures on the transfer information form and submit documentation to receive your I-20 or DS-2019.

School code for transfering to VT Blacksburg campus:  WAS214F01228001 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University -- Graduate School


When to Expect Your Immigration Document

Once we receive and accept all the required documents (allow at least two weeks for processing), we’ll issue an I-20 or DS-2019 form. Allow 20-30 days for delivery by bulk air mail, or you can choose to pay for express mail. Learn more about mailing options.

Immigration forms for fall semester are issued between March and July. Allow three to four months for your visa application and approval process from the date you receive the I-20 or DS-2019 form. Forms for transfer students who are already in the U.S. may be issued until a week before classes begin.

  • Learn about the student visa process and what to expect from the paperwork and interview at the U.S. Department of State website.
  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee at least three days before your visa appointment. Failure to do so will result in a denial of your visa application.
  • New international students cannot enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the program start date on their I-20 or DS-2019 form.


What to Carry with You

Hand carry the following documents, instead of putting them in your checked luggage:

Visit the U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement website for information on what students can expect at a U.S. Port of Entry, as well as information about immigration documents.

Mandatory Check-In

All new international graduate students must check in with the Graduate School after arriving in the U.S. Check-in takes about 15 minutes per student and is held at the International Graduate Student Services office in 120 Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown. Check back in July to register for a check-in time slot. Bring the following documents and information:

your passport

printed I-94 (find it online at the Customs and Border Patrol website)

I-20 or DS-2019 form

local address information (hotel or other temporary addresses are not acceptable; you can check in only after you have found permanent housing)

Your SEVIS record will be activated only after you check in with IGSS.

Failure to check in may result in the de-activation/cancellation of your SEVIS record and could mean you’re no longer able to legally stay in the U.S.



International GTAs

International GTAs with teaching responsibilities in the classroom or lab must have a score of 26 or higher  on the speaking subtest of the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) or 8 or higher on the IELTS; or have earned a bachelor's degree from a university in the U.S.

Visit our online student guide to learn about all the details of getting started as a student, from getting your PID, registering for classes, dates and deadlines, housing in Blacksburg, and more.


Orientation programs are offered for all new students, both by academic departments and the Graduate School. There is a mandatory online immigration session for all new international students to review on their own.

Medical Records and Immunization History Form Requirement

All new students are required to submit a completed immunization history form signed by a licensed health care professional. New international students should also sign up for an Orientation to Healthcare and Immunization History Review session to learn about student health care at Virginia Tech and have their immunization history form reviewed. Students who do not comply with this requirement will receive a medical hold on their record. Contact the Schiffert Health Center at (540) 231-6444 with any questions.

Health Insurance Requirements

All international students in F-1/J-1 status and their accompanying dependents (spouse and children) in F-2/J-2 status are required to have adequate insurance coverage for the duration of their stay in the United States.

Aetna provides an insurance plan for Virginia Tech students that meets the minimum university requirements. Students must be enrolled full-time to qualify (final semester exceptions may apply). Contact Student Medical Insurance with any questions about the insurance policy, eligibility, and costs:

Student Medical Insurance

110 New Student Services Building

(540) 231-6226


Welcome Events and Services

The Graduate School offers welcome events and services to help new students get acquainted with studying in the U.S. and at Virginia Tech. Check the Graduate Life Center calendar for upcoming events.