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.
After you are admitted by the Graduate School, the following documents can be submitted before June 1 (fall admission) and November 1 (spring admission):
- Completed Immigration Information Form
- Copy of passport ID page (with name and date of birth included)
- Proof of sufficient funds to cover educational and living expenses for the first year.
- See our Financial Requirements page for details on required amount of funds and acceptable financial documents.
How to submit documents (submit each document by one method only):
Fax to 540-231-3714; or
Upload through the admission application portal in Section 4, Other File Uploads.
- If you haven't been accepted by the Graduate School yet, 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 admission decision has been made, 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 the documents listed above, submit:
- Completed Transfer In form
- Copy of current I-20 or DS-2019
- Printed I-94 form
School code for transferring to VT Blacksburg campus:
WAS214F01228001 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University -- Graduate School (for F-1 students)
P-1-00071 program number (for J-1 students)
When to Expect Your Immigration Document
- Allow 2-3 weeks for processing documents; after all required documents are received and accepted, an I-20 or DS-2019 form will be issued.
- Learn about your mailing options and let us know how you want us to mail your I-20 or DS-2019.
- Immigration forms for the fall semester are issued and mailed between March and July; forms for the spring semester are issued between October and December. Forms for transfer students who are already in the U.S. may be issued until a week before classes begin.
- You will receive an email notice from IGSS when the I-20 or DS-2019 form has been issued and shipped or is ready for pick up.
- Allow three to four months for your visa application and approval process from the date you receive the I-20 or DS-2019 form.
- Visit the U.S. Department of State website to learn about the student visa process and what to expect from the paperwork and interview.
- 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.
- J-1 students: review Exchange Visitor Program Welcome Brochure published by U.S. Department of State.
What to Carry with You
Hand carry the following documents, instead of putting them in your checked luggage:
- Your passport
- Your I-20 or DS-2019 form
- Evidence of financial resources (See Financial Requirements page for details)
- Evidence of student or exchange visitor status, such as transcripts or admission letter
- Paper receipt for SEVIS fee (if applicable)
- The name and contact information of your designated school official or program sponsor
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.
All new international graduate students must check in with the Graduate School after arriving in the U.S. Check-ins will take 15 minutes per student, and they are held in the International Graduate Student Services office at 120 Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown.
Register here for your mandatory check-in time slot.
Please 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
- your phone number
- 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 are no longer able to legally stay in the U.S.
International Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) with teaching responsibilities in the lab or classroom must have at least one of the following credentials:
- TOEFL (iBT) scores of 26 or higher on the speaking subtest
- IELTS score of 8 or higher
- 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 healthcare 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 Schiffert Health Center at (540) 231-6444 with 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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Learn more about orientation and welcome events here.