New International Graduate Students
Congratulations on your acceptance to graduate school at Virginia Tech! You are joining the ranks of over 2000 international graduate students from nearly 100 countries who pursue graduate study at Virginia Tech. In addition to the items on the new student checklist, international students seeking F-1/J-1 status must submit documents for immigration purposes. Here are the steps to take after you receive acceptance to a Virginia Tech graduate program.
NCR Students Only: Students accepted to the National Capital Region campus do not have access to the IntlHokies portal at this time. Please submit all documents for I-20 processing in Section 4 of the admissions application portal.
Students Seeking F-1 or J-1 visa status at Virginia Tech
Once you have been accepted into a graduate program at the Blacksburg campus, supply the following documents in order to receive an I-20 or DS-2019 form so that you can apply for F-1 or J-1 visa status. Students accepted for the National Capital Region must contact NCR for assistance.
Prepare these documents for submission after you received admission but before June 1 (fall admission) and November 1 (spring admission):
- 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.
- International students currently in F-1 or J-1 visa status in the United States must also submit:
- Completed Transfer In form (school code for the Graduate School Blacksburg campus: WAS214F01228001 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University-Graduate School (for F-1 students); P-1-00071 program number (for J-1 students)
- Copy of current I-20 or DS-2019
- Printed I-94 form
How to submit documents:
- Create your VT PID and password and set up 2-factor authentication, a high security login process.
- Log into the IntlHokies portal to complete the new student I-20/DS-2019 request form and upload supporting documents.
When to Expect Your Immigration Document
- After all required documents are received and accepted, an I-20 or DS-2019 form will be issued. Allow 2-3 weeks for processing after you submit all required documents.
- 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. The email includes your SEVIS number, our school code, and additional details.
- 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 complete a mandatory check-in process after arrival. Follow the instructions on our website to prepare for check-in, and contact our immigration advisors for assistance if you have questions or concerns along the way.
Your SEVIS record will be activated only after you complete the 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.
Applying for Social Security Number (SSN)
If you secured on-campus employment in the form of an assistantship of wage position, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number. Before you can go to the Social Security Office to apply, the following steps must be done:
- Complete the mandatory immigration check-in online
- Wait until you receive an email from IGSS verifying that your check-in has been approved; wait 1-2 weeks to allow the SEVIS update to reach the Social Security Office
- Pick up your SSN application support letter from the Graduate School after you receive the check-in approval email
- Get an employment verification letter from the department that hired you
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. We hope that you will participate in many of these to get to know the university and the services and opportunities we offer. Welcome to Virginia Tech!