New International Students: Before You Arrive

New International Students: Before You Arrive

Congratulations on being your offer of admission to Penn State! Once you accept the offer of admission, please do the following:

Step 1: Get your visa

To obtain your visa, take care of the following pre-arrival processes.

  • Complete the financial guarantee.
  • Request an I-20 or DS-2019.
  • Pay the SEVIS fee and apply for your student visa.

Step 2: Prepare for International Student Orientation (ISO)

  • Read the Orientation brochure carefully. It will be emailed to you after you are sent the offer of admission.
  • All international students must arrive in the United States by Monday, August 13, 2018 and attend the ISO on August 14–17, 2018.
  • Confirm your attendance at the orientation by filling out the online form.

Step 3: Housing and Transportation

  • It is recommended that students make flight arrangements to arrive no later than two days before orientation to adjust and enjoy the orientation activities. Any return flight arrangements should be scheduled after the last date of final exams. Check the Academic Calendar.
  • Transport to campus from the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Suggested hotels during ISO:
  • Three apartment complexes near Penn State Great Valley campus that are popular with students are:
  • Other students live in areas along the regional rail line (SEPTA) that runs from Center City Philadelphia, along the "Main Line" to Malvern
  • The campus runs a shuttle to William Henry Apartments and Westgate Village Apartments as well as to the Paoli Trainstation when classes are in session.
  • You can connect with other students who are looking for a roommate through the online chats we offer periodically for international students, or private LinkedIn or Facebook groups.

Step 5: Complete online document check-in

  • Log into iStart to view the Pre-Arrival Checklist and select "Mandatory Document Check-In."
  • Complete the questions and upload scanned copies of the requested documents.
  • Make sure to sign your I-20 or DS-2019 before scanning it.
  • After your arrival in the U.S., obtain your I-94 arrival information online and save it as a PDF document before uploading it to iStart.
  • Update your local address (where you sleep while you are a student at Penn State) on your student records in LionPATH and iStart.
  • Email if you need help.

Step 6: Mandatory health insurance and immunizations

Step 7: Prepare for life at your new home

Step 8: Attend International Student Orientation

  • Schedule your travel plans to ensure you arrive on campus by Monday, August 13th, 2018.
  • Review the schedule provided to you in your ISO brochure.
  • Keep your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, money and other valuables with you as you travel.
  • Familiarize yourself with the U.S. arrival process.
  • If your airline loses your luggage, complete a lost luggage report at your final airport with the local address where it should be delivered.
  • You may feel “jet lagged” when you arrive, so plan your arrival to allow time to recover from your jet lag before the orientation begins.

Additional Resources