New Student Visas

U.S. Visa Information for Newly Admitted Students

Congratulations on your admission to Cornell. Our website provides useful information to help you navigate the U.S. immigration system and enroll at Cornell. We look forward to meeting you once you arrive on campus!

Overview of Visa Process

In order to come to the U.S. in a student immigration status, you will need to go through the steps outlined below. 

  • Once you are admitted, your admissions office will ask you to show proof of financial support.

    Each admissions office has slightly different procedures and forms. Your admissions office will provide details about how you can provide proof. If you plan to bring your spouse or children with you for your degree program, be sure to tell the admissions office.

  • Once you show proof of support, your admissions office will send you an I-20 (or DS-2019 for J student status).

    Once you have shown proof of financial support, your admissions office will send you an I-20 or DS-2019 form. You will need that form to apply for the student visa stamp at a U.S. consulate (unless you are a Canadian citizen). If you are already in the U.S. in F1 status, read this information on how to transfer your current F1 record to Cornell.

    Most international students at Cornell are given F1 status. If you want to request J1 student status from Cornell, you must have more than half of your funding coming from a sponsor other than yourself or your family members. If you want to explore J1 student status, you must request more information from your program's admissions office or the Office of Global Learning.

  • Once you receive the I-20 / DS-2019, pay the SEVIS fee.

    Pay the "SEVIS fee" online.

  • After paying the SEVIS fee, make an appointment and go to a US consulate to obtain a U.S. entry visa. (Canadians can skip this step.)

    Find the details on applying for a U.S. visa stamp here. Please note the if you are a Canadian citizen, you do not have to apply for and obtain a visa stamp in your passport. At the port of entry, you can simply show your Canadian passport and I-20 /DS-2019 to request F1/J1 student immigration status to attend Cornell University. If you are already in the U.S. in another visa status, like H1B, you may want to change your visa status within the U.S.

  • Enter the United States, travel to Cornell, and then complete the International Services check-in procedure.

    Once your travel to Cornell is complete, and you have entered the U.S. in F1 or J1 student status, you MUST complete the IS check-in procedure to continue to have legal status.