Once you have been admitted and submit the required housing and tuition deposit (for degree-seeking students), the proper immigration form will be sent to you. For degree-seeking students (F-1 visa) you will be issued a Form I-20 A-B. For exchange program students (J-1 visa) you will be issued a Form DS 2019. These are the Immigration Service forms indicating that you have been accepted or enrolled to Plymouth State University. You should present your passport, immigration form, acceptance/enrollment letter, and documentation of financial support to an American Embassy or Consulate to aid you in getting a visa to enter the United States as a student. Your document should be kept with your valid passport and the INS Arrival/Departure Card (I-94)** at all times in a secure location.
**IMPORTANT UPDATE TO I-94 Arrival/Departure Form: The I-94 Form is now automated. Foreign visitors arriving in the U.S.—only via air or sea—who need to prove their legal-visitor status—to employers, schools/universities or government agencies—will be able to access their U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrival/departure record information online. See the Customs and Border Protection Web site and the I-94 Fact Sheet for more information. This video also provides information.
F-1 visas are student visas, used for degree-seeking individuals studying full-time in the U.S. There are very specific requirements to maintain your visa status. To maintain legal F-1 student status while attending PSU, please enroll in full-time classes, do not work without proper authorization and remit any address change or program change to the International Student Advisor immediately. Remember to have your I-20 signed by your Advisor before traveling outside the United States. See Maintaining Legal Status as an F-1 Student for detailed information. Contact the Center for Global Engagement at (603) 535-3372 for more information.
J-1 visas are for individuals studying in the U.S. on an exchange program. They are in the U.S. for either one semester or one full year. See Maintaining Legal Status as a J-1 Student for detailed information. Contact the Global Education Office at (603) 535-2336 for more information.
Detailed information regarding student visas can be found on the U.S. Department of State Web site.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS and SCHOLARS:
As of May 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented an interim procedure for foreign citizens entering the U.S. These procedures include any student entering the U.S. should be prepared to proceed to ‘secondary inspection’. ‘Secondary inspection’ allows a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer to more carefully inspect your documents and search databases that are not immediately available at the initial inspection line. Please plan for additional time in between flights to accommodate a delay in secondary inspection (3-4 hrs recommended). In addition to your passport and I-20 or DS 2019 form, also carry your acceptance and/or enrollment letter, and documentation of financial support. Be prepared to answer any questions about your background, your academic program, and your professional and personal plans. We remain hopeful that DHS will update this process soon, to help you enter the U.S. more quickly.