New Student Arrival Guide

Welcome new international students! Now that you are here at Cornell, explore the resources below to help you settle in. Print a pdf of this handout.

  • ISSO Services

    Our office is here to:
    — advise you on federal immigration, tax, and labor regulations
    — provide counseling on personal, academic and cultural matters
    — promote cross-cultural awareness through various programs, workshops and activities
    — provide information and referral services to help you get acquainted with the Cornell and Ithaca community

    We provide walk-in advising services Monday-Friday from 9:00 am-4:30 pm. No appointment is necessary! If your case is particularly complicated, we may ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment. We are closed Wednesday mornings until 1:00 pm, and no advisors are available daily from 12:00-1:00 pm. We can also be reached by telephone at (607) 255-5243, and by email.

  • International Student Orientation

    We provide orientations for international undergraduates and graduate students.

  • ISSO Programs

    In addition to providing immigration assistance, the ISSO also organizes a series of fun activities, trips, and informational workshops. Fall highlights include a fall break trip to New York City, and day trip to Niagara Falls. Spring highlights include a spring break trip to Washington, DC, and a day trip to the Corning Museum of Glass. Take a look at the schedule of our upcoming programs. We also have a free weekly International Coffee Hour, held each Thursday from 3:30-5:30 pm in the Big Red Barn. Spouses and family members are encouraged to participate in all ISSO programs and trips.

  • ISSO Electronic Mailing Lists

    The ISSO has three different electronic mailing lists, each with a distinctly different purpose. All currently registered international students are automatically added to ISSO-NEWS-L. The ISSO uses this list to send students important immigration-related updates and reminders, as well as our monthly electronic newsletter. Join iPrograms-L if you are interested in receiving announcements specifically about ISSO trips, programs, and non-immigration services. Consider International-L if you are interested in joining a large list which subscribers typically use to post announcements of upcoming events, find information, meet new friends, or discuss current events and issues of local or global concern. 

  • US Social Security Number

    The Social Security Administration issue a Social Security Number (SSN) to all who are work-eligible as a way to identify and track individuals for taxation purposes. Although the Social Security Administration states that the SSN is intended only for employment purposes, some public and many private institutions, such as banks, phone companies, and utilities (gas and electric) have adopted the SSN as a unique identifier for its customers. If you are going to work in the United States, either on-campus or with off-campus work authorization, you must obtain a Social Security Number. If you are not employed, you will not be eligible for a number. Here is more information about the SSN and how to get one.

  • Transportation

    New-to-Cornell students automatically receive free, unlimited TCAT bus access in their first year as a matriculated student. Visit Getting Around the Cornell University Campus for information about transit passes, bus routes and schedules, parking, traffic laws, rideshares, and much more. You should also know:
    New York State honors valid driver’s licenses from other countries, though you must carry a certified translation of your driver’s license. Find out how to obtain a certified translation.

    Learn more about applying for a NYS driver’s license.

    If you already have a driver’s license, you can find information about the convenient Ithaca Carshare program or learn how to buy a used car.

  • Resources for Academic Success

    Information about:
    — Cornell’s strict code of Academic Integrity including issues of plagiarism and the difference between documentation, citation, and reference.
    — Tips for academic success including course syllabi, changing classes, and where to get help if you need it.
    — Strategies for Academic Success for graduate students checkout the GPS for navigating Graduate School.

  • English Classes

    If English is not your native language, Cornell and Ithaca offer a variety of courses to help you improve your written and spoken English. Many are informal and inexpensive, and can easily be worked into your academic schedule. They are also a great resource for dependent spouses. Review a complete list of your options.

  • Computers and Technology

    — For a wealth of information covering topics such as email, Internet service, Blackboard, Cornell Box, computer security, and support and training, visit the Cornell Information Technologies (IT) website at http://www.it.cornell.edu/security/alerts.cfm
    — Visit Frequently Asked Questions about Security at http://www.it.cornell.edu/security/how.cfm/CAT=4
    — See Cornell's on-demand training videos related to IT Security at http://www.it.cornell.edu/security/videos.cfm
    — You can also find information and links at the New Students website, under the Computing section: https://newstudents.cornell.edu/fall-2015/first-year/information-technologies-cornell.
    — Visit the Cornell (IT) Service Desk Support page at http://www.it.cornell.edu/support/index.cfm
    — Be sure to review the information about filesharing and copyright issues here: http://www.cit.cornell.edu/policies/copyright/index.cfm.

  • Family Resources

    Learn more about about childcare services, schooling and immunizations, child safety, sexual and reproductive health services, parenting resources, volunteer opportunities, and links to fun activities for families. Students With Children website will provide you with information on Cornell and community programs, resources, and policies of particular interest to pregnant and parenting students.

  • Off-Campus Living

    Off-Campus Living Office is ready to assist you with your search for off-campus housing, or any landlord issues that arise. Some of the resources available on their website include: a search engine for rental listings, a landlord review blog, the New York State Renter's Guide, and Signing a Lease Checklist.

  • Additional Resources

    See the Cornell and Ithaca Resources: A Practical Guide handout.

    The Cornell International Friendship Program (CIFP) matches new international students and scholars with local alumni and other community members to provide cultural, educational and social support. Popular activities may include sharing holiday dinners, sightseeing, etc.

    CUInfo is a terrific source for information about all things Cornell. It provides links to information about news and events, special weather conditions, searches and directories, and more.