New Student Visas

US Visa Information for Newly Admitted Students

Congratulations for gaining admission to Cornell University! Now that you are admitted, we want to provide you with useful information to help you navigate the US immigration system, obtain a US visa stamp (or transfer your visa status if you are already in the US), enter the US and travel to Cornell in order to enroll. We look forward to meeting you once you reach Ithaca!

Overview of Visa Process

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

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

    Your specific admissions office will provide you details of how you can provide that proof to them (each admissions office has slightly different procedures and forms). If you will bring your spouse or children with you for your degree program, be sure to tell the admissions office.

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

    Once you have shown proof of your finanical support, your admissions office will send you a form called an "I-20" or "DS-2019." You will need that form to apply for the student visa stamp at a US Consulate (unless you are a Canadian citizen—Canadians are not required to obtain visa stamps to enter the US). If you are already in the US in F1 status, read this information on how to transfer your current F1 record to Cornell.

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

    Pay the "SEVIS fee" on line.

  • After paying the SEVIS fee, make an appointment and go to a US consulate to obtain a US entry visa (unless you are Canadian).

    Find the details on applying for a US 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. Instead, at the port of entry, you 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 US in another visa status, like H1B, you may want to change your visa status within the US instead of traveling outside of the US.

  • Come to the US, travel to Cornell, and then complete the International Students and Scholars office (ISSO) Check In Procedure

    Once your travel to Cornell is complete, and you have entered the US in the US in F1 or J1 student status, you MUST complete the ISSO check in procedure in order to continue to have legal status within the US.