Visa and Immigration
Helpful Websites with International Study Info
Visa and Immigration Checklist
In order to enter the United States in F-1 status, students must present the following documents to the immigration inspector at the port of entry:
- A valid passport (valid six months beyond the date of entry)
- A valid F-1 visa stamp (not required for Canadians)
- A valid I-20 Form
- A copy of your SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt
- Original financial documentation
- Admission letter from Northwood University
Your passport, issued by your country of citizenship, should be valid for six months beyond the date you enter the United States and remain valid for the length of your stay. To obtain or renew your passport, contact your home government authorities. It is a good idea to keep a photocopy of your passport in case it is ever lost.
The Form I-20 is issued to students who intend to study in the U.S. in F-1 status.
Initial Attendance I-20
If you are not in the U.S. you will receive an Initial Attendance I-20 from Northwood University. You will need the I-20 to pay the SEVIS fee and to apply for an F-1 visa. If you have dependents (spouse or children) traveling with you, each dependent will need their own I-20 to apply for an F-2 visa. F-2 dependents do not pay the SEVIS fee.
If you are currently in F-1 status in the U.S., you may transfer your SEVIS Record to Northwood University. You will need to complete a transfer-in form. Once the transfer is complete, Northwood will issue you a new I-20.
Check your I-20 for Errors
After you receive your I-20 and admissions materials from Northwood, please review everything carefully and check for any errors on your I-20. Email Northwood immediately if you find an error on your I-20 so that we can correct it and mail an updated I-20.
How much is the SEVIS Fee?
The fee for F-1 students is $350.
Initial I-20: Must pay SEVIS Fee
If you are coming to Northwood University from outside of the United States, you will need pay the SEVIS fee before applying for an F-1 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy. After paying the fee, print a copy of your SEVIS fee payment receipt. You will need to show the receipt to the U.S. consulate or embassy and when you enter the U.S.
Pay the SEVIS Fee at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement SEVIS Fee website.
Once you have paid the SEVIS fee, you will need to fill out a DS-160 Application in order to schedule your visa appointment. Once you complete the application, be sure to print and keep the DS-160 barcode page. You will then schedule a visa interview appointment. You may need to pay the visa application processing fee depending on your country. For additional information, please review the U.S. Department of State website.
When can I enter the U.S.?
You may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before the program start date as listed on your I-20. If you will be delayed in your arrival, please notify Northwood University immediately.
You must follow instructions on arrival dates. For Fall 2019 Admissions, you must arrive on either Sunday, August 18, 2019 or Monday, August 19, 2019.
What happens when I enter the U.S.?
At the port of entry, the U.S. Customers and Border Officer will inspect your Form I-20 and give it back to you. The Border Officer will also inspect your passport and F-1 visa (if applicable), issue an admission stamp, write "F-1/DS", and return your passport to you.
Form I-94 is the official record that indicates your status and duration of stay in the U.S.
For more information, please see the following resources from U.S. Customs and Border Protection:
Attending International Student Orientation is required. For Fall 2019, Orientation runs from Tuesday, August 20 – Sunday, August 25. All sessions are mandatory. If unexpected events cause your arrival to be delayed beyond the start date of orientation, you must notify Northwood University immediately. You will be required to make up any orientation sessions that you miss.