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Pre-Arrival Information For New Students

Welcome to Hopkins!  The following information is intended to help you prepare for arrival on campus.  

IMPORTANT - review our COVID-19 Immigration-Related FAQs for the latest guidance for international students.  The FAQs contain important details regarding enrollment requirements, travel restrictions and much more.  


After Receiving your Visa Document, Form I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1)

Once you receive your form I-20 or DS-2019, make sure to follow these important next steps:

  • Review your form for accuracy.*  Make sure to check the spelling of your name and date of birth.  
  • Sign your I-20 or DS-2019.  If you received an electronic I-20, we recommend printing a copy and signing it.
  • Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee and print a receipt.  You must complete this step before you attend your visa interview, if applicable.
  • Submit your application (DS-160) for a US visa to the US Consulate.  Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt from this requirement.  We caution you about making a visa appointment until you receive your I-20/DS-2019 as we cannot be responsible if your document does not arrive in time for a pre-scheduled visa appointment.  
  • Verify that the information on the visa stamp is accurate before leaving the consulate or after receiving your visa in your passport (if returned by mail). 
  • Review information and tips for preparing for your arrival in the U.S.  
  • Keep your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, and I-901 SEVIS fee paper receipt with you when you enter the US.  Do NOT pack these items in checked luggage.  
  • Enter the US no more than 30 days before the program start date on your form. Notify your academic program and OIS immediately if you expect to arrive later than the program start date or decide not to attend JHU.  If you need to reach OIS in an emergency to address a US visa or border issue, you can call +1 667-208-7001 during office hours (Monday-Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm EDT) or +1-443-240-1938 when the office is closed.
  • Within ONE WEEK of entry to the US, complete the online Orientation and check-in eform with OIS through iHopkins (
  • Attend all required departmental and school orientation programs.  Refer to directions from your JHU department for details.

*Important note about the I-20/DS-2019 end date: The program end date on the form is always an estimate based on the typical time to completion for the degree program. If you complete your program before that end date, OIS will shorten the end date accordingly. Alternatively, if you need additional time to complete your degree program, you may be eligible to request an I-20/DS-2019 extension.


Please take a look at our F-1/J-1 Student Pre-Arrival Guide for some additional information: