Graduate and Professional School Students

OVIS Coronavirus FAQs

Please see the OVIS Coronavirus FAQs for immigration-related information and updates related to the Coronavirus.

Pre-Arrival Information

  • When you accept your offer of admission to your academic program, Dartmouth will set you up in the institutional student system.
  • International students will receive instructions to claim your Dartmouth credentials so that you can access the OVIS (Office of Visa and Immigration Services) iDartmouth system and begin providing the information needed to prepare your immigration documents.
  • For Master's degree and professional school graduate students, you will be asked to provide evidence of sufficient funding to cover your personal contribution.  If you are receiving any financial aid or scholarship funding, your award must be finalized by your program's financial aid office before OVIS can process your Form I-20 request. 
  • OVIS will review your information and will prepare your Form I-20 in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's SEVIS system (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System), which will be mailed to the address you provide during the intake process.
  • When you receive your Form I-20, follow the instructions to pay the SEVIS fee before you apply for your F-1 visa stamp at a U.S. consulate or embassy.  Note that Canadian students are visa-exempt, but are still required to pay the SEVIS fee before seeking admission to the U.S. in F-1 status.
  • You can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your Form I-20. You must have a valid passport, valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport, and valid Form I-20 to enter the U.S. in F-1 status. Canadian citizens are visa-exempt and must have a valid passport and Form I-20 to enter.


  • Visit Immigrations and Customs Enforcement for information about the SEVIS fee.
  • Students or exchange visitors issued an initial Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 are responsible for paying the SEVIS fee. There are exceptions, such as transferring from one SEVIS institution to another, or changing academic levels within a SEVIS institution.
  • The SEVIS fee is paid after the student receives the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 and before the student goes to the Consulate for a visa and to the U.S. port of entry.
  • The fee is paid online or by check, or money order mailed to SEVP.
  • The fee receipt is required at the Consulate for purposes of obtaining the visa and at the port of entry.

Obtaining a Visa

  • OVIS will provide a cover letter with your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. Complete instructions for obtaining the visa will be included in that letter.
  • A visa stamp is the "key" to enter the "door" of the United States. It is different from Form I-20 or the Form DS-2019, which are required for a visa application.
  • Canadian citizens do not need a visa stamp but are inspected at the U.S. Port of Entry for admission in F-1 or J-1 status.
  • For all others, a valid visa stamp is required for inspection, admission, and entry to the United States.
  • Applications are made after receipt of the Form I-20 and after the SEVIS fee has been paid.
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate for a visa appointment.
  • Please also refer to the F-1 Visa Application Process page on the OVIS website. 

Arrival in the U.S. and at Dartmouth

  • Upon arrival in the U.S., you will receive an admission stamp in your passport and an I-94 record of arrival will be created to document your admission. You should check the admission stamp in your to ensure you were admitted in F-1 status. When you are in the U.S., you can access your I-94 record on the U.S. Customs & Border Protection Agency's website.
  • Your OVIS advisor will schedule your SEVIS check-in and orientation session. Check-ins are not done on a walk-in basis. You should bring your immigration documents, including your passport, I-94 record print-out, and your original Form I-20 to your OVIS check-in.
  • Graduate students will also participate in orientations hosted by the professional schools and the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. These orientations are separate from the OVIS check-in.
  • You cannot complete a Form I-9 or receive stipend payments from Dartmouth until you have checked in with OVIS.

English Language Resources at Dartmouth

English Language Conversation Group

Practice speaking English in a friendly atmosphere while discussing interesting topics including current events, historical and political figures, art, poetry, and American culture. Open to all grad students, research fellows, postdocs, faculty/staff, and families.

  • Room 301, Black Family Visual Arts Center, 22 Lebanon St., Hanover
  • Wednesdays, 1:00 -2:00 p.m., during Dartmouth terms, Fall term classes begin Wed 9/25.
  • Open to International Grad Students and Families,  International Research Fellows, Post Docs and Families, Dartmouth Staff, Exchange Students and Families, and Medical Students and Families

For more information: [email protected]

Rassias Center

Community Language Programs (CLP)