Graduate and Professional School Students

Arrival to the U.S. and COVID-19

When planning your arrival to the U.S. and to Dartmouth, please be sure to review the most up-to-date information from both the CDC and Dartmouth to ensure you are able to comply with all applicable guidance for travel and admission to the U.S., and for beginning your program at Dartmouth.

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 you at your Dartmouth email account.
  • 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. an I-94 record of arrival will be created to document your admission. When you are in the U.S., you can access your I-94 record on the U.S. Customs & Border Protection Agency's website to confirm you were properly admitted in the correct status.

  • Once you are in the U.S. you must complete and submit the F-1 Check-in e-form in iDartmouth. This will allow us to register you in SEVIS for the term and to activate your F-1 status.

  • Your OVIS advisor will schedule your SEVIS check-in and orientation session. Check-ins are not done on a walk-in basis. 

  • 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

The English Conversation Group meets Wednesdays throughout winter term from 1-2 PM. Classes begin Wed 1/18/23. An additional zoom class is being offered on Tuesdays at 4 PM.

A virtual conversation group for those who wish to practice their English speaking skills. Open to all international members of the Dartmouth community and their families.

Rassias Center

Community Language Programs (CLP)