Pre-Arrival Information

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.

What is SEVIS?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented the web-based Student & Exchange Visitor Information System ("SEVIS") in 2003.  Colleges and universities that admit and host international students and scholars on F, J or M visas are required to use SEVIS to issue Forms I-20 and DS-2019 and to inform SEVIS of any change to the student or exchange visitor's personal information or to the program of study or research. 

Each international student and scholar will be given a unique SEVIS identification number at the time the initial Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 is issued and can use that SEVIS ID to schedule a visa appointment at a U.S. embassy or consular post.

Working with OVIS

The meaning of "international student" may vary depending upon the work of a particular office. For purposes of OVIS (Office of Visa and Immigration Services), an international student is an eligible student who requests a student visa form from Dartmouth College. There are two types offered by the College.

  • Form I-20 is for eligible foreign nationals who will enter a degree program.
  • Form DS-2019 is for eligible foreign national exchange student visitors who will be non-degree students.


To receive a Form I-20, a student must be offered admission by Dartmouth College and officially accept the offer of admission. Contact the Office of Admissions with any questions.


Dartmouth College uses Microsoft Outlook. After admission, you will be sent credentials that you will need to access the iDartmouth portal where you may request the appropriate form for a visa application.

Financial Aid and Tuition

Before a Form I-20 can be produced for an international student who is receiving financial aid, the Office of Financial Aid must generate a final Financial Aid Award Letter for the student.  OVIS cannot produce a Form I-20 or DS-2019 until the final Financial Aid Award is received.

Transfer Students

International students attending another school or college on an F-1 visa should:

  • Complete the iDartmouth eform to request transfer of their Form I-20 to Dartmouth.
  • Contact their home school or college’s international services office for instructions about transferring to Dartmouth College.

The date of transfer should be discussed with the first school or college as well as with OVIS. Questions concerning the other school or college’s transfer-out process should be directed to that school or college.

Students on post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) must coordinate transfer to Dartmouth to avoid loss of OPT. Questions should be directed to your OVIS advisor.

I-20 or DS-2019

  • Students will be referred to iDartmouth to request their Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.
  • No forms can be produced until all required information and documents are uploaded to iDartmouth. Processing cannot begin until the Office of Admissions has confirmed the student's admission to Dartmouth College.
  • Forms I-20 and related information for newly admitted students, are sent to each admitted international student by email. The student is required to print the document and sign it in ink. Electronic student signatures are not accepted.

Questions should be directed to your OVIS advisor.


  • 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. 

Traveling to Dartmouth

F-1 and J-1 visa students may not arrive earlier than 30 days before their program start date as shown on their Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.

F-1 students transferring their Form I-20 from a high school or college to Dartmouth may not be limited to the 30-day rule. Please contact OVIS about your specific case.

F-1 students who are going to matriculate but who are on sports teams or otherwise want to enter or transit the U.S. should discuss their plans with OVIS before traveling.

For questions about being met at Boston's Logan Airport, email International Student Programs or call 603-646-2331.