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.

Evidence of Funding for F-1 Students

OVIS is required under the F-1 regulations to verify that each international student requesting a Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility has sufficient funding to cover the period of their stay at Dartmouth.  The funding documentation we require will also be required by the U.S. Consulate or Embassy at the time of the visa application. 

To obtain your I-20 in a timely manner, please follow the funding evidence guidelines below when submitting your request for a new or extension Form I-20 document:

Dartmouth College funding

  • Dartmouth College financial aid or scholarship award letter on Dartmouth letterhead and issued within the last 3 months stating the amount and type of funding.
    • Note for undergraduates: if you are receiving financial aid, you must upload your most recent financial aid award letter
    • If the award does not cover the total program costs, you will need to show proof of funding that covers the remaining amount.

Personal funds

  • Bank statement(s) that contain:
    • Name on the account and account number
    • Name of financial institution
    • Account balance and currency
    • Date/issuance within last 3 months
    • Evidence of liquid assets that can be converted to cash
    • English translation (unofficial translations are acceptable)

Family or friend funds

  • The sponsor's bank statement(s)
  • Letter(s) indicating the relationship between you and the sponsor(s), the amount of support and the length of support
  • Loan Certificates or Letters
    • Must indicate your name and the amount of approved loan
    • Conditional loan approvals may be accepted only if the condition is the receipt of your Form I-20
    • Loan applications are not acceptable as proof of funding

Home government support

  • Evidence of support should be presented in English, on government/agency letterhead, and detail the amount and period of support to be provided

Other organization support

  • Evidence of support should be presented in English, on agency letterhead, and detail the purpose of the support, amount of support, and period of funding

Documents that are NOT acceptable as evidence of funding:

  • Financial documents/bank statements older than 3 months

  • Income or salary statements

  • Funds that are not immediately accessible

  • Assets that are not in liquidated form (real estate, car, etc.)

  • Stocks or bonds

  • Life insurance policy statements

  • Tax return forms or documents

Dependent Funds

If you will bring a spouse or child(ren) as your F-2 or J-2 dependent, you will need to provide additional proof of funds.

  • Spouse: $5000 per year
  • Child: $3500 per year, per child

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 603-646-0987.