Next Steps for New International Students

Obtaining an I-20

To come to the U.S. as an F-1 visa holder, students need to request a visa eligibility document called an I-20. After you have paid your deposit to Arcadia, Global Engagement is notified by Enrollment Management and will reach out to you directly to begin this process.

If this is your first time applying for an I-20, students will need to submit the following by email to your DSO (Designated School Official):

  • A copy of the passport's biographical page showing all details clearly
  • Bank statements
  • Affidavit of Support Form

If you are a student transferring from another institution in the U.S. and already have an I-20, you will submit the following:

  • A copy of the passport's biographical page showing all details clearly
  • Bank statements
  • Affidavit of Support Form
  • Transfer-In Form
  • A copy of your most recent I-94
  • A copy of your current F-1 visa
  • A copy of your most recent I-20 

Financial Requirements Information

The visa and application and interview process require you to show sufficient funding to cover the financial requirements of your program. This includes an estimated cost for one year of tuition, health insurance, cost of living, books, and any other expenses you can expect to incur. These requirements are estimated expenses and are subject to change. Please note the following:

  • The financial information will appear on your I-20 and you may be asked about this during your visa interview.
  • The financial documents must equal or exceed the minimum amount requirement and must be dated within the past 3 months. 
  • The finances must be liquid. This means they must be easily accessible and available for immediate withdrawal from a checking or savings account. 
  • We cannot accept any documents showing expected future earnings, proof of salary, investment, retirement plans, proof of stock, etc. 
  • The bank statement must show the account holders name, the date when the statement was issued, the currency which the money is in, and the account balance. 
  • Bank statements must be in English. If they are not, you must have it translated and then notarized. 

Next Steps

After your I-20 has been issued by your DSO, you will receive the I-20 along with other necessary documents in the postal mail*. After you receive your I-20 packet, you will use your I-20 to start your visa application DS-160 online and pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee. We will mail you the original document using FedEx or UPS. We recommend bringing proof of the I-901 fee payment to your interview appointment. 

* During the COVID-19 pandemic, Arcadia University is also authorized to send you your I-20 over email. Please coordinate your preferred I-20 receival process with your DSO.

Note: Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt from obtaining a physical F-1/J-1 visa stamp but they are still required to pay the I-901 fee and present the I-20/DS-2019 upon entry to the country. 

Visa Interview

Once you have applied for the DS-160 and paid the I-901 fee, you can schedule your visa interview. We recommend bringing all items you used to apply for your I-20 to your visa interview. You can expect the interview to last around 5 minutes in which time you can expect some or all of the following questions:

  • Why are you going to the U.S.?
  • What will your major be?
  • Why did you choose Arcadia University?
  • Have you been to the U.S. before?
  • How do you plan to fund your education?
  • Do you have a career or job in mind after graduation?
  • Do you plan on returning to your home country after graduation?
  • What are your plans after graduation?

Frequently Asked Questions

I received a scholarship from Arcadia, does this count as part of the finances I must show?
Yes! If you received any sort of scholarship, you can deduct this amount from the total amount you must show. This scholarship will be listed on your I-20

I have a dependent coming with me, how do I apply for their I-20?
There is additional documentation required, please reach out to the Global Engagement team to let us know if you plan to bring a spouse or child with you. 

Before You Arrive

Here you will find information on what to do before you arrive at Arcadia University and after you have secured your F-1/J-1 visa. 

If you haven't been admitted yet, please see our International Admissions page.
If you have been admitted but do not have an I-20, please see our I-20 and Student Visa Instructions page.

When to Arrive

Please contact your DSO to confirm the best date of arrival prior to booking a flight. We ask international students to make flight arrangements to arrive at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).  We are able to arrange transportation to pick you up at the airport and bring you to the Arcadia campus.  

If you would like to be met at PHL (Philadelphia International Airport) please complete the Arrival Form provided to you and submit to Global Engagement.

If you arrive before the recommended time, please know that we are not able to arrange transportation for you, and that campus housing is not yet open.  If you choose to arrive early, you are responsible for securing accommodation or hotel and for your own transportation. It is important to note that F-1 visa holders are only permitted to enter the U.S. 30-days prior to the start date listed on the I-20. Be sure not to attempt entry prior to this or you will be denied entry to the U.S. and your visa will be canceled. Other nearby airports include Newark Liberty Airport (EWR) approximately 1.5 hours away or John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK), approximately 3 hours away. 


International Student & Scholar Pre-Orientation is required for all new international students. 

Your DSO will share your pre-orientation dates and times after you've received your visa.

Every new international student will participate in a pre-orientation prior to the general campus "New Student Venture Orientation" and the start of classes. This will provide useful information about the U.S. academic system, government regulations, peer mentors, cross-cultural adjustments, and student social activities. 

Bring these things with you to Pre-Orientation:

  • Your passport
  • Your visa
  • Your I-20/DS-2019
  • Proof of health insurance card

You will also be asked to report your U.S. address and telephone number as well as an emergency contact person.

Health Records

It is absolutely mandatory that all students have completed health records in order to be registered for classes. You should complete this in your home country before you come to the U.S. It is very expensive to see a doctor in the U.S.!

There are two ways to submit your Health Records to Arcadia University.

Option 1

  • Log into MyArcadia.
  • On the home screen, click the button that says “Patient Portal”
  • Upload Physical Exam and Immunization History documents in PDF or JPG. The Physical Exam page was included in your Acceptance Packet. If you would like a digital copy of the form, please email your DSO. Your immunization history is usually kept with your doctor.  Sometimes, students have small booklets containing this information. Please share with us whatever you have.
  • Complete your online Immunization Record
  • Submit

Option 2

  • Have your doctor at home complete the Health Record Form completely
  • Collect your immunization information or your health history booklet
  • Bring these papers with you 
  • Schedule an appointment via the My Arcadia Patient Portal to see a staff member at the Student Health Services Office during the first week of class
  • Complete the process in person

Health Insurance

All international students and scholars are required to have health insurance for the duration of your stay in the U.S. You must present proof of health insurance at orientation or we will enroll you in one of our plans and bill the cost to your Arcadia student account.

To be sure that your coverage meets the university’s requirements, you may either enroll in our university’s student health insurance plan or in a plan through our partner, GeoBlue. Information about these options will be sent to you in your Acceptance Packet.  If you have any questions, please contact us.