Accepted International Students

College acceptance is the first of several steps you must take to begin your studies in the U.S. The information below contains details about required documentation, fees, and processes to complete prior to your first semester.

All Accepted Students | Students Outside the U.S. | Transfer Students Inside the U.S. | Change of Status Students | Housing Considerations | Orientation and SEVIS Check-In


All Newly Accepted Students

I-20 Application and Financial Documentation

The I-20 document, also known as the "Certificate of Eligibility," is required to apply for F-1 student visa status. It is a multipurpose document, issued by the admitting college, certifying that you have been admitted to a full-time study program and have demonstrated sufficient financial resources to stay and study in the U.S.

To receive an I-20 for study at Fisher, you must complete and submit the following:

Annual Cost of Attendance Estimate

You must demonstrate your ability to pay all tuition, fees, and living expenses for at least the first year of study. You should also be able to demonstrate your ability to cover future expenses through the completion of your studies.

Cost of attendance estimates, determined by Financial Aid, are updated annually each March for the next academic year.

New International Student Timeline Considerations

New international applicants, particularly those applying from abroad or applying for a change of status, are advised to begin the admissions process well in advance of their desired semester start due to the added time required to submit academic/immigration-related documents and to secure the F-1 visa for study. Prospective students should keep the following timeline considerations in mind as they begin the application process.

I-20 Application Deadlines

  • Outside the U.S. without valid F-1 Visa - June 1 (fall), Oct. 1 (spring)
  • Change of Status Applicants Within U.S. - June 1 (fall), Oct. 1 (spring)
  • Currently in U.S. in F-1 Status (Transfer) - July 1 (fall), Nov. 1 (spring)
  • Citizens of Canada (no visa required) - July 1 (fall), Nov. 1 (spring)

Additional Requirements for New Transferring International Students

  • If you will begin your studies at Fisher within five months of attending a U.S. secondary school, college, or university in F-1 status, you will need to work with your current international advisor to establish a SEVIS Record Transfer Release Date to have your SEVIS record transferred to St. John Fisher College (School Code: BUF214F00326000).
  • The SEVIS release date will trigger the end of your program at your previous school, and you will no longer be eligible to pursue activities or benefits associated with that school, including on-campus employment, OPT, or enrollment; therefore, this date should be carefully considered with your current advisor.
  • We are unable to issue a new I-20 document for transfer to St. John Fisher College until your record has been released from your current institution.

Additional Requirements for Change of Status/Reinstatement Applicants

USCIS Form I-539 Receipt Notice

  • A copy of your USCIS Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status receipt notice is required if you have applied for a change to F-1 student status or reinstatement to F-1 student status.
  • For more information regarding change of status options and applications, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
  • Note: Educational institutions may enroll any successful applicant to their programs, regardless of their immigration status, and are not required to verify their permission to study. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are maintaining status and have appropriate permissions for your activities while in the U.S.

Once the College receives and verifies these documents, the I-20 document will sent to you via registered mail.

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Students Outside of the United States

Most new students currently residing outside of the United States, and international students absent from the U.S. for more than 5 months, must apply for the F-1 visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. With the exception of Canadian citizens*, most new students must have an F-1 student visa to pursue full-time study in the U.S.

Please Note: Carefully review the new international student timeline considerations information above for important dates and deadlines before beginning the application process.

*Most Canadian citizens do not require a nonimmigrant visa to study in the United States. Visit the U.S. Department of State website for more information.

1. Pay SEVIS Fee

The SEVIS I-901 fee is mandated by Congress to support the program office and the automated SEVIS system that keeps track of international students and ensures that they maintain their status while in the United States. Once you have been issued an initial Form I-20, you are responsible for paying the SEVIS I-901 fee to SEVP. You will need to retain your proof of payment for presentation during your visa interview at the U.S. embassy.

To pay this fee online, or for more information, please visit the SEVP SEVIS I-901 fee processing website.

2. Apply for Student Visa

A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission from the U.S. immigration officer to enter the United States. The U.S. Department of State Student Visas website provides detailed information about the visa application process, necessary application materials, wait time, and visa application fees.

3. Travel Arrangements and Information

When making travel arrangements, please note that you are expected to arrive in Rochester no later than the program start date listed on your I-20, but no sooner than 30 days before this date. If you are unable to arrange for someone to meet you at the airport in Rochester, taxi and bus services to campus are available.

The following documents should be carried with you, and never packed in your checked baggage, while traveling:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-20 form
  • SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
  • Supporting financial documentation

EducationUSA (supported by the U.S. Department of State) provides helpful information and tips about traveling to and arriving in the United States.

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Students Inside the United States: Transfer Students

Please Note: Carefully review the new international timeline considerations information above for important dates and deadlines before beginning the application process.

To be eligible for school transfer, you must:

  • Be maintaining status at your current school.
  • Be admitted by Fisher.
  • Begin your new course of study at Fisher within five months of the end of your course of study at your current school, or by the release date set by your current school, whichever is earlier.
    • If you are on OPT, your course of study must begin within five months of the end of OPT, or the release date set by your current school, whichever is earlier.
  • Be eligible for an I-20 at Fisher.
  • Contact the international advisor at Fisher within 15 days of the program start date listed on your I-20 from Fisher.

Travel restrictions may apply while transferring. Contact the international advisor if you plan to travel while between schools.

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Students Inside the United States: Change of Status Students

Please Note: Carefully review the new international student timeline considerations information above for important dates and deadlines before beginning the application process.

A change to F-1 student status while in the United States requires application through USCIS. For more information regarding change of status options, eligibility, application procedures, and fees, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Certain non-immigrants are not permitted to change status to F-1 while in the United States. Such non-immigrants may still be eligible for F-1 status, but the only way they can get F-1 status is through obtaining an F-1 visa and re-entering the U.S.

The following non-immigrants are not permitted to change status to F-1 in the United States:

  • M-1 students
  • C, D, K, and S non-immigrants
  • J-1 physicians admitted to receive graduate medical education or training
  • J non-immigrants subject to the 212(e) 2-year foreign residence requirement
  • Aliens admitted as visitors under 8 C.F.R. § 212.1(e)
  • WT and WB visitors admitted under the Visa Waiver Program

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Orientation and SEVIS Check-In

As a new international student, you are required to report to the Center for Academic Advising and Support Services upon your arrival to campus for a brief orientation meeting and to be registered as an active student in the SEVIS system. You should contact the Center for Academic Advising and Support Services to schedule this meeting, and this meeting should take place by the end of the first week of classes.

The purpose of this meeting is to answer questions, review important immigration regulations, collect required copies of your I-20, I-94, passport, and student visa for your file, and to register you in SEVIS, as required by SEVP regulations.

You should bring the following documents to your orientation meeting:

  • I-20 document
  • I-94 card
  • Visa
  • Passport

Submit information and materials to:

Matt Lake, International Advisor
Center for Academic Advising and Support Services
St. John Fisher College
3690 East Ave.,
Rochester, NY 14618
mlake@sjfc.edu 

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Housing Considerations

The College offers traditional on-campus housing for full-time undergraduate students. Detailed information regarding housing options, accommodations and opening dates and breaks is available on the Residential Life website.

Housing is available to students during the academic year, however the residence halls are closed between semesters and during College breaks. While the residence halls are closed to all students during summer and winter break, students may request to stay during other break periods. Before making travel arrangements, please review the College housing calendar and Break Housing Policy.

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