Admitted student travel and visa

Congratulations on your admission to ASU. It is our pleasure to welcome you.

We are excited that you have chosen to pursue your degree at Arizona State University.

This is your guide you through the important steps you need to take to enroll for classes and prepare for the beginning of your academic year. Here you will find information about the visa application process, preparing for travel, arriving at ASU, registering for courses and much more.

Be sure to check My ASU regularly and complete any pending items under your Priority Tasks. We wish you a successful academic year and look forward to seeing you in Arizona soon.

What to do before you leave for ASU

Step 01

Request your I-20 and apply for your visa

International students who wish to pursue their studies at ASU must obtain an F-1 or J-1 visa. To obtain a visa, students must first receive a SEVIS number and I-20 document from ASU. Learn more about the SEVIS and student visa steps.

Request your I-20 from ASU

  • An I-20 is an important immigration document that F-1 students need in order to obtain their student visa and enter the U.S. ASU guides each student through the process of obtaining their I-20.
  • Priority Tasks on My ASU alerts students to the steps they need to take. The process of obtaining an I-20 can take some time, so it is important to begin gathering the necessary documents and uploading them to My ASU quickly after being admitted.

Learn more about requesting your I-20

Once you have received your SEVIS and I-20 from ASU, here are your basic next steps:

  • Check your I-20 or DS-2019 for accuracy and sign it.
  • Visit    to submit Form I-901 and pay the SEVIS fee.
  • Schedule an appointment with a local U.S. Consulate.
  • Visit your local U.S. Consulate at the appointed time and pay the visa application fee (this is not the SEVIS fee).
  • Visit this page to learn more information about student visa.

Student visa checklist

Submitting your visa application

In order to apply for an F-1 or J-1 student visa, you must complete Form DS-160. This form now requires applicants to provide information on all social media platforms they have used within the last five years. As such, you will be required to provide the following:

  • Username, screen name, handle or other identifier for each social media platform you use or have used.

  • Your current email address and phone number.

  • Any email addresses and phone numbers you have used in the past five years.

Please note: You will not be required to provide your passwords for any of these accounts.

Before you begin the online visa application, please gather the above information and make sure your social media privacy settings are up to date. 

Tips for a successful visa interview

  1. The consular officer may ask questions regarding any public information that is available on your social media accounts. Please be prepared to answer their questions.

  2. Be prepared to demonstrate ties to your home country. Ties to your home country are the things that connect you to your hometown, homeland or current place of residence (i.e., job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc).

  3. Practice your English in advance, as the interview will be conducted in English.

  4. Unless you are under 18 years old, do not bring parents or family members with you to your interview.

  5. Prepare to articulate why the program you will study in the U.S. will help or relates to your professional goals in your home country.

  6. Answer all questions concisely with the appropriate information.

  7. Be ready to explain any documents that you submitted during your application process.

  8. It is harder for students from certain countries to obtain visas, so expect potential challenges or delays in processing.

  9. Your main purpose to come to the U.S. is to study. You must clearly articulate your plan to return home after you have finished your degree.

  10. If you have dependents that will stay at home while you study in the U.S., be prepared to share how they will support themselves in your absence.

  11. Remain positive. It can be a tricky and challenging process, but a positive attitude can go a long way.

 Administrative processing

From the U.S. Department of State: When administrative processing is required, the consular officer will inform the applicant at the end of the interview. The duration of the administrative processing will vary based on the individual circumstances of each case. At the conclusion of the administrative processing period, the consular officer might conclude that an applicant is now qualified for the visa for which they applied. The officer may also conclude that the applicant remains ineligible for a visa. Visa applicants are reminded to apply early for their visas, well in advance of the anticipated travel date.

From ASU’s International Students and Scholars Center: If you are experiencing administrative processing delays longer than 30 days, please email

Visa denials

Some students will be denied a visa if the consular officer determines they are ineligible. Many students with a denied F-1 or J-1 visa application are not able to prove sufficient ties to their home country under INA section 214(b). 

If your visa was denied, we recommend submitting a new visa application once you have addressed the concerns of the Consular Officer. 

If this will impact your ability to arrive on time to ASU to begin your studies, please email

Step 02

Activate your ASU ID and email account

After you applied to ASU, you were issued an ASURITE UserID in an email. This ID gives you access to ASU's online student services through My ASU. You must activate your ASURITE UserID online.

  • While activating your ASURITE UserID you can set up your ASU ( email account. This email is the official address to which the university sends email communications and is recorded in ASU's electronic directories.
  • If you do not have an ASURITE UserID and activation code, call 480-965-2437. If you need help with the activation process, contact the University Technology Office Help Desk at 1-855-278-5080.
  • Review computer security guidelines.

Step 03

Complete tasks in My ASU

Enrollment deposit (freshmen only)
Pay your enrollment deposit on My ASU to confirm you will attend.

MMR immunization
You must submit your measles (rubeola), mumps and rubella immunization form before you can register for classes. Visit the ASU Health Services website for more information. If you are under 18 years old, please plan to bring a signed consent form for medical treatment with you to the U.S. Check My ASU and click on the MMR Immunization hold for detailed instructions.

Math placement test (undergraduates only)
Take the math placement test online. New students enrolling in a math class are required to take the math placement test unless they have transferred an equivalent course to ASU. Take the test as early as possible. Students who are required to take the test will see the item "Take Math Placement Test" under Priority Tasks in My ASU.

Complete pre-orientation on My ASU
All international students are encouraged to complete the digital orientation available on My ASU prior to arrival to ASU.

Step 04

Transfer credit

If you are a transfer student bringing college credit with you, Admission Services initially awards transfer credit. However, your academic advisor in your major will determine how the credit applies to your degree. Call 480-965-2437 or email if you have any questions.

Step 05

Review housing and dining options

ASU offers on-campus housing options at all campus locations. As a student living on campus, you will have convenient access to the opportunities, resources and programs offered at ASU, both academic and professional. To apply to live on campus, please visit My ASU to choose your housing preferences. If you intend to live elsewhere, please notify the university by choosing that option on your Priority Tasks in My ASU. If you are a transfer or graduate student not planning to live on campus and need assistance with your housing transition, please contact Off Campus Housing .

ASU offers several meal plan options for students living on and off campus. Review meal plan options and visit for information on housing and dining options.

Step 06

Schedule academic advising appointment and register for classes

Register for classes by going to the Academic Support Team box in My ASU and clicking on Academic Advising to schedule an advising appointment.

All freshman students are required to pay the enrollment deposit prior to registering for courses. Learn more

Transfer students in Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and W. P. Carey School of Business will receive additional information by email from their college about the next steps to take to receive advising and register for classes.

If you are a graduate student, you will need to contact your academic department about steps to take to select and register for courses. You can view your academic unit contact information in the My Programs and Degree Progress box in My ASU. Note that you may have holds on your enrollment that you need to complete before you can register for classes.

  • Fall admits: Class registration typically becomes available mid-spring.
  • Spring admits: Class registration typically becomes available mid-October. Take some time now to review and complete any outstanding holds you may have under Priority Tasks in My ASU so you can be ready for registration.

Class registration

Step 07

Learn about tuition and fees

Tuition charges will be billed to your student account and may be viewed online through My ASU. By registering for classes you agree to pay all applicable tuition and registration fees. If you decide not to attend, you must completely withdraw from all classes before the semester begins.

If tuition is not paid by the applicable due date, you will automatically be enrolled in the tuition installment plan and charged a nonrefundable enrollment fee. Visit the Tuition and Billing website for more information.

You can access online billing through My ASU. Click on My Finances, then Make a Payment. Students are responsible for reviewing their ASU email account for notification of billing statements and reviewing their student account on My ASU for current information. Billing statements are not mailed to your home.

Step 08

Make travel arrangements

Aug. 20, 2020 is the first day of fall semester classes. It is also the last day you are can arrive and conduct your SEVIS check-in. You are expected to arrive in the U.S. for International Student Orientation. You may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date listed on your SEVIS I-20 Form or DS-2019. If you are not able to arrive by the first day of classes due to visa delays, you must contact International Admission Services at Admission Services will provide you with further instructions. Do not attempt to enter the U.S. after the school start date indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019, as you will be denied entry. See the academic calendar for important dates for the upcoming semester.

Learn more about orientation 





Traveling to ASU: items to place in your carry-on luggage

Passport, visa, and signed I-20

U.S. currency

You will need access to finances to cover the expenses of your first few weeks. The recommended payment methods in the U.S. are debit and credit cards.

Medical information

Bring a copy of your health and immunization records and any medical prescriptions you need.


Put valuables such as currency, jewelry, laptop, etc. in your carry-on luggage.

Local U.S. address

Make sure to have with you the address where you will live.

Contact information

Bring a list of the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of key contacts in the U.S. and at home.

Entering the U.S. and arriving in Phoenix

Most students will arrive in the U.S. at an airport other than Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX). If you will arrive at PHX on an international flight, please see the international information on the Sky Harbor website  .

Regardless of your Port of Entry (POE), at the first entry point into the U.S. as a legal nonimmigrant, you will be required to complete the items below. For more explanation of what to expect at a POE, visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs website  .

Visa/I-20 checkpoint

At your point of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will check your documents. This is where you will need to present your passport, visa and I-20 to the Customs and Border Protection officer.

The passport must be stamped by the port of entry official notating F-1 D/S or J-1 D/S (Duration of Status), date, and location of arrival in the U.S. If this is incomplete or the stamped date or visa classification is incorrect, please bring it to the attention of the port of entry official so they can make the correct annotation. Errors noticed after you leave the airport should be brought to the attention of the International Students and Scholars Center.

While a CBP officer inspects your immigration documents, you may be asked some general questions. Don't get agitated or nervous; it's just a routine procedure. Always answer clearly, honestly and politely. If there is a problem, suggest that they contact the International Students and Scholars Center at 480-727-4776. We are open during office hours, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There is no cause for alarm if you are asked to step into a side room. They may need to ask you some questions or verify some information. You are allowed to ask the officer what the issue is — just do so respectfully.

Customs checkpoint

After checking your documents and clearing you to enter the U.S., you will proceed to the baggage claim area to collect your luggage. You will then need to enter a line with U.S. Customs (or Agricultural Dept.) officials where they may ask about the contents of your bags or ask to open them. Students should follow their instructions and answer their questions honestly and politely. Please bear in mind that the penalty for carrying contraband is very high and may result in deportation.

After you collect your luggage, you will go through the customs checkpoint. This is where you turn in the form you were given on the airplane. On this form, you must declare if you have funds exceeding $10,000 (in any currency) and any items that need to be declared. Please visit for detailed information on what you are allowed to bring and what items you need to declare.

Airport transportation and connecting flights

Once you have cleared the customs checkpoint, you will exit into the international arrivals area of the airport. If you need to catch a connecting flight (to get to PHX), you will need to take your bags with you to the proper terminal or check-in counter for your domestic flight. At many airports, you will need to take a free inter-terminal shuttle to get to the proper location. We highly recommend visiting the website of your international destination airport to become familiar with what you will need to do.

Additionally, each U.S. airline has separate policies regarding charges for checked luggage and weight requirements. We strongly recommend researching your airline's domestic flight baggage policies so that you know if you will incur charges at check-in for your domestic flight. Finally, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has detailed information about what you can carry on and things to consider when traveling within the U.S.





Post-arrival checklist

Step 01

Obtain I-94 form

An I-94 is a form denoting the arrival or departure record of particular foreigners (including students on an F-1 or J-1 visa) used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

All arrival and departure information will be gathered electronically at a customizable website   , where visitors can print a paper copy of their I-94 record or verify immigration status or employment authorization, as well as record number and admission information.

Prior to completing your SEVIS check-in, you will need to obtain a copy of your I-94   .

Step 02

Complete your online SEVIS check-in

SEVIS check-in is a mandatory process per U.S. immigration policies. In order to stay in compliance, all international students are required to report to the International Students and Scholars Center, including:

  • students who are entering the U.S. for the first time on an ASU I-20 or DS-2019
  • students who have been in the U.S. on an I-20 or DS-2019 from another school and are transferring to ASU
  • students who have attended ASU's Intensive English Program through the Global Launch English Program

After you arrive in the U.S., you can use your smartphone or computer to complete the SEVIS check-in by following these three simple steps to report your arrival before the start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019:

  1. Upload copies of your immigration documents by logging in to My ASU and clicking on Complete New Student Check-in under your Priority Tasks.
  2. Update your local address and SEVIS address in My ASU.
    • Local address must be a residential address in the U.S. and must contain street number, street name, city, state and postal code.
    • SEVIS address must be a residential address in your home country.
    • PO boxes, company addresses or school addresses are not valid addresses.
  3. Learn how to maintain your visa status.

During International Student Orientation, you will be guided through the process of SEVIS registration and receive important information about F-1/J-1 immigration compliance, enrollment and other essential matters to facilitate a smooth transition to the university and to successfully begin your ASU experience.

Please email if you have any questions.

Step 03

Get your ASU ID card

You have the option to obtain the Sun Card or the Pitchfork Card when you arrive at ASU. The Sun Card is the official ASU student photo ID that allows you to complete in-person transactions and gain access to ASU Libraries and other services. The Pitchfork Card is two cards in one — an ASU student ID card and a MasterCard® check card.

Learn more about the main differences between the Sun Card and the Pitchfork Card.

Get your Sun Card or the Pitchfork Card as soon as you arrive at ASU. It is also highly recommended that you obtain an Arizona state ID card. If you want to drive in the U.S., you need to get an Arizona driver license   (instead of an Arizona state ID card).

Step 04

Get a cell phone and set up a bank account

Review the International Student Guide for advice on getting a cell phone, setting up a bank account and other items to support your transition to the U.S. and ASU.

Step 05

Attend International Student Orientation

Incoming international students are required to attend orientation. You will learn important information about the university and how to prepare for a successful academic year. For specific information and to register, go to the orientation website.

Step 06

Get involved at ASU

Explore ASU's international student organizations, and meet other ASU international students when you arrive. ASU has more than 1,000 student clubs and organizations, giving you many opportunities to make connections and pursue activities that you are passionate about.

Useful resources for international students

Student visa DS-160 application

Visa next steps

View next steps

Admitted student travel

Admitted student checklist

Review the checklist

Cancel defer admission

Deferred student information

Undergrad students
Graduate students

virtual ASU tours

Virtual campus tours

Take a virtual tour

international student orientation

Engagement events

See the events

digital downloads

International Student Orientation

International student orientation

student ambassador

Digital downloads

See the downloads

student ambassador

Speak with a current student

Meet an ambassador

international graduate student

Graduate student resources

Resources available

ASU campus life

Culture and diversity

Learn more about diversity

Frequently asked questions about international admission

When do I apply for a visa?

You should apply for a visa after you receive your I-20 and SEVIS number from ASU. Because the entire process of obtaining your visa can take several months, you should start the visa process, which includes applying for your I-20 and your interview with an immigration officer, the semester before you plan to arrive at ASU.

How do I get an I-20?

To receive your I-20, you must submit various documents to ASU once you are admitted. These documents include the Financial Guarantee form, the Transfer SEVIS form (if applicable), financial support documentation and a copy of your passport. Upon receipt, ASU will issue you a SEVIS number so you can begin the visa process.

Can international students live off campus?

Yes, international students may live off campus, though living on campus is highly recommended for all students. You can find helpful off-campus housing resources through ASU. If you plan to live off campus, you should notify ASU by choosing that option in your Priority Tasks on My ASU.

View more FAQs