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Once you are registered for orientation, you will be assigned a Peer Advisor Leader (PAL) who is a current RIT student assist you with everything you need to know about becoming a new RIT Tiger!!

Arriving in the United States for the first time is exciting but it can also be a bit overwhelming. Below you will find information to help you prepare for you first few days on campus.

Many of your questions will be answered in International Student Orientation. In fact, we have found that attending orientation can be one of the most important factors in an international student's successful transition to RIT.

The ISS staff is looking forward to meeting you!

When to Arrive

Before you make travel arrangements to come to the United States, make sure you understand when you must arrive in order to maintain your immigration status.

  • You must arrive in the United States no later than the official program start date indicated on your Form I-20 or DS-2019. You may enter the United States up to 30 days prior to your official report date. Please note, however, that you will need to make arrangements for housing if you arrive before International Move-in Day.
  • Please continue to check this site for international move-in and orientation dates.

The following resource provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security may be helpful to you: Study in the States Guide.

Entering the United States

Be prepared to present the following documents at the Port of Entry:

  • Passport
  • U.S. visa
  • I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility
  • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt

It is very important that you keep these documents in a secure location while traveling, such as your purse or travel bag. Do not place any personal documents in your luggage, as they may be lost during travel.

Review your immigration documents and those for your dependents before you leave the arrival station. If you notice any errors, notify an immigration officer immediately. Once you leave the Port of Entry, it can be difficult to correct errors on your documents. Immigration officers review thousands of documents a day, so mistakes are sometimes made.

Getting to RIT

RIT’s campus sits adjacent to the city of Rochester, located in the western part of New York State, about 585 km from New York City and 300 km from Toronto, Canada. For maps and directions to campus please visit

Accommodations for Early Arrival

If you arrive before the official move-in date please plan to stay at an area hotel.
List of area hotels.

Mandatory Virtual Immigration Check-In

All new international students are required to check in with International Student Services. After completing the virtual check-in your SEVIS record will be registered and you will be issued an updated I-20/DS-2019 with a travel signature. Please use your RIT user name and password to log in to Campus Groups to submit the check-in form and scans of your immigration documents. Please have scans of your I-20 (F-1 students) /DS-2019 (J-1 students), visa stamp, passport and I-94 which you can download here.

**PLEASE NOTE – Your I-94 may take up to a week to generate after your arrival to the US**
**All initial status international students must perform their virtual check in as soon as possible upon admission into the United States.**

Coronavirus Updates

Visit this page for the latest updates on Coronavirus from the ISS office.

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