Before You Arrive

Receive Admissions and Immigration Documents

All admission letters for international students are sent to the Office of International Education. Our office will then create an immigration document (I-20 or DS-2019) and email an admissions packet, which includes an I-20 or DS-2019, IUP Admission letter, Immunization and Health History forms, and an International Student Orientation letter. Students who wish to receive original documents can pay for express mail through the UEMS site listed below.

Undergraduate students must pay the $150 tuition deposit in order to receive your full admission packet. Please see your undergraduate admission email from the Admission Office for more details on how to pay your deposit.

ALI and ALI provisional students will receive their packets from the American Language Institute.

Please Note: International Education begins sending admission packets in February for students admitted for the fall and summer semesters; it begins mailing packets in October for students admitted for the spring semester.

Instructions for Ordering Express Mail

Students who wish to receive original documents can request an admissions package to be sent by express mail (five- to seven-day delivery). IUP is not able to pay for this service, but students can pay for express mailing using an online service that will allow you to receive your immigration documents through an express-mail carrier. You must use the website provided belowdo not go through the DHL or FedEx websites directly.

UEMS Student Shipping Request: No student ID is required to complete this; simply enter all zeroes (000...).

Students can create a user name and password to set up an account. Then, select Indiana University of PennsylvaniaMain Campus, Office of International Education, as the university and office from which you wish to create a shipment. You will also need your mailing address, email address, phone number, and credit card information to complete this online request.

If you have questions or experience problems when using this online service, please use the "help" feature on its webpage. Once your documents are mailed, you will be sent an email that will provide you with the tracking number and order details for your shipment.

In addition to the standard shipping charges, a "Restricted Access Country" service charge of $100 per shipment will apply for shipments to countries where US economic embargoes are in effect, which currently includes Burma (Myanmar), Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), Iran, Sudan, and Syria.

Visa immigration documentApply for a US Visa

International students coming to the United States for study will need to apply for the appropriate visa before being permitted to enter the country. As a student, you will be applying for an F-1 (I-20) or a J-1 (DS-2019) visa. US law states that F and J visas are given to those who intend to remain in the US temporarily, and their primary purpose is for academics.

Step 1: Pay the SEVIS Fee

All accepted international students and scholars applying for an F or J visa will become part of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) when an I-20 or DS-2019 is created for you. SEVIS is a national tracking/monitoring system that will allow the US government to monitor and track various events during your program of study. Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Office of International Education handles all SEVIS records for all international students and scholars. We are required to report your USA address, registration of classes, and any changes within your program at IUP. For more information, see Study in the States.

All F, M, and J visa applicants must complete Form I-901 and pay a SEVIS fee, $350 for F Visa and $220 for J Visa, to the Department of Homeland Security before applying for a new visa. Take the receipt to your interview. Dependents and spouses are not required to pay. The purpose of the fee is to cover the costs of administering and maintaining SEVIS. If you have questions, please visit the Student and Exchange Visitor Program fee processing website for information on the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement website; call (from overseas) 011+ 785-330-1048; or email fmjfee.SEVIS@dhs.gov.

Step 2: Make a Visa Appointment

Plan as well in advance as possible. Contact your local embassy or consulate for an appointment. To find your closest US Embassy, go to the list of embassies on the US Department of State website. Visit your embassy or consulate's website for specific application procedures. IUP does not have any power to influence your consular officials, so please do not ask us to call or fax letters to your consulate or embassy. Please use the IUP letters in your acceptance packet.

As a student, you will be applying for an F-1 (I-20) or J-1 (DS-2019) visa. U.S. law states that F and J visas are given to persons who intend to remain in the U.S. temporarily and their primary purpose is for academics.

What you will need to obtain a student visa:

  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
  • Online Non-Immigrant Visa Application DS-160
    See your embassy website for more details and exceptions. Electronically submitting your DS-160 online application is only the first step in the visa application process. Once you have electronically submitted your DS-160 online application, you must contact the embassy or consulate at which you wish to apply to confirm whether you need to be interviewed by a consular office and to schedule an interview.
  • Visa fee $160
  • One passport photo (2" x 2")
  • Valid passport
  • Financial support letters and bank statements
  • IUP acceptance letter
  • Other documents are required by US Embassy or Consulate (TOEFL, GMAT, GRE scores or transcripts from previous institutions)

Visa Interview Tips

  • Show all document listed above.
  • Be prepared to explain that you intend to return to your country and only remain in the United States temporarily.
  • Use documents from a family business, property, or bank statement to show ties to your country. Showing ties in theUnited States is not helpful.
  • Be prepared to explain your academic goals and planned course of study and why it is important for you to study in theUnited States as opposed to your country. Bring copies or official scores from standardized tests required for admission and transcripts from previous institutions. If you will be returning to a job in your country, a letter from your place of work would be helpful.
  • Be prepared to explain how you will be financially supported while in theUnited States with documentation. You are required to show financial proof when applying to IUP. You should be able to show bank statements or letters from sponsors that match information on your I-20 or DS-2019. Bring deeds, tax returns, pay stubsthe more documents showing financial support, the better.
  • If your family is applying for F-2 visas, you will be asked to show proof of relationship to his/her spouse and/or children. It is preferable that families apply for visas at the same time.
  • 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Non-immigrant Visa

Dependents

If you have an F-1 or J-1 visa and have dependents who will accompany you to IUP:

  • Please email or fax a copy of their passports, including: family name, first name, date of birth, country of birth, and relationship to you. Send this information to intl-education@iup.edu or fax 724-357-2514 so we may issue an I-20/DS-2019 for dependents.
  • Additional costs must be included on your I-20/DS-2019. The amounts for a nine-month period is $5,000 for spouse and $3,000 for each child. You will need to provide documentation for these additional funds if your current financial statement doesn't include this.
  • Please be sure to bring with you to IUP the English translation of the following documents for each child, or your child will have difficulty enrolling in school:
    • Birth certificate
    • Immunization records

Visa Approval or Denial

You may check your visa application status by going to Visa Application Status Tracker.

Denial

If your visa is denied, you can apply again within the same year. If you decide to defer until the next semester, notify the Office of International Education in writing as soon as possible. Your SEVIS fee is valid for 12 months.

Approval

Please make plans for your housing and transportation.

For Additional Information

Defer Admission

All newly admitted international students who are unable to report to IUP by the scheduled start date have two options.

Option One:Withdraw their admission to IUP.

Option Two:Defer their admission to the next academic semester.

Students can defer up to one full calendar year before needing to submit a new application, financial statement, and application fee. However, some graduate programs might require a one-year deferral.

Students who are in the United States and unable to report to IUP should be in contact with our office immediately to sort out potential immigration issues.

Instructions for Deferrals

Please follow these instructions for deferrals. Note that new acceptance packages will be mailed to students who have chosen to defer starting in mid-February for fall admission (late August) and early October for spring admission (January).

  1. Please email intl-education@iup.edu with your name and IUP Banner ID @_____________. State which semester you want to defer to: fall or spring.
  2. You will receive a confirmation email from the OIE regarding your deferral request.
  3. If the Undergraduate Admissions office or the Graduate Admissions office needs more information from you, the staff there will contact you directly via email.
  4. If your deferral is approved, you will receive a new acceptance package for the semester you requested.
  5. If you obtained an F-1 visa with your previous I-20, please communicate that to the OIE so we can match your SEVIS number.

Immigration Transfer from Another US Institution

Students who are in F-1 or J-1 status, coming to IUP from any school in theUnited States (high school, university, or English language school), are considered transfer students for immigration purposes.

All transfers, both F-1 and J-1, will need to work with their previous school or program sponsor within 60 days (F-1) or 30 days (J-1) of finishing at their former school to determine a SEVIS transfer release date.

Students must complete IUP's SEVIS Transfer form, which will be emailed to the student after admission to IUP. Our office will contact transfer students as soon as their immigration documents have been processed. Transfer students are not required to pay the SEVIS fee and do not need a new visa if their current visa is valid. Students should use their IUP I-20 to re-enter the United States.

Activate Your IUP Network and Email Accounts

MyIUP is the university portal that allows students to complete a wide variety of university functions, including registering for classes, viewing grades, and reserving housing. In addition, students are provided a university email address that will serve as the official means of communication between faculty, staff, and administration and students. Follow this technology "to do" list to get your semester off to a smooth start.

Before You Arrive On Campus

  1. Get to know MyIUP
    MyIUP is the university portal. It is used for a wide variety of functions at the university. You will use MyIUP to register for classes, view your grades, sign up for on-campus housing, and much more. You will log in to MyIUP with your network username and password.
  2. Know your IUP username
    You can use iaccounts to Find Your IUP Account Information.
  3. Know your network (IUPMSD) password
    This will be used to access various resources needed for your courses, such as the IUP network (both wired and wireless). Network passwords expire every 180 days, so you may need to Reset Your Own Network Password.
  4. Pack your computer
    Check out the Hardware Guidelines for Student Computers to make sure your computer will meet the minimum recommendations. If you're in the market for a new computer, you'll be interested in Technology Deals for Students.
  5. Get free and discounted software
    Software available to students can be downloaded from our website.
  6. Protect your computer
    You will not be able to connect to the Internet if your computer is infected or compromised. Be sure to:
    • Update your operating system with the latest security patches using Windows Update (Windows) or Software Update (Macintosh). It's best to enable automatic updates.
    • Sophos Endpoint Security and Control is free for all IUP students. If you know your username and network password, you can download Sophos.
    • Malwarebytes is also available from our software section. Install this on your machine prior to arrival on campus. If you know your username and network password, you can download Malwarebytes.
    • Run a full virus and anti-malware scan on your computer.
  7. Uninstall peer-to-peer (P2P) software
    Most file sharing is against the law because it involves the distribution of copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright owner. This is usually music (MP3) or movie files, but can also be TV programs, books, and images. If a complaint is received that you are illegally sharing copyrighted material, you will be disconnected from the network until you remove that file sharing software. Using peer-to-peer software is considered a high-risk activity that increases your likelihood of compromise. Please visit our page on cyber security and become familiar with this subject.
  8. Get familiar with Desire to Learn (D2L).
    Most courses will offer some online presence through the use of Desire to Learn (D2L). You should take time becoming familiar with this system as you will be required to utilize it throughout your academic career here at IUP. Please visit our "Getting Started with D2L" guide to get started.

After You Arrive On Campus

  1. Connect to the network
  2. Find the public computer labs
    Even if you have a computer, you may need to access a computer between classes. Public computer labs also provide printing capability and software that you may not have on your own computer.
  3. Protect your computer
    • Use the latest versions of anti-virus software and anti-spyware software.
    • Run a full scan once a month.
    • Back up your files to portable storage devices (CDs, DVDs, USB drives).
    • Purchase a laptop security cable.
    • Never leave your laptop unattended in an unsecured area.
  4. Protect your privacy
    • Learn how to identify fraudulentor phishingemail messages that request personal information. Never send sensitive data via email. IUP personnel will never request your username, password, or other sensitive information via email.
    • Your imail account is enrolled in the Anti-Spam Service. The Anti-Spam Service will flag most phishing messages, alerting you to their fraudulent nature. Flagged messages will appear in your Junk Mail folder on your imail account.
    • Do not share your passwords or PIN with anyone!
  5. Map your Network Drives
    • Once on campus you will need to map your network drives. You can find information on the network mappings on our Network Drive page.
  6. Sign up for the Emergency Notification System
    The Emergency Notification System is maintained solely for the purpose of notifying the university community in times of critical emergency situations. The system notifies registrants through university email accounts, voice and text messaging to cell phones, and voice messaging to home phones.
  7. Learn more about technology at the IT Support Center.

Housing

Both on- and off-campus housing is available for students and scholars coming to IUP's Indiana, Pennsylvania, campus. Graduate students and upper-level undergraduate students typically live off-campus. International students admitted to the IUP Academy of Culinary Arts can discuss housing options with the Culinary Academy. Students admitted to IUP Pittsburgh East can use the links below to look for housing near: 400 Penn Center Boulevard, Building 4, Suite 900,Pittsburgh,PA15235.

Undergraduate international students with fewer than 30 credits must live on campus. In addition, all exchange students are required to live in an IUP residence hall. Living on campus makes it easier to meet others, and everything you need will be in close proximity. Students who live on-campus must also select a meal plan. Those requesting an exemption to the IUP residency requirement must complete a form with the Office of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining. Send questions to iup-housing@iup.edu.

On-Campus Housing

Students wishing to live on campus can complete a housing contract through MyIUP. See instructions below. The on-campus residence halls at IUP are newly built and refurnished. There are a variety of types of rooms you can reserve. Visit the Office of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining for more details.

Wallwork Hall, our Global Awareness building, is the residence hall we suggest international students reserve because it is available during breaks and most international students will be housed here. The Office of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining cannot make a room assignment without your signed agreement. For general questions about housing, please see the Office of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining website, email IUP-OHRL@iup.edu, or call 724-357-2696.

How to Reserve On-Campus Housing

  • Log in to MyIUP.
  • Select Student Services.
  • Select Housing Menu, and then Select or View Housing and Dining Information.
  • Select the term that you will be attending IUP (fall 2020 or spring 2021).
  • You will then be asked to create a Housing and Dining Application. Choose the residence hall you would like to live in and all other required information. We recommend Wallwork Hall.
  • After you click Submit for the Online Housing Agreement, you will receive a message that your choices were saved successfully. Submitting this contract is the same as signing a housing contract and it cannot be cancelled after submission.
  • You will receive a confirmation email in your IUP email account verifying your Housing Agreement submission. To log in to your IUP email account, see the instructions in a letter from the IUP Registrar's Office included in your packet.
  • Note: You are not required to pay the $80 housing deposit.

Housing Application Deadlines

All students must complete their housing contracts to IUP two months before arrival to guarantee housing. If your contract is submitted after these two months, IUP cannot guarantee on-campus housing, nor will we arrange off-campus housing.

Please note that an online on-campus housing contract is a binding legal agreement. If you sign a contract for fall, you are required to stay in the residence hall for fall and spring, unless you are a one-semester exchange student. If you sign a contract for spring, your contract ends at the end of the spring semester. Contracts are renewed every year and must be applied separately for summer sessions. Students are only permitted to live on campus while taking classes during summer sessions.

All lodging accommodations require advance reservations. Shared apartment and residence hall accommodations are available to graduate students without spouses or families. There are no on-campus housing for married couples or students with children.

Break Housing

Students living in IUP residence halls may stay in Wallwork Hall for free during holiday breaks (applications must be completed as well as other conditions being met). If an international student needs housing for winter, there is an estimated fee of $400+. Summer housing can only be applied for if students are taking classes during that term. Otherwise, they have to move out during the summer break. Cafeterias are closed during Thanksgiving, winter, and spring breaks. A student may stay after the fall semester (up to four days prior to returning student check-in) for a fee of $30 per night.

Off-Campus Housing

Many students enjoy living off campus, particularly graduate students and those with families. Here are a few links to off-campus housing websites. Students seeking housing for IUP main campus should search for "Indiana, PA." Students seeking housing for IUP Pittsburgh East should search for "Monroeville, PA."

IUP is not affiliated with any housing company or landlords and is not able to make off-campus arrangements for students. It is important that you take the necessary steps to secure adequate housing before arriving at IUP. Most apartment managers and landlords will require signing a contract that is legally binding and will require a security deposit, which can sometimes equal one extra months' rent before moving in.

Note: In the United States, the written word is very strict. Read every document and make sure you understand it before signing any document such as a lease or contract. A lease is binding legal contract between you and the property owner or landlord. When you sign a lease, you will typically be required to pay a "security deposit," usually equivalent to at least one month's rent, as well as the rent for the first month. The security deposit will be returned to you when you move out, provided you leave the apartment in good condition. Also, after signing the lease, if you decide that you no longer want to live in that apartment, your landlord has the right to keep your security deposit because you signed the lease.Never sign a lease unless you understand all of the terms and are completely satisfied with the apartment and surrounding property.

When you sign a lease, you are also obligated to pay the landlord monthly rent for the duration of the lease. Before you sign the lease, you should be reasonably sure that you plan to live in that location for the duration of your lease. With permission from your landlord, you may be allowed to find a tenant to take your place for the remainder of your contract. If you "sublease" your apartment to other tenants, however, you probably will remain responsible for their actions.

Meal Plan

Meal plans are available for students and scholars attending a program at IUP Main Campus. Students living in IUP residence halls are required to purchase a meal plan. Students living off campuscan select a meal plan as well. A meal plan can be chosen through MyIUP.

Please be advised that there is always an adjustment period to the food and beverages in a new country or culture. The campus dining personnel will work with students who have special dietary requirements. No exceptions to or alterations of the meal plan contract will be allowed.

Meal plans will begin for all IUP students, domestic as well as international, with lunch/dinner on the weekend before classes. You should be prepared to pay for meals off campus prior to that date. Please refer all dining questions to IUP-dining@iup.edu.

Purchase Health Insurance

Healthcare in theUnited States is very expensive. All F and J visa holders need to purchase health insurance for themselves and their dependents in case you have an emergency or need medical care while studying here. Students will be required to submit proof of health insurance coverage (in English) to the Office of International Education during orientation. Immigration status cannot be validated until this requirement is met.

If you do not have insurance, bills can be as high as $5,000 for a simple emergency room visit, or $100 for a regular doctor's visit. Minimal coverage requirements are listed belowthis is what you can look for in an insurance policy. The Office of International Education is not able to advise you or assist you with purchasing health insurance. Please note that even basic health insurance in theUnited States does not coverallmedical benefits like prescriptions or dental or vision.

 

Short-Term Health Insurance Plans for International Students in the United States

This is a listing of the most commonly purchased Insurance Plans for international students in theUnited States. Students must purchase insurance from a company in the U.S. online with a credit card or request a brochure and mail a check or money order. Keep proof of insurance in your wallet in case of emergency.

Remember, healthcare is expensive in the USA, and international students are responsible for any costs associated with their physical or mental health.

Immunization Records are Required

IUP requires documentation from all new freshman and transfer students of all immunization dates. This includes the following vaccines:

  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus-toxoid
  • Diphtheria
  • Polio

Bring copies of your health and immunization history. You will be asked to complete an electronic record of your health and immunization history after you arrive and are registered for classes.

Additionally, IUP requires that all students, prior to moving into university-owned residence halls, must receive the vaccination for meningococcal meningitis or sign a document stating that the student has chosen to be exempt from receiving the vaccination.

IUP Health and Wellness Fee

All students will be billed for a health service fee. This fee allows you to visit IUP's on-campus clinic to obtain basic medicine for colds, visit a doctor, and receive referrals to other doctors. For a more complete list for service offered, see Center for Health and Well-BeingThis fee is not insurance. Students must also purchase a separate health insurance policy.

United States Federal Guidelines for Health Insurance Minimums for J-Visa Visitors

Those holding J-Visas are required by federal regulations to have insurance plus insurance for all J-2 dependents. Exchange visitors must select an insurance policy that is in compliance with the stated requirements below and turn in proof of insurance to their J-1 advisor.

22 C.F.R. 62.14 Insurance

In October 2014, the US Department of State issued a final rule that the requirements of J-1 insurance coverage were changed to:

  1. Sponsors shall require each exchange visitor to have insurance in effect which covers the exchange visitor for sickness or accident during the period of time that an exchange visitor participates in the sponsor's exchange visitor program. Minimum coverage shall provide:
    1. Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
    2. Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
    3. Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000; and
    4. A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
  2. An insurance policy secured to fulfill the requirements of this section:
    1. May require a waiting period for pre-existing conditions which is reasonable as determined by current industry standards;
    2. May include provision for co-insurance under the terms of which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25 percent of the covered benefits per accident or illness; and
    3. Shall not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program in which the exchange visitor participates.
  3. Any policy, plan, or contract secured to fill the above requirements must, at a minimum, be:
    1. Underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of A-'' or above; an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd., (ISI) rating of A- i'' or above; a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor's Claims paying Ability rating of A-'' or above; a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above;a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of A-'' or above; a Moody's Investor Services rating of A3'' or above; or such other rating as the Department of State may from time to time specify; or
    2. Backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor's home country; or
    3. Part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees

These new levels of coverage will come into effect on May 15, 2015, so students and scholars arriving after this date will need to meet these new requirements.

Concerns

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently issued a travel alert to highlight countries where Zika virus is prevalent. For more information, visit the Health Service page about Zika.

Remember to Bring

Things to Bring

  • Money
    International money transfers to U.S. banks will often be delayed, sometimes up to two months. Please prepare by bringing cash, traveler's checks or credit cards that can be readily used in the U.S. PNC Bank, located in the IUP HUB, will assist interested students in opening an account during orientation. banks often delay the payment of money that is transferred from foreign banks. It may take up to two months to cash a check or draft from a foreign bank. Banks also charge a separate fee for this service.
  • Clothing
    Pennsylvania experiences all seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall). If you have been admitted for the Fall semester and arrive in August, lightweight clothing is appropriate. Winter clothes can be purchased after you arrive. If you have been admitted for the Spring semester and arrive in January, a heavy overcoat, gloves, and wool clothing will be necessary.
  • Bedding
    You will be responsible for providing your own sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels whether you live in the IUP residence hall or off-campus. You can purchase them after you arrive, or pre-order these items (see the "DormCo" brochure in your admissions package or go to their website for more information).
  • Cultural Clothing and Artifacts
    International students are invited to participate in cultural events and classroom presentations to share information about their country. Articles of clothing or something that represents your country for cultural events or presentations is most welcome.
  • Medical Prescriptions
    If you take any medicines on a regular basis, you should bring at least one month supply. Have a pharmacist label the medication clearly for Customs inspections and bring them in your carry-on luggage. Medication is very expensive in the United States.
  • Extra Eyeglasses, Contacts, or Eye Prescription (if you wear them)

Documents to Bring

  • International Driver's License
    If you plan to rent or purchase a car soon after arriving in the U.S., we strongly recommend you obtain an International Driver's License in your home country which can be used for up to 1 year in Pennsylvania. Licenses from home countries can be used for some car rental agencies. It may take 3-4 months to obtain a Pennsylvania Driver's License. One semester exchange students are not eligible for a Pennsylvania Driver's License.
  • Immunization and Health History Records
  • Children's Birth Certificates and Immunization Records
  • Final Transcripts from U.S. or Institutions Abroad
    All students who have not turned in original copies of transcripts from all university classes taken must turn in final transcripts for evaluation. Turn them into the Graduate School or Transfer Services office for evaluation and advising.

Packages

New students who plan to live in a residence hall can mail packages addressed to themselves and c/o IUP Folger Post Office, 900 Maple Street, Indiana, PA 15705, USA.You may claim the packages later at the Post Office, located in the basement of Folger Hall.