New Students

Applying for your Visa & Receiving a CCNY I-20 

You will apply for a visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. You should apply well in advance of the date you would like to arrive in the U.S. as the wait times for interview appointments vary. The I-20 indicates a "program start date". As a student coming to the United States for the first time you may be allowed to enter the U.S. 30 days prior to that program start date.

To find a Consulate or Embassy near you, visit

Be Prepared for your Interview

Each applicant for a student visa must submit these forms and documents at his/her visa appointment:

  •    Form I-20 from The City College of New York
  •    Online Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160
  •     A valid passport
  •     One 2x2 photograph
  •    The SEVIS I-901 application fee receipt ($350 for F-1, as of June 24, 2019)
  •    Receipt to show visa application fee


In order to receive a CCNY I-20, Applicants should be prepared to provide our office with the following:

  1.     CCNY Admission letter
  2.     Fill out COMPLETED I-20  Application (See below)
  3.     Proof of financial support 

2024 - 2025 I-20 application

Please note that if traveling with a dependent you will also need to provide proof of relationship ( marriage certificate or birth certificate), dependent I-20, a valid passport, and proof of additional funds to support their stay in the U.S.

Upon Arrival in the United States

Once you get to the airport in the U.S., proceed to the Port of Entry and present your Form I-20 and your passport. Expect your finger prints to be scanned and a digital photograph to be taken as is required by regulation.

If you are approved for entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer will stamp your form I-20 for duration of status (D/S) and the date you entered the U.S.

In some cases, if there is a problem with your documents, you may be issued a 30 day entry period, and issued a form I-515A, with instructions to provide further documentation in order to prove lawful entry. Failure to do so will cause a termination of the student's SEVIS record and the student must either depart the U.S. or apply for reinstatement.

What to do before the First Day of classes at CCNY

  1.  Check in with the International Students office located in the North Academic Center 1st floor room 107. This is required for all international students who have received an I-20 from the City College of New York. You will need to bring in your passport, visa, a print-out of the  I-94  and your I-20.
  2. Prior to beginning your classes you will be asked to attend a number of orientations including the New International Student Orientation. Attendance is required for all new and transfer students as well as those who changed their nonimmigrant status to F-1.
  3. New incoming undergraduate students will be asked to attend a freshman orientation where they will be registered for the necessary classes after meeting with an advisor. All other students are able to meet with an advisor on campus and register for their classes.
  4. After you register for classes you will receive a bill for your tuition and fees. You can pay tuition in person by check, money order or cash. Credit card payments and Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT) can be made online through your CUNYfirst account. The credit cards accepted are American Express, MasterCard and Discover.

Places to Know on Campus

  1. Office of International Student and Scholar Services:  Assists students and scholars who are not permanent residents of the U.S. with a variety of academic and counseling support services. Located in NAC 1/107
  2. Student Health Services (SHS): Provides on campus clinical services for students by a full time registered nurse and a part time nurse practitioner. Services are free and confidential for all currently enrolled CCNY students. Located in Marshak Room J-15.
  3. Counseling Center: Provides individual and group counseling to address situations anywhere from stress to relationship problems to alcohol or drug use. Located in Marshak Room J-15.
  4. Access-Ability Center: Provides and coordinates reasonable accommodations and support services to students with disabilities. Located in NAC 1/218.
  5. Bursars Office: Serves to collect all tuition and fees in accordance with CUNY policies and procedures. Located in Administration Building room 103.
  6. NAC Cafeteria: Offers bountiful meals at modest cost, snacks and beverages as well as Starbucks cafe's located in two buildings. The main cafeteria is located in NAC 2/104.
  7. Campus Store: Serves as your on campus supply store for materials and City College Apparel. Located in NAC 1/103. 

Your Legal Immigration Obligations

When you enter the United States with an F-1 visa status, it is very important that you understand that you have important legal obligations while in the United States. International Services is always available to advise you on these requirements. Don't hesitate to seek our advice on any legal immigration regulatory issue. Please read the following very carefully and follow these rules that are strictly enforced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

  • You must have a valid I-20 form from The City College of New York.
  • All students in F-1 status must register for a full time course load (12 for undergraduates, 9 for graduates, 7 for Doctoral students) each Fall and Spring semester. If for any  reason you are unable to enroll in a full course load, you must see an advisor in the International Students office before classes begin.
  • Enroll in classes every Fall and Spring semester.
  • Report any changes of your name or address to the International Students office within 10 days of the change.
  • Do not work without proper legal authorization. Any work must be approved by the International Students office or USCIS and cannot exceed 20 hour a week
  • Report change of status such as acquiring another nonimmigrant category or permanent residency


Reporting Requirements

The government requires that all schools report to SEVIS and USCIS whether or not a student has fulfilled all requirements necessary for that student to maintain his/her F-1 status.

Prior to beginning classes at CCNY, every student is required by USCIS to report to the Office of International Student & Scholar Services. When you report you are required to provide:

  • A copy of your passport and F-1 visa
  • Print out I-94
  • CCNY I-20.
  • Copies of your dependents' I-20, passport, visa, and I-94 if applicable

You will also be asked to fill out an F-1 Student Data Sheet. This form will provide the information required for SEVIS reporting.

Failure to report to the Office of International Student & Scholar Services upon arrival will result in the termination of the student's SEVIS record


Transfer Students

International Students transferring into CCNY, should have their International Student Advisor from their previous institution fill out our Transfer Release Form and have it sent over to our office. Doing so allows us to receive their SEVIS record and process their CCNY I-20. Our office will also need to see proof of admission and copies of all previous I-20s that have been issued to the student while he/she has been in the U.S.

Last Updated: 04/15/2024 11:39