Welcome to International Students and Scholars Services at West Virginia University
We are delighted that you have chosen to attend WVU and we are looking forward to seeing you here in Morgantown!We encourage you to spend time navigating our website. Our website contains important information designed to help you maintain your immigration status and adjust to your new home in Morgantown. The information below addresses the most important steps to begin your journey at WVU as an international student.
Steps to begin your on-boarding
Check your West Virginia University (Mix) Email
After you have been admitted, your official admission email will have your WVU student ID number and your WVU username.
To activate your WVU Mix Email, please visit WVU's Tutorial website.
Log into the Campus WVU Portal ( portal.wvu.edu) for campus-wide information and services . Now that you’re admitted, it’s time to get connected. Be sure to log in regularly in order to receive important and timely information.
Request an I-20 or DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility)
Within 5 business days following your admission, you will receive an invitation from "email@example.com" to your WVU MIX Email with directions for joining our international student portal. If you have not activated your WVU MIX Email account, please first visit WVU's Tutorial website . Once you are invited and log into the system, you may begin your onboarding request for your I-20/DS-2019. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are unce rtain i f you have received the invite email to begin a request or have questions about submitting your request.
Once you receive the invite, login with your WVU info, and begin your request, you will need to read the information in each section and upload any required documentation to request your I-20 or DS-2019. Please note that this process will take longer if your application and documentation are not complete and correct. Be sure to submit all required documentation at the time of application and provide clear and organized documentation that shows proof of financials. An international student advisor will reach out to you via your MIX email if there are issues or questions concerning your application/documents.
You will need to prepare the following:
- your admission email (saved in PDF format)
- Passport bio pages (should be valid for more than 6 months beyond your entry to the US)
Proof of Financial Support: evidence of financial ability to meet expenses (ex. official bank statement). We highly encourage you to read the info in the link above for complete guidance on providing financial proof documents and please see your request "financial details" tab or the website below for amount needed:
- Estimated Cost of Attendance
- Dependents: If you are bringing dependent(s), you must provide additional funding in the amount of $6,171 for each dependent (spouse or child).
IF YOU WILL TRANSFER-IN FROM ANOTHER U.S. School - When beginning your onboarding request for a new I-20, please remember to select "Transfer In" when beginning a new I-20 request. You will then be directed to provide info about your current SEVIS ID and previous institution in order for us to transfer in your SEVIS record while we create your I-20. Please select the gold box labeled "Transfer In" at the bottom of the "Getting Started" Tab when you begin your I-20 request.I-20/DS-2019 Issuance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Happens Next?
After all of your documentation has been submitted, our international student advisers will review it. If they have questions, they will contact you for additional information via your MIX email. Otherwise, you will receive a follow up e-mail about how to access your I-20 or DS-2019 electronically. To check on the progress of your I-20 or DS-2019, you can check your international student portal to see the status of the request or your mix email for updates.
ISSS cannot guarantee turnaround times for requests, but we strive to process requests within 15 business days after all documentation is received. We cannot expedite requests; however, we assess for urgency and process in the order requests are received.
We welcome follow up e-mails to ask about a request status; however, we ask that you recognize our standard processing times. Status updates concerning your request(s) will be sent your MIX email.
Review your I-20 or DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility)
Once the document is received, be sure to verify that the information on your I-20 or DS-2019 is correct. The spelling of your name and your date of birth must be the same as your passport.
If you find and error, please inform us immediately ( email@example.com) so that we can correct it. You will not need a new I-20 or DS-2019 sent to you, but the information must be updated in SEVIS before your visa appointment.
Pay the Student & Exchange Visitor (SEVIS) Fee
SEVIS fee, implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is intended to defray costs associated with the administration of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Once you have received your I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to pay the SEVIS fee (instructions are sent with your I-20 or DS-2019).
- $350 for F-1 Students
- $220 for J-1 Students
Apply for a Visa
After paying the SEVIS fee, you will need to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country using the information located on your I-20 or DS-2019 (ex. SEVIS ID, program dates, and school code). Instructions on how to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa can be found on the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate associated with your home country.
According to instructions from the Department of State about the form DS-160 to apply for a visa, you typically cannot book a visa appointment without first providing your SEVIS # and corresponding program. In addition you must pay the SEVIS fee associated with that number. Please continue reading below for further information about the visa process, but we cannot accommodate the processing of an I-20/DS-2019 for a claim of an embassy appointment prior to the I-20/DS-2019 request being complete without proper documentation from the embassy that proves otherwise. This documentation should come from the embassy and show that you were allowed to request a visa appointment without the SEVIS # and without payment associated with the SEVIS number.
To avoid further issues with your visa processing or cancellation of a previously made embassy appointment, we strongly recommend waiting until your I-20 is processed by our office and received prior to attempting to make an embassy appointment for a visa. Attempting to make the appointment prior to receiving the I-20 is highly discouraged and if unable to process your I-20 in time, you will need to reschedule your appointment at the U.S. embassy. ISSS cannot guarantee I-20/DS-2019 processing in time to make a previously scheduled embassy appointment against published Dept. of State guidance.
You can also visit our applying for a visa webpage for more information and a list of frequently asked questions regarding visa issues.
Pay your academic deposit (only for degree-seeking, undergraduate students)
The academic deposit is required of all undergraduate, degree-seeking students, even if you are receiving a scholarship. The deposit is $250 for non-residents/international students. Payment is generally due around December 1st for Spring,May 1st for Fall, and before classes begin for Summer. You can pay through your WVU Portal ( portal.wvu.edu) and can consult with the WVU Mountaineer Hub regarding application of payment or any refunds.
Look for Housing
WVU offers a wide variety of housing options, from traditional residence halls to university-owned apartments. It's best to find housing well in advance of your arrival. For more information on on-campus and off-campus house, visit our housing webpage.
Pay your housing deposit and register for housing (if applicable).
After you pay the academic deposit, you must wait 48 hours before completing the online housing application. You will submit the $225 housing deposit and then you will be assigned housing. General move-in begins on the Saturday prior to the first day of class. Please check the WVU Housing website for more information. If you need summer housing, please visit: https://summer.wvu.edu/housing.
On-campus Housing (Undergraduate students)
For first year undergraduate students, it is recommended that they live in the residence halls for at least the first year. The residence hall leases (contracts) are valid for one academic year and include a meal plan (meals are provided). Room assignments are on a first come first served basis. To be assigned a room, students are required to complete their housing applications and pay a housing deposit through http://housing.wvu.edu/apply-for-housing/apply-residence-hall.
Please note: University residence halls are closed during school breaks. During these times students are required to find alternate housing. Students may request accommodation for holiday housing through the housing office or by indicating that they will require holiday housing on their housing contracts.
On-campus Housing (Graduate students)
On campus housing is available for graduate students through University Apartments at College Park, University Park, University Place and Vandalia Apartments. The leases (contracts) are valid for one academic year and do not include a meal plan (meals are not provided). The apartments are open during school breaks, therefore finding alternate housing is not necessary. For more information go to http://universityapartments.wvu.edu/.
Most graduate students and upperclassmen undergraduate students live off campus (rental properties). Rental leases (contracts) once signed are legally binding and are typically for one year with minimal to no chance of getting out of the contract without a costly legal battle. Please visit the Campus and Community Life Off Campus Housing page for more info.
Leases (contracts for housing)
Before signing a lease it is highly recommended to have the Student Legal Services go over the lease with you to make sure you fully understand it. For more information on off-campus housing and student legal services visit the links below:
- Off Campus Housing Resources can be found at http://campuslife.wvu.edu/student-advocacy/off-campus-housing
- Student Legal Services can be found at http://studentlegalservices.wvu.edu
NOTE: Students who have not made prior housing arrangements, or who will not be able to immediately move into their apartments or residence hall rooms, or who have late night arrivals are strongly advised to have some extra spending money for hotel accommodation and meals. View your stay options in Morgantown, WV as well through the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitor's Bureau site or utilize any popular hotel search engine.
Students with specific physical needs should contact the Office of Accessibility Services to obtain academic, housing, or transportation accommodations. Please call (304) 293-6700 or visit accessibility Office of Accessibility Services to begin the process.
Choose a dining plan
All students living in WVU residence halls are required to have a dining plan. Once you move in, if you have not selected a meal plan, one will be automatically assigned to you. If you are commuting (living off campus), you have the option of purchasing a non-residential student dining plan. To view all your dining options, please go to: diningservices.wvu.edu/dining-plans
Research Health Insurance
All students at WVU are required to maintain health insurance. To review your options, check deadlines, verify immunization requirements, and more, please visit WVU's Student Insurance Website.
Any student who is already covered by another approved health insurance plan may complete the insurance waiver application to opt out of the WVU plan. This waiver is due by the first day of class . Students without an approved waiver on file will be automatically enrolled in the WVU Aetna student health insurance plan (see prices on the WVU Student Insurance Office website). Please visit talentandculture.wvu.edu/student-insurance to learn more or to find the waiver application.
Take the ALEKS Practice Test for Math & Chemistry (only for degree-seeking, undergraduate students)
Because international students do not generally have ACT or SAT scores, taking the ALEKS Test will help WVU to place you in courses. Accurately identifying your current skill level will help in creating a plan of study for your time at WVU. Each major has a specific math requirement, so it is important to know what classes you will need to complete for your desired field of study.
- To prepare for the ALEKS Test, please visit the ALEKS Testing website.
Travel to the US
Don't forget to include NSO into your travel plans! (See info below.)
Please note that you may not enter the US more than 30 days before your program start date on your I-20/DS-2019.
Arriving in the US. If this is your first time (or if it's been a while since you have entered the US), please be sure to check out important information on what to expect at the port of entry.
Travel to Morgantown. Our office offers a free shuttle prior to orientation. If you wish to make use of this service, you will need complete the pre-arrival questionnaire sent to your WVU Mix email. Otherwise, you may make your own arrangements.
Emergency Contact Information> International Risk Manager - WVU Office of Global Affairs (304) 293-9456.
Attend On-Campus (or virtual) Orientation (NSO)
NSO generally takes place before classes begin for the Fall and Spring semesters. NSO is held to assist with getting you familiarized with the campus community. A tentative orientation schedule is available in due course. We kindly request that you familiarize yourself with the orientation schedule, and plan other meetings around it.
- Register for Virtual NSO.
Graduate students. You should receive orientation information directly from your department. However, you are welcome and encouraged to join our "Being an International Student" Session at NSO.
Intensive English Program (IEP) students. IEP students are not required to attend this orientation session. They will have alternate orientation dates communicated through the IEP.
SEVIS Check-in, Full-time Enrollment, Contact Information Update,
SEVIS check-in is mandatory for all international students as it serves in part to register your SEVIS record. You must complete SEVIS check-in within 30 days after arriving to the U.S., but highly recommend that it is completed as soon as possible upon arrival. To complete SEVIS Check-in after arriving in the U.S., please log-in to your student request portal, go to "Requests and Documents", and select the icon for SEVIS Check-in. You will need to answer all questions and provide all appropriate documents.
J-1 Students, please also submit a "Pre-Arrival Orientation" request with your SEVIS check-in.
Please note that we cannot update your SEVIS record and complete registration in SEVIS until you also e nroll Full-time (12 credits Undergraduate; 9 credits Graduate)
If needing to change your contact information after completing SEVIS check-in, please submit a "Contact Information Update" request with your U.S. Phone Number and required U.S. Physical Address. Please note that you must notify us of any changes to both your U.S. address or phone number within 10 days of the change and Contact Info Updates may be made by selecting the corresponding icon under the "Requests and Documents" section of your request portal.
Pay Your Account
Payment for tuition, fees, room and board is due by the first day of classes and at the latest (with late fee) based on posted guidance and dates by WVU Student Accounts. You can pay online through your WVU portal. Tuition and fee information can be found here - https://revenueservices.wvu.edu/tuition-and-fees. More information about payment options can be found here: https://studentaccounts.wvu.edu/payment.
WVU partners with Flywire for international payments to provide you with an easy and cost-efficient way to make payment, including wire transfers. More information on using Flywire can be found at http://studentaccounts.wvu.edu/payment/flywire.
For more information about paying your tuition, along with deadlines> and other important information, please visit the WVU Student Accounts website here - https://studentaccounts.wvu.edu/billing.
For more information concerning course enrollment and paying for tuition, please visit our Registration and Tuition website.
Payroll Processing (if applicable)
If you are a graduate student or a student who has found on-campus employment, you will need to do payroll processing.
Please follow the steps located on our student employment website and read all of the information. Obtaining a social security card and processing for payroll involves multiple offices at WVU and the Social Security Administration (a U.S. government office). All steps must be followed in order and you will need to be aware that the process may take multiple days or up to two weeks to complete.
Please plan accordingly, notify your hiring department of any unavoidable delays you will experience, and be sure to have discretionary spending money for at least the first month before you can be processed for payroll. We do not advise arriving to the U.S. without finances to support yourself for at least the first month and please do not expect to receive a paycheck within the first two weeks.
WVU pays in arrears; please check the WVU payroll website for Pay Schedules and plan accordingly.
Review the requirements (federal regulations) for F-1 or J-1 students to maintain their status while in the US
ISSS has a partnership with you and you must do your part as well. You are responsible for maintaining your visa status and knowing the rules and regulations. Take an active role in maintaining your status and communicate with ISSS your questions and needs. Please be sure to review the requirements for maintaining status and be familiar with regulations by reading the info below. Maintaining your status and understanding regulations that govern your visa status is your responsibility:For F-1 students: https://isss.wvu.edu/students/f-1-students For J-1 Students: https://isss.wvu.edu/students/j-1-students