New Students

Gather your Immigration Documents

Request an I-20 or DS-2019 to apply for a student visa and to enter the United States:

You may arrive in the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the program start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019.  We strongly advise you to  hand-carry your important documents when you travel to U.S. including your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, financial documents, Mason admission letter, SEVIS fee receipt and International Student Check-In Sheet.  You can find the International Student Check-In Sheet (form and instructions) in the section "Prepare for your Study at Mason."

Prepare for your study at Mason

Review your customized checklist to ensure that you have done everything you need before you begin your studies:


All incoming F-1 and J-1 students are required to check in with the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) upon arrival. This is the key step to let Mason know you have arrived.  Not doing so could cause problems with a variety of administrative requirements.  

Fall 2016 International Student Check-In will take place from Monday, August 8 until Friday, August 26 in SUB I, room 4300.  Please complete the check-in form to inform OIPS about your preferred check-in time.  

Mason Vocabulary

As you review your checklist, you will come across key words such as Patriot Pass, Patriot Web, MasonLive, Mason Mobile and Blackboard. Don't worry if you get confused about what is what.  It took us a while to figure it out too.  To help you, OIPS created an interactive visual to explain the role of each tool and how they are connected.  Click here to get started.

Questions?  Contact the IT Support Center at  Make sure you include your name and G number.

Attend Orientation

Explore the various orientation programs to help you with your transition to Mason:

All incoming international students are required to attend the on-campus orientation and complete the online Module "Rules, Rules, Rules!".  The Info Sessions and the PACE workshop series are optional.  The Undergraduate Orientation will take place on Tuesday, 23 August and the Graduate Orientation will take place on Thursday, 25 August. 

Meet your Support Team

Meet the people who will help you be successful at Mason:

Academic Advisor

An Academic Advisor provides the following services:

  • approves the student's academic program of study
  • clarifies academic program requirements, policies and procedures
  • assists the student in identifying appropriate institutional resources

International Student Advisor

An International Student Advisor provides the following services:

  • clarifies immigration regulations, policies and procedures
  • endorses and processes immigration forms
  • recommends and approves immigration benefits

TIP: An International Student Advisor is often referred to as an OIPS advisor at George Mason University.  The two terms are interchangeable.