New Students

New Students

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."

On June 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implement an increase in the following fees:

The I-901 SEVIS Fee for F international students will increase from $200 to $350

The I-901 SEVIS Fee for J exchange visitors will increase from $180 to $220

*Students from Canada and Bermuda do not need to apply for a visa but do need to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee

Once you have arrived in the US, you will need to complete several tasks before your classes begin. For example:

If you are not sure how or where to start, please email, we will help you to find the right resources and answer any questions you may have.


All incoming F-1 and J-1 students are required to complete the online international student check-in upon arrival in the US. This is the key step to let Mason know you have arrived. Not doing so could cause problems with a variety of administrative requirements. Click here to learn more about the online international student check-in.

The Office of International Programs and Services does not offer airport transportation to campus. Many students travel by Super Shuttle, taxi or Uber.

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.

All new International Students in F-1 and J-1 status planning to attend George Mason University for the Spring 2024 semester are required to attend the on-campus orientation occurring from January 9, 2024 - January 11, 2024. Some of the orientation presentations include Immigration Compliance, International Health Insurance, the Honor Code, and Campus Resources.

International Student Orientation is mandatory for ALL new students (Undergraduate, Master's, and Doctoral)
except for Antonio Scalia Law School students.

For more information about orientation click here

Welcome to Mason and we are very excited for you to be joining our dynamic international student community!

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.