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."
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
Prepare for your study at Mason
Review your customized checklist to ensure that you have done everything you need before you begin your studies:
Once you have arrived in the US, you will need to complete several tasks before your classes begin. For example:
- Get a new ID card
- Submit your immunization record
- Meet with your academic advisor
- Locate your classrooms (If you are taking classes in person, we highly encourage you to do this BEFORE your first class. Students often underestimate distances and arrive late for their first class)
- Submit transcripts (Graduate Admissions Office, Johnson Center, room 245)
- Take public transportation
- Find housing
- Apply for a driver's license
If you are not sure how or where to start, please email email@example.com, 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you include your name and G number.
Complete Your Virtual Orientation
Explore the various orientation programs to help you with your transition to Mason:
COVID-19 International Orientation Update: With the health and safety of the university community being our main priority, OIPS has made the decision to move our international student orientation online for Spring 2022. Though a virtual format, students must still register for Orientation. On Monday, January 3, 2022, we will be releasing pre-recorded virtual content for all new international students to review at their own pace (Freshman and Transfer students will receive access to the orientation starting Monday, November 1, 2021). All content should be viewed and the final assessment should be completed no later than Sunday, January 23, 2022. Information about the virtual orientation process will be sent to students who register for orientation via their Masonlive email. Virtual orientation is mandatory for ALL new students (Undergraduate, Masters, and Doctoral) except for Antonio Scalia Law School students. If you are an incoming Antonio Scalia Law School student, please contact Aleksandra Melnikova (email@example.com) to schedule an appointment.
Welcome to Mason and we are very excited for you to be joining our dynamic international student community!
More information about Mason’s response to COVID-19 is available at http://gmu.edu/coronavirus
Meet your Support Team
Meet the people who will help you be successful at Mason:
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.