New Students

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."

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:

If you are not sure how or where to start, please visit the OIPS Welcome Desk on the fourth floor of SUB I between Monday, August 12 and Friday, August 23, 11 am - 4 pm (the OIPS Welcome Desk is closed on Saturdays and Sundays). Peggy and Navi, OIPS Welcome Desk Assistants, 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.

Attend Orientation

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

The OIPS Team offers a variety of programs to help new students with their transition to life in the US, ranging from orientation, interactive workshops to social & cultural events. All incoming international students are required to attend the on-campus orientation and complete the online module "Rules, Rules, Rules!". The Undergraduate Orientation will take place on Monday, August 19, 2019, and Tuesday, August 20, 2019, and the Graduate Orientation will take place on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. The online module "Rules, Rules, Rules" will launch on Friday, February 8 and the deadline is Friday, September 27, 2019.

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.