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International Students

Admitted F-1/J-1 Students

Contact Us  

International Students

Center for International Programs
West Chester University
320 Mitchell Hall
675 S. Church Street
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-3515
Fax: 610-436-3426

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 4:30pm

International Student Advising:
Make an appointment.
Limited availability for walk-ins.


How do I request my initial I-20/DS-2019?

In order to obtain a student visa, present the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019 Form) to a United States embassy or consulate. The U.S. Department of State offers more information about obtaining a student visa.

What should I do to get a F-1/J1 visa?

In order to obtain a student visa, present the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019 Form) to a United States embassy or consulate. The U.S. Department of State offers more information about obtaining a student visa.

What if I am transferring in from another U.S. school?

If you are currently on an F-1 Visa at another U.S. school or institution, it is important that you complete a SEVIS record transfer-in form and make sure you let you old school's international office know that you will need your SEVIS record transferred to WCU. Follow the directions on completing a SEVIS transfer by downloading Transfer-In form.

When will my I-20/DS-2019 arrive?

The I-20/DS-2019 are mailed first class foreign air mail which takes approximately 10 – 14 business days for delivery. Click here if you would like your document shipped express mail.

What if there is an error on the I-20/DS-2019 I received?

If there is a mistake on your document, notify the CIP immediately. You can e-mail or call 610-436-3515. If the error is something that will cause problems at your Visa appointment or entry, the office will issue you a corrected I-20 or DS-2019, otherwise they may advise you to keep the document and have it corrected at our office upon your arrival.

I have a visa interview with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate but I don’t have my I-20/DS-2019 yet. What should I do? Will I still get the visa?

You should reschedule your interview with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You must have your I-20 or DS-2019 with you for your visa interview.

Once I get my Visa, when can I travel to WCU?

You can travel into the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date on your I-20/DS-2019. Because there are many things you may have to arrange upon arrival, such as: housing, advising, registration for classes, should come in at least one week before your classes begin. Additionally, you must attend the International Office's orientation which will be held sometime before the first week of classes and you should arrive at least in time for that.

Immigration regulations prohibit students from entering the U.S. earlier than 30 days prior to the start date on the I-20/DS-2019. You should change your ticket to a later date.

Do I have to attend Orientation?

International Orientation is mandatory for all F-1/J-1 students as required by the Department of Homeland Security. This orientation is held by the International Office approximately 1 week prior to the start of the semester. The purpose of the orientation is to provide new international students with information on:

  • maintaining their non-immigrant status
  • medical insurance
  • employment
  • other issues related to international students

Do I need health insurance?

Yes, all international students are required to have health insurance.

I need a Social Security Number (SSN) to apply for an apartment/cell phone/utilities, how can I get one?

A Social Security Number is issued only when you have a job offer. You should not really need a SSN to rent an apartment, although some apartment complexes say that you must. Many apartment complexes have worked with International Students before and will allow you to complete your application using other immigration documents that suffice to prove your identity instead of a SSN.

If you are looking for a cell phone, you must find a company that does not require a SSN. Usually pay as you go, or services that allow you to pay monthly (such as Cricket, Simple Mobile, and Boost) do not require a SSN, but signing up for a service contract which lasts years (Spring, AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon) may require a SSN.

Where can I get a phone or phone service?

Our office cannot recommend the best phone service for International Students, but we can let you know that many International Students prefer using their own (GSM unlocked) phone from home, or buying an affordable phone with an Unlimited Plan from a provider who they pay monthly and can discontinue service with at any time.


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