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Fall 2021 International Student Orientation

Congratulations on your admission to Vanderbilt University! All incoming students who will be studying on an F-1 or J-1 student visa are required to complete a SEVIS check-in with ISSS and attend the orientation for your program.

SEVIS Check-In

Upon arrival to Vanderbilt, all incoming international students (including students returning from a leave of absence) must complete a mandatory SEVIS check-in with ISSS. This process collects copies of your F-1 or J-1 status documents and the information ISSS needs to report your arrival in SEVIS. Check-in is mandatory. You must also check-in before you will be able to apply for a driver’s license or social security number, and before you can complete the I-9 process (required for on-campus employment).

Due to the volume of students who need to complete a check in with us this fall, we need to make a slight adjustment to our process to make sure that we can promptly report everyone’s arrival. Instead of meeting individually with an ISSS advisor via zoom, you will need to complete your New Student/Scholar Document Upload form in the ISSS portal.

The following help sheets will help you get this completed:

Once you have completed updating your information and uploading your documentsplease be sure to click submit. An ISSS advisor will review your information and report your arrival in your SEVIS record.

  • If you are an F-1 student, the check in process will produce a new I-20 for you which we will upload to the Attached Documents area of your application in the ISSS portal.
  • If you are a J-1 student, the check in process will not create a new DS-2019 for you.
  • If you are a continuing student returning from a Leave of Absence, you will still need to complete this process so that we can activate your new SEVIS record.

If we need to follow up with you about any of your information, we will reach out to you to schedule a virtual meeting time via Zoom.

If you have already entered the U.S., please go ahead and submit this application in the ISSS portal today.

If you have not yet entered the U.S., please make sure you submit your application promptly after you have entered the country and retrieved your I-94.

If you have already booked a time for SEVIS Check in Session via Zoom, you will no longer need to attend your reserved session. We will cancel this booking for you.

Orientation Sessions for Incoming International Students

All incoming international students who are attending Vanderbilt for the first time must attend orientation.

  • Undergraduate students will need to attend the mandatory International Student Orientation offered through The Commons. If you have questions about this orientation, please contact
  • Graduate and professional students will have an orientation directly with their academic program. For more information, please contact your program directly.
  • We will also be offering some optional sessions on a variety of topics helpful for new students. These sessions will be hosted throughout September and into early October. To see the schedule and to register, please see our page on Continuing Orientation Sessions.

Understanding Your F-1 or J-1 Status

Incoming students on an F-1 or J-1 visa are also required to attend ISSS sessions on maintenance of status and employment. These sessions will go over important information about your visa, status maintenance, and employment options.

This semester, we will be offering information sessions for new/incoming F-1 and J-1 students via an online orientation module in the ISSS portalThe orientation module will go live on August 30 and you will have 30 days to complete it. The module will take you through the basic information that you need to know as a Vanderbilt F-1 or J-1 student to maintain your legal status and access employment benefits that your status offers, as well as introduce you to ISSS staff, services, processes and applications. You will receive a reminder email once the module is live in the ISSS portal.

All incoming students must complete the orientation module.

Question & Answer Sessions for New Students

Have questions about the topics covered in the orientation module? Want to understand more about F-1 and J-1 status basics? ISSS is offering weekly Q & A sessions for new students to give you a space to ask your questions!

When? Fridays throughout the month of September, from 11:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Where? Sessions will be held virtually over Zoom. Registration is required. To see the schedule and register, please visit this page.

Important: Please submit your questions in advance via email to Use the subject line: New Student Q&A.