** We realize that the fall 2020 semester will be different from our normal processes as some students may be able to come to the United States for on-campus courses and other students will be taking courses online. Please carefully read through this page for information that applies to your circumstances. ALL new students must attend the online orientation; those who come to campus will also have an additional on-campus orientation upon arrival. **
Accepting your offer, paying your deposit, and paying your tuition
Log in to MyPennState, the same place that you applied for admission to Penn State. Click on the link “Accept my offer.” At that point, you can pay your deposit. Your tuition will be due after you register for courses during International Student Orientation (ISO).
Help Us Help You
- Provide an email address that we can use as the primary way to communicate with you.
- Notify us if your email changes. High school email addresses are usually cancelled in June.
- Check your email often, including your new Penn State email address.
- Even if you have an agent, please read all email from Heidi Decker.
- Add psu.edu to your contacts so important emails will not go into a spam/junk box.
Sending proof of graduation and your final transcript
If your high school does not send proof of graduation to Penn State prior to your arrival, please bring your graduation certificate/diploma to orientation.
Requesting your I-20
Specific instructions for securing your I-20 – if you plan to come to the United States for fall 2020
** Because of COVID-19, the U.S. Consulates have discontinued visa issuance across the world. Without an F-1 student visa, you cannot enter the U.S. nor study in the U.S. We hope that the consulates will begin issuing visas before the Fall semester begins, but your plans may be greatly disrupted because of the visa situation. If you have a valid F-1 visa, you may use it to enter the country. If you have a visitor/tourist visa, do not come to the U.S. using this visa. You are not permitted to study on a tourist visa. If you are traveling from a country which is currently under a travel ban from the U.S. government, you will not be permitted to enter the U.S. even if you have a valid visa, unless you have spent the previous fourteen days in a permitted third-country. **
Begin this process as soon as you have accepted your offer of admission. This process can take up to five weeks, so please be patient as we work through all of the files. Also, be sure to check your junk mail folder, as messages from Penn State sometimes are directed there.
Checking your I-20
When you receive your I-20, look at it carefully to be sure all information is correct. Please note that for one of the following reasons, the major listed might not be what you intend to study:
- Incoming undergraduate students are not actually accepted into a specific major. They are first accepted into a college. When the student approaches their junior year, they will work with their academic adviser to be placed into a specific major.
- Majors on a SEVIS I-20 must be selected from programs of study as listed in the federal government’s Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP), each of which has a numeric code. These are incorporated into a “drop-down” menu of majors, which are our only options from which to select.
- Penn State programs of study are carefully evaluated for content, duration, and so on, and coded to match as closely as possible to the majors in the CIP. So, majors shown on I-20s sometimes reflect a difference in name between what the University calls a program and what the CIP codebook calls it.
Documentation required for travel to the United States
The following documents should be obtained prior to traveling to the United States. Additional documents may be requested but these are essential.
- Passport and passports of any accompanying family members; must be valid for six months into the future.
- I-20 or DS-2019. Sign it on the front before you travel.
- Documents from your sponsor if you are a government/corporate sponsored student
- Medical history (optional) and immunization records (required)
Submitting immunization records
All incoming undergraduate and graduate students must submit proof of immunizations prior to their arrival on campus. Using the two-step process outlined below, submit your information to myUHS prior to arriving on campus.
- Step 1: Collect proof of your immunization records from your health care provider.
The immunization document must be in English and must contain the required immunization information along with the provider’s signature, title, date, address AND ORGANIZATIONAL STAMP. Immunizations listed under the recommended section are not required; however, if you have had any of the immunizations, provide the dates on the form as requested.
- Step 2: Log in to myUHS using your Penn State access credentials, and upload images of your immunization record.
Please keep all original documents for your records. All information must be uploaded in English.
For the protection of your health information, please DO NOT email immunization documents.
Purchasing health insurance
Mandatory Health Insurance Requirements – ONLY for students physically in the U.S.
Health insurance is mandatory at Penn State for international students and their accompanying dependents (spouse and/or children). Penn State requires health insurance for several reasons:
- Health care can be very costly in the United States.
- The United States does not have a national health care plan.
- Health services may be restricted if you do not have health insurance.
Fulfilling the Health Insurance Requirement
You must purchase the Penn State Student Health Insurance Plan. For more information, please visit the following websites: Penn State Student Health Insurance and First Student Health. You can contact the office at UHS-Insurance@psu.edu if you have any questions.
We will explain the American medical system and the Penn State health insurance requirement during orientation. The payment for insurance will be divided and added to you fall and spring tuition bill.
Attending International Student Orientation (ISO) – On-Campus
Mandatory orientation for all international students in the U.S. takes place August 17–21, 2020.
- Activities will include obtaining a Penn State ID, document check-in, campus tour, academic adviser meeting, and course registration. Discussions will include many topics such as transition to life in the United States and studying in an American university.
- We will provide transportation to orientation each morning and to apartments or hotels in the afternoon. Specific pick-up and drop-off locations will be announced prior to ISO.
- You will receive instructions by email for completing the online math placement test (ALEKS). After completing the placement test, you will be able to log in to make your reservation. RESERVATIONS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE UNTIL APRIL.
- We will assist you in opening a bank account, buying phones and/or phone service and buying bus tickets.
- You will receive a detailed orientation schedule on the first day.
Optional orientation activities/services (see also Traveling to York)
- Transportation from Harrisburg International Airport (MDT) to York will be provided on Thursday, August 13 and Friday, August 14 several times each day, as close to your arrival time as possible.
- Transportation from Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) to York will be provided on Thursday, August 13.
- Transportation to local stores for shopping and assistance taking your new items to your apartment will be available on Saturday, August 15. A schedule will be emailed. We have many volunteers who help so the shopping day is fun and useful.
Finding housing and moving in
York campus does not have on-campus housing. It is important to lease an apartment before coming to the United States.
Consult the Off-Campus Housing page for more information about housing. Consider choosing housing on the 10 S bus route because this bus stops on campus. This will make your housing choice safer and more convenient.
If you need assistance finding a roommate, send an email to Cynthia Jones, in Student Affairs (email@example.com). Ask her to add you to the list and give her permission to send your information to other students who are requesting a roommate. Provide the following information:
- Full name (first name, last name)
- Email address
- Phone number (if you have on already)
- The name of the apartment complex you would like to live in (if you know it)
- Do you prefer to stay up late or get up early?
- Do you need quiet time to study or would you like an environment with noise?
- Do you generally keep your room clean or messy?
- Do you smoke or are you a non-smoker?
Traveling to campus from the airport
We will provide transportation on Thursday, August 13, 2020, and Friday, August 14, 2020, from Harrisburg International Airport (MDT). On Thursday, August 13 we will provide transportation from Baltimore Washington International (BWI).
If you will arrive on one of these two days and you would like transportation to York, please send an email to Heidi Decker at firstname.lastname@example.org with your flight information. Harrisburg pick up times will be announced after your flight information is received. We can transport students from the airport to apartments and hotels near campus.
If you plan to ride with us, please make sure that the property manager will be available to let you into your apartment when we arrive.
If you arrive on a different day or at another airport, you must make your own arrangements to travel from the airport to York. You can find transportation options online.
If the leasing office of your apartment will close before we arrive, you must make arrangements to stay in a hotel.
If you do not lease an apartment before you arrive, you must make arrangements to stay in a hotel.
Additional Helpful Information
Penn State York Academic Calendars
York Bus Service
Rabbit Transit is the name of the local bus service. During International New Student Orientation, you will be able to purchase bus tickets at a discounted price.
Rabbit Transit (York bus service)
The Penn State York campus has a variety of recreational activities available for all students. The Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center houses a gymnasium, a game room, and a fitness center. There are tennis courts, soccer fields, and lots of open green space! There are also local recreational options including golf, skiing, bowling, ice skating, camping, and movie theaters.
Penn State York Office of Student Affairs contact information
Everyone in the Office of Student Affairs is here to help you have a good experience while studying at Penn State York. Please contact us with questions.
Address: 1031 Edgecomb Avenue
York, PA 17403
Penn State York campus map
Global Penn State
More information for international students at Penn State can be found at global.psu.edu.