Pre-Arrival Guide for New International Students
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 New Student Orientation (NSO).
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 Penn State.
- 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 2021
* COVID-19 has limited the ability of U.S. Consulates to issue visas 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 be able to accommodate your visa appointment before the semester begins so you can join us on campus.
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 need to pursue a NIE notation (National Interest Exception) from the U.S. Consulate to enter the U.S. even if you have a valid visa, unless you have spent the previous fourteen (14) 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 email 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:
1. Incoming undergraduate students are not actually accepted into a specific major. They are first accepted into an academic college at Penn State. When the student approaches their junior year, they will work with their academic adviser to be placed into a specific major.
2. 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.
3. 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. This year, a scanned copy of your I-20 is acceptable to apply for a visa and to enter the United States.
- Documents from your sponsor if you are a government/corporate sponsored student
- Medical history (optional) and immunization records (required, see below)
Immunization Submission Information
Below is information for how students can share their immunization information with Penn State through myUHS. All students who receive the COVID-19 vaccine should upload their vaccine records.
Incoming students, please scroll down and follow the instructions for submitting ALL required immunization records.
COVID-19 Immunization Submission
Students who receive the COVID-19 immunization should submit their records to the University through myUHS. While the COVID-19 immunization is not required at this time, the University's return to in-person experiences and a sense of normalcy depends in part on our ability and willingness to be immunized.
- Login to myUHS using your Penn State credentials.
- Upload an image file (no .pdf) of the immunization(s) card you received from the healthcare provider that administered your immunization. The record must include the student’s full name and date of birth, the type of vaccine, and the date(s) of administration.
Wait to submit your immunization card until after receiving your final dose - two doses if you receive the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 immunization or one dose if you receive the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 immunization.
Sharing immunization information enables University Health Services to provide the best possible care to students when the need arises. We encourage students to upload COVID-19 immunization records to improve confidence in Penn State’s ability to provide a safe campus environment and to, potentially, exempt fully vaccinated students from certain health and safety protocols, such as quarantine. Learn more about what you can do once you are fully vaccinated.
Required Immunization Submission Process for Incoming Students
All incoming Penn State students must provide proof of immunization against measles, mumps, and rubella. In accordance with Pennsylvania state law, students living in on-campus housing must also provide proof of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menveo, Menactra, MCV4), which protects against infections caused by serogroups A, C, W and Y.
All immunization records MUST be in English.
To submit: log in to myUHS using your Penn State access credentials, and upload image files (no .pdf) of your official immunization record and, if applicable, any positive antibody titer blood test results. For an explanation of what an "official immunization record" is, please visit the CDC's website on records.
For the protection of your health information, we CANNOT accept the immunization records via email.
Your uploaded documents are used to determine your compliance with Penn State’s immunization requirement(s). Once we receive and review your uploaded documents, you will receive a message about your compliance status and if further action needs to be taken to meet the requirement(s).
Immunization requirements are applicable to all undergraduate and graduate students at University Park and Commonwealth Campuses. Immunization records only need to be submitted once. For questions or more information, visit University Health Services website.
If you do not meet Penn State’s immunization requirement(s), you will not be able to late add/drop for the current semester or register for future terms.
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:
- Healthcare can be very costly in the United States.
- The United States does not have a national healthcare 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 into equal payments and added to your fall and spring tuition bills.
Attending International Student Orientation (ISO) – On-Campus
Mandatory orientation for all international students in the U.S. takes place August 17-20, 2021.
- Activities will include obtaining a Penn State ID, document check-in, getting to know the campus and other new students. 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 and to apartments or hotels in the afternoon. Specific pick-up and drop-off locations will be announced prior to ISO.
- We will assist you in opening a bank account, buying phones and/or phone service and buying bus tickets.
- A detailed orientation schedule will be posted here later this summer.
- Optional orientation activities/services (see also Traveling to York)
- Transportation/pick up from Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI) or Harrisburg, PA International Airport (MDT) is available by completing this online request.
Finding housing and moving in
York campus does not have on-campus housing. It is important to lease an apartment before arriving in the United States.
Consult the Off-Campus Housing page for helpful information about housing. Consider choosing housing on the 10 S Rabbittransit 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Ask her to add you to the roommate 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 make student pick ups at Harrisburg International Airport (MDT) and Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI). Complete this online request form once you know your arrival information.
We will transport students from the airport to apartments and hotels near campus.
Please be sure that the property manager at your apartment complex will be available to let you into your apartment when you arrive. If you won’t have access to your apartment on arrival, you’ll want to be sure you have a reservation in a local hotel near campus.
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 calendar
View the Academic Calendars
Rabbittransit – Local Bus Service
Rabbit Transit is the name of York’s local bus service. During International New Student Orientation, you will be able to purchase bus tickets at a discounted price. These discounted passes may be purchased throughout the year in the Office of Student Affairs.
The Penn State York campus has a variety of recreational activities available for all students. The Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center houses two gymnasiums, a game room, and a fitness center. There are tennis courts, soccer fields, and lots of open green space in Memorial Park! There are also local recreational options including golf, skiing, bowling, ice skating, camping, and movie theaters.
Check out the York County Visitors Bureau for a listing of area attractions, festivals, shopping, food and more. York County has an important place in American history and manufacturing.
Penn State York Office of Student Affairs contact information
The staff in the Office of Student Affairs are here to help you have a good experience while studying at Penn State York. Please contact us with questions.
Address: 1031 Edgecomb Avenue, 206 Ruhl Student Community Center, York, PA 17403
Penn State York Police: 814-810-7880