The I-20 is issued to nonimmigrant students who have been admitted for enrollment at an SEVP-certified educational institution in the United States. The PDSO and DSOs in the Graduate School Office process the I-20 document for international students who are admitted to Weill Cornell Medicine. All international students will need an I-20 for a visa application, to enter the U.S., and as evidence of your F-1 status while in the U.S.
Once you are admitted to one of our graduate programs, we will send you an "I-20 Request" email to complete an online I-20 request form and submit all of the necessary supporting documents. We will then be able to determine the immigration process involved for you to enroll at Weill Cornell.
If you have no active I-20 and are outside the United States, Weill Cornell Medicine will issue you the I-20. If you already have a valid U.S. F visa, you may take both our I-20 and that visa to request pernission to enter the United States at either an aiport or land border. If you do not have a valid U.S. F visa, you must utilie your I-20 to schedule an apppointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate via the instructions on https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/student-visa.html.
If you have no active I-20 and are inside the United States, you may be required to depart to obtain F visa status. Holders of certain J visas cannot apply for F visa status while inside the United States. Holders of other status, such as H, may be eliglble to apply from inside the United States via the I-539 Change of Status. It is highly recommended that one applies for the F visa outside the United States; it will be substantially faster.
If you hold an active I-20, please contact your curent school to request the I-20 be transferred in SEVIS to Weill Cornell Medicine. We advise you to speak with the international student advisor at your current institution to review your F1 transfer eligibility and confirm timing based on your current status.
All new and transfer students must provide the following supporting documents in order for WCGS to issue your I-20. Your I-20 may be issued to you in advance of 365 days. Upon receiving all the required documentation, WCGS will take between 1-2 business days to process your request, and, if applicable issue you the I-20. It will be emailed to you. Please note that incomplete documentation will delay processing.
Gather the following required documents in PDF format:
If you do not have a valid F-1 student visa, you may apply for one once you received your WCM I-20. It is recommended that one applies for the visa outside the United States, as the procecssing times are quicker. Below are important information on scheduling a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Here is the general outline for obtaining an F1 visa:
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary by U.S. embassy or consulate. Please consult the instructions on the embassy or consulate website.
Be prepared to be interviewed in English. Answer all questions honestly and briefly. NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, offers some useful advice for student visa interviews.
Have these documents ready for the visa interview:
Students are permitted to enter the United States up to 30 days prior to the “program start date” indicates on your I-20. If you are transferring from another SEVP-certified school in the U.S., you are not subject to the 30-day rule. Upon arrival in the U.S., you must have the following documents to show the inspection officer. The officer will review your documents at a U.S. Port of Entry.
Make sure you check the “stamp of entry” on your passport is correct for your status, which should be “F1/DS.” Student should print and save a copy of the I-94 Travel Record after each entry to the United Sates.
All new and transfer students are required to attend a mandatory check-in session during Orientation, where you will review the requirements for maintaining F-1 status. Approximately two weeks prior to your program start date, you will receive an email with instructions regarding the online check-in process.
The list of websites below provide useful resources and instructions on how to obtain a U.S. visa and enter the U.S. legally: