Congratulations on your admission to Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences!

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.

STEP 1: Determining your current U.S. immigration status

Step 1: Determining your current U.S. immigration status

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

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.

Supporting Documents for I-20 Request

Gather the following required documents in PDF format:

  • Passport biographical (photo) page
  • EAD card if under OPT or STEM OPT (if applicable)
  • If you are currently in the U.S. with an F-1 visa, you must include the following documents:
    • WCM F-1 Student SEVIS Transfer form
    • F-1 visa
    • Most recent I-94 Travel Record
    • Form I-20 issued by current school
  • Evidence of financial support (only applicable to Master’s degree students)
  • If you are coming with a spouse/children, include copy of passport biographical page of each dependent

STEP 2: Applying for a U.S. Visa

Step 2: Applying for a U.S. Visa

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:

  1. Request I-20 from Weill Cornell Medicine
  2. Pay I-901 SEVIS Fee. Watch this video tutorial to learn more about how to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee.
  3. Complete Online Visa Application (DS-160)
  4. A passport photo - You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
  5. Locate an U.S. Embassy or Consulate to Schedule Your Visa Appointment
  6. Attend your visa interview

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:

  • Passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of first travel to U.S.
  • DS-160 confirmation page with your application ID number (Canadians excepted)
  • I-20 (F-1) form
  • Your admissions letter from Weill Cornell Medicine
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Proof of financial support. (Bring copies of documents mentioned on your I-20 funding letter or bank statements for personal funds.)
  • Any additional documentation requested by your U.S. consulate or embassy

STEP 3: Arriving in the United States

Step 3: Arriving in the United States

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.

  • Valid passport
  • F-1 entry visa (except Canadian citizens)
  • I-20 issued by Weill Cornell Graduate School
  • Financial support document (if applicable)
  • Proof of SEVIS I-901 fee payment

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.

Weill Cornell I-20 Request and Arrival Flowchart

The Arrival Process

General Resources

The list of websites below provide useful resources and instructions on how to obtain a U.S. visa and enter the U.S. legally:

Program Information

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    Clive Liew

    Student Services Administrator

    Weill Cornell Medicine Graduate School of Medical Sciences 1300 York Ave. Box 65 New York, NY 10065 Phone: (212) 746-6565 Fax: (212) 746-5981

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