These are questions new international students ask OIS on a regular basis.  Because new questions arise each year, we will add new questions and answers as needed.  If you do not find the answer to your question here or anywhere else on the OIS website, please feel free to contact OIS at OISnew@pitt.edu.

When will I receive my I-20 or DS-2019?

OIS starts to process new documents in March. Once we begin to make documents for new students, graduate students should expect to receive their documents within 4 to 6 weeks of your acceptance to the University of Pittsburgh. Undergraduate students should expect to receive their documents 4-6 weeks after they submit their enrollment deposit and financial documentation.

If you have not received your document in 6 weeks of your acceptance, please contact OIS at OISnew@pitt.edu to find out if we are missing information necessary to completing your travel document.

Why is my major on my I-20 different than my actual major?

There are two reasons that your major might be different on your I-20 than your actual major.  I-20’s may not exactly match the major for which you’re applying because they go by names provided by the government.  If your I-20 says something that’s not exactly your major, it is possible that it is the closest possible match in the system.  If you would like to double check you may contact the Office of International Services at OISnew@pitt.edu.

All undergraduates enter the University as “Undeclared”.  When you arrive and start your classes, you can choose a major, probably the one on your admission letter.  This will make no difference in your applying for a student visa.

Is International Student Orientation mandatory?

Yes. All new international students and international students completing a SEVIS transfer are required to attend/complete:

  1. Immigration Essentials Session, which is designed to inform you of critical information about your visa status as well as providing you with practical tips to be successful in Pittsburgh and at Pitt.
  2. In-Person Appointment. Students attend this short five-to-ten minute appointment at which an OIS Staff Member will review the student’s immigration documents and provide a travel signature.

Failure to complete these steps prior to the start of your academic program may result in the loss of your legal status in the United States.

Do I need to take the English Language Proficiency Test?

The test is required for all undergraduate students unless you have an exception listed on this OAFA website.

Graduate students with TOEFL scores under 100 also must take this test. All other graduate students will be notified by their departments if they need to take this test.

Exceptions: Any exceptions to the policy must be approved by the Provost or Provost’s delegate after review of the entire record and consultation with the Office of International Services.

When can I move into the residence halls?

Please contact Panther Central for more information about the residence halls. If you arrive before the halls open, you may want to make hotel reservations.  You can find local hotels under Travel Arrangements at the right of this page.

What Immunizations are required?

Graduate Students: The University requires all international students to maintain health insurance. There is no requirement for immunizations or presenting medical histories; however, it is strongly recommended that new students visit the Student Health Services upon arrival in order to present a record of immunizations and medical history so that this information is available in the event of an emergency. These forms can be downloaded from the Student Health Services website.

For students on graduate appointments (e.g., graduate assistant, teaching assistant, or research assistant), the appointment will typically include medical insurance coverage. For additional information, please see OIS’ health insurance page.

Undergraduate Students: The University requires all international students to maintain health insurance. The only requirement for proof of immunizations is for incoming Freshmen; there is no requirement for transfer or exchange students. However, it is strongly recommended that new students visit the Student Health Services upon arrival in order to present a record of immunizations and medical history so that this information is available in the event of an emergency. These forms can be downloaded from the Student Health Services website.

For additional information, please see OIS’ health insurance page.

What is the OIS Missing Data Hold?

You will have an “OIS Missing Data Hold” on your academic account, which will prevent you from registering for classes, until your immigration document (i.e. Form I-20 or Form DS-2019) is prepared.

What is SEVIS Registration?

SEVIS Registration means that OIS will notify the US Department of Homeland Security that you have arrived in Pittsburgh and you have completed the required steps in order to be compliant with your F-1 status.