Before You Arrive

In this section prospective international students will find information about requesting or refusing an I-20 or DS-2019, insurance and financial requirements, and other essential pre-arrival information.

Our goal is to assist and advise incoming international students on U.S. immigration related issues and regulations.  We also help direct students to finding answers to many questions about the transition to Penn State as a newly admitted student.

For Frequently Asked Questions, visit the Pre-Arrival FAQs page.

Attending Penn State in Another Visa Status

A Pennsylvania State University student who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident is classified as an international student. Not all international students are in F-1 or J-1 visa status, and the information below may provide some general guidelines on which visa statuses allow study.

You may not need an I-20 or DS-2019 from Penn State if you are in the U.S. on an unexpired visa (other than an F-1 or J-1) which allows full-time degree study. Important note: You must remain eligible for the other visa status by following the regulations of that status.

If you have any questions, please contact or Immigration rules change frequently and it is important to confirm current rules regarding status and study.

No Study Permitted

B-1, B-2, WB, WT- Individuals in one of these statuses should not begin studies until a change of status to “student” is approved. In restricted circumstances, the individual may study part-time in avocational and recreational subjects.

Incidental Study Permitted

Principal holders of A-1, A-2, E-1, E-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, I, L-1 and those in H-1B, H-1C, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, J-1 (Professor), J-1 (Researcher), J-1 (Short-Term Scholar), J-1 (Specialist), J-1 (Trainee), J-1 (Physician), J-1 Au Pair, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-2, P-3, R-1, TN

Individuals in one of these statuses may engage in incidental study while continuing to maintain valid status. You must continue to do what the current immigration status requires.

Full-Time or Part-Time Study Permitted

Those in A3, H-4, J-2, L-2, M-2, NATO-1-7, O-3, P-4, R-2, TD and Dependents of A-1, A-2, E-1, D-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, I, L-1 Q-1, Q-2, and Q-3. Individuals in one of these statuses may engage in part-time or full-time study as long as the individual continues to maintain valid status.You must continue to do what the current immigration status requires.

Part-Time Study Towards Degree

Individuals in F-2 status can only study part-time towards a degree, (less than 9 credits for undergraduate & law students and less than 6 credits for a graduate student).