Visa and Passport Requirements

Student visas

Most International Guest Students come on an F-1 (student) or J-1 (exchange student) visa. Penn issues the Form I-20 (for the F-1 visa) or the Form DS2019 (for the J-1 visa) to eligible students.

When you are admitted as an International Guest Student, we will send you information about how to request your Form I-20 or DS2019 from Penn.

The visa is a stamped (or pasted-in) endorsement made in the passport by a US consulate or embassy official outside the US. It indicates that all requirements have been met for entry into the US. The number of entries allowed within a specified period is indicated on the visa stamp and can vary from country to country. A valid visa is essential for entering and reentering the US. However, the visa does not determine the length of time you may remain in the US. Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a visa to enter the US.

For more information on typical visa types for students, visit Penn’s Visa Information page.


Immigration regulations state that you are responsible for keeping your passport valid at all times during your stay here. Your passport can be revalidated or renewed through your embassy or consulate.

Penn International Student and Scholar Services

Penn’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) provides core services to international students, visiting scholars, faculty and academic departments at the University of Pennsylvania. The ISSS staff provides advice, information and referrals on matters such as immigration, employment and overseas travel. They can also assist with problems related to social and personal adjustments to a new culture, as well as practical matters related to living in Philadelphia.