Newly Admitted F-1 Students

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Pre-Arrival Information

In accordance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security SEVP Student Process, newly admitted students who are not citizens or residents of the U.S. seeking F-1 (Student) Visa status must request for a UCLA Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant F-1 Student Status) and apply for an F-1 Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before traveling to the U.S. to begin their degree program.

Please follow the steps below to prepare for your entry to the U.S. in F-1 Visa status:

Step 1: Request for an Initial or SEVIS Transfer UCLA I-20

To request for a UCLA I-20, you must first submit the Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) to confirm acceptance of your admission to UCLA. Once you have submitted your SIR, you will be emailed with instructions on how to request for a UCLA I-20 online.

Step 2: Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee

After you receive your UCLA I-20, please remember to pay the mandatory, one-time SEVIS I-901 Fee online here. Print a copy of your SEVIS fee payment receipt and have it with you when applying for your F-1 Visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate and when entering the U.S.

Step 3: Pay the DS-160 Fee, Schedule Visa Appointment, and Wait for Visa Issuance

Pay the DS-160, online visa application fee. Completion of the DS-160 is required prior to being able to schedule your visa appointment. Print a copy of the DS-160 barcode page and have it with you when applying for your F-1 Visa at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate. Only schedule a visa appointment after you receive your UCLA I-20. The SEVIS ID Number on your UCLA I-20 is required to schedule a visa appointment.

Take your UCLA I-20, letter of admission, valid passport, I-901 SEVIS fee receipt, DS-160 fee receipt, passport style photos, and financial documents to your visa interview appointment. Visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for country-specific instructions and/or additional information that may be required to be presented at your visa interview appointment. After you attend your visa interview, wait for the issuance of your F-1 Visa (wait times may vary). For more information regarding visa application requirements or to check the current visa wait time, please visit

Please Note: Canadian citizens are exempt from Step 3, but must present their valid passport, UCLA I-20, SEVIS fee payment receipt at the port of entry to the U.S., and will hold F-1 status in the U.S. during their degree program at UCLA.

Step 4: Arrival to the U.S.: 30-Day Restriction

You must enter the U.S. no later than the start date indicated on your UCLA I-20. The date in the Earliest Admission Date (30 days prior to your start date) in the Program of Study section on your I-20 is the earliest date you may enter the U.S. in F-1 status. Keep this in mind when planning your travel and housing arrangements

Transportation from LAX to UCLA: Westwood FlyAway offers hourly direct non-stop bus service between LAX and Westwood. The service is a collaboration between the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) and UCLA Transportation and

Please Note: Students who have been issued a SEVIS Transfer I-20 are not subject to the 30-day arrival limitation and may re-enter the U.S. at any time using your UCLA I-20 and a valid F-1 visa (even if the visa was issued from your previous school).


iSTART is an orientation program designed to assist international students with their visa reporting requirements and transition to life at UCLA. iSTART includes: online learning, on-site engagement and visa check-in, and off-site excursions and exchange.

All newly admitted UCLA F-1 students are required to complete the mandatory F-1 Visa Workshop and mandatory F-1 Visa Check-In to validate their F-1 status in the U.S. This workshop will cover important information on how to maintain your F-1 status at UCLA, apply for F-1 benefits, and request for services provided at DCISS. This workshop is only offered online through the iSTART Pre-Arrival Orientation.

Please Note: If you do not complete the mandatory components of iSTART, a HOLD will become effective on your student record which will affect your course enrollment, eligibility to receive services from DCISS and University resources.

Failure to timely complete your check-in requirement will also result in severe consequences for your visa status within the U.S.

Pre-Arrival Instructions for Initial Students
(Grad & Undergrad)
Pre-Arrival Instructions
for SEVIS Transfer Students
(Grad & Undergrad)
Pre-Arrival Instructions
for Canadian Citizens
Pre-Arrival Instructions
for College Summer Institute
(CSI) Students
Pre-Arrival Instructions for Anderson MBA Students
Pre-Arrival Instructions for Law School Students
Pre-Arrival Instructions for AUD M.Arch.II Students