International Student Orientation

International Student Orientation

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For all new undergraduate freshmen, transfer, and new graduate international students.

Congratulations on being accepted to Penn State! Please follow these step by step instructions to make your start at Penn State Harrisburg the best possible experience.

Step 1: International Student Orientation – Fall 2017

All first year (freshman) undergraduate, graduate, and transfer international students must attend.

Date: Sunday, August 13, 2017
Check-in: 11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Location: Morrison Gallery (Library Bldg., Room 101)

Step 2: New Student Orientation (NSO) Information

ALL new and transfer international students must attend the New Student Orientation. Students will meet with staff and faculty member to assist you with course scheduling. All students must complete the reservation process to attend the fall 2017 NSO program: Follow the links below. 

Note: First year, and transfer students will meet with staff and faculty member to assist you with course scheduling during orientation. To complete process for the fall 2017 NSO program follow the links below. 

International Graduate Students Orientation Schedule: 

Thursday, August 17, 2017. 

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. - PNC Bank information (EAB building hallway)
10:00 – 10:30 a.m. – Check- In and Registration –
Location:  Educational Activities Building (EAB) hallway

Graduate Program Activities (Sponsored by Penn State Harrisburg Graduate Program)
3:00-4:00 p.m. Campus Tour
4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Light dinner meet other new graduate students
Location: Capital Union Building (CUB). 

Graduate Students: Register for the New International Graduate Students Orientation.  Once on site, select Penn State Harrisburg-Fall 2017 New International Graduate Student (select register).

Register Here

Graduate Students: Please contact a representative in your academic program/department for further guidance regarding your campus arrival, including comprehensive information regarding graduate students Orientation. 

Check your Penn State University email daily as soon as you activate your access account during NSO

Step 3: Travel to the United States

Travel Plans

Schedule visa application appointment from a consulate office in your country.

To obtain your visa follow the pre-arrival visa application steps

F-1 Visas (student visa) see link:
U.S. Department of State

University Financial Requirements:  Estimated Expenses for International Students

Request an I-20 or DS-2019.

  • Pay the SEVIS fee and apply for your student visa.
  • Keep your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, money and other valuables with you at all times. You must be able to access your documents at the port of entry
  • Familiarize yourself with the US arrival process
  • Have a local U.S. phone number with you for a friend, family member, or Penn State Harrisburg campus that you can call in case of emergency
  • You must have all your immigration documents (and Penn State information) with you to go through the U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection at port of entry
  • If your airline loses your luggage, complete a lost luggage report (see customer service from the airline you travelled with) at your final destination. Provide your local apartment (U.S. address) or Penn State Harrisburg, Office of Student Life, 777 W. Harrisburg Pike, SEC Building, Middletown, PA 17057 where your luggage will be delivered.
  • Pick-up services from Harrisburg International Airport (MDT) and local bus stations are available.
  • Settle into your temporary or permanent housing, based on what you arranged. (See Step 6).

Step 4: Travel to Penn State Harrisburg campus

  • Plan to arrive in the area by the start of the orientation:
  • Check our page on how to get to Penn State Harrisburg.
  • Purchase a flight ticket, make plans to drive, or travel by train to Harrisburg.

Step 5: Complete online document check-in

  • Log into iStart, to view the Pre-Arrival Checklist
  • Complete the on-line orientation requirements for "Mandatory Document Check-In." –  see  iStart Document Check-in 
  • Complete the required eForms and upload scanned copies of the requested documents.
    • Make sure to sign your I-20 or DS-2019 before scanning it.
    • After your arrival in the U.S., go to www.cbp.gov/i94 to retrieve your most recent travel document (I-94 form). Save the form as a PDF document before uploading to iStart.
    • Update your permanent address ( your home address is outside of the U.S.) and update your Local U.S. address (where you sleep while attending school) in the U.S) on LionPath
    • Email DISSADocCheck@psu.edu if you have questions regarding Mandatory Document Check –In

Step 6: Arrange for housing

  • Look for permanent housing options for the school year and make arrangements early.
  • International students living on campus who wish to stay in residence halls during breaks should find out more about break access housing policy.
  • Inform yourself about off campus living options

Step 7: Fulfill mandatory health care requirements

  • Translate your medical records, immunization records, and prescription information into English and bring them with you.
  • Purchase the Penn State health insurance plan or complete a waiver by the established deadline. *NOTE* Fall semester 2017 health insurance purchase deadline is September 6, 2017. Spring 2018 health insurance purchase deadline: January 17, 2018
  • Learn about the immunizations (vaccination) you need and how to report them to Penn State. The Penn State student health insurance plan information will be available after July 15, 2017 see link University Health Services Insurance
  • Students will learn more about health insurance at International Student Orientation

Step 8: Prepare for life at your new home