International Student Orientation

International Student Orientation


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The mandatory orientation is geared 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 2018

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 2018 NSO program: Follow the links below. 

ALL new international graduate students must attend the new international student orientation.

  • New international graduate students (One-Day Mandatory Orientation):
    • Date: Thursday, August 16, 2018
    • Check-in: 8:00am
    • Location: Morrison Gallery (Library Bldg., Room 101)
    • Register >>>

Please Note 

  • On-campus housing students cannot register for Group 1 & Group 2
  • Community Welcome Picnic: Saturday August 11, 10am - 1pm @ Middletown Church of God w/campus and community volunteers, IAA/Rotary club
  • Capitol Tour, Capital City Mall & Walmart Trip: Saturday August 11, 1 - 5pm (Bus Pickup @ Middletown Church of God)  
  • Engage Saturday (August 18) & Convocation Sunday (August 19) are mandatory to all new students of FALL 2018            

Step 2: 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

Step 3: Travel to Penn State Harrisburg campus

  • 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) at your final destination. Provide your local apartment (U.S. address) or Penn State Harrisburg, Office of Student Life & Intercultural Programs, 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 5).
  • Make sure to purchase your tickets and arrange your travel so you will arrive in the area by the start of the orientation
  • Check our page on how to get to Penn State Harrisburg.

Step 4: Complete online document check-in

  • Start your online document check-in prior to traveling to the United States
  • 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 U.S. Customs and Border Protection site 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 if you have questions regarding Mandatory Document Check –In

Step 5: Arrange for housing

  • Look for permanent housing options for the school year and make arrangements early.
  • DO NOT SIGN MULTIPLE HOUSING AGREEMENTS! Housing agreement is a financially binding contract between your and the owner. Inform yourself about off campus living options

Step 6: 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. See link University Health Services Insurance *NOTE* Fall 2018 health insurance purchase deadline: September 4, 2018
  • Learn about the immunizations (vaccination) you need and how to report them to Penn State.
  • Students will learn more about health insurance at International Student Orientation

Step 7: Prepare for life at your new home