Pre and Post Arrival Steps


Please follow the all steps below to prepare for a successful arrival at Rutgers and your journey as an international student.

Once you have been admitted to Rutgers University for a full-time academic program, you will be eligible for a Rutgers or an authorized agency (such as IIE) sponsored F-1 or J-1 visa. You will receive an official letter of admission from the admissions office along with a university ID number, known as your “RUID number”. 


STEP 1: Activate NetID

All Rutgers students are also assigned a unique identifier known as a NetID, made of of initials and numbers (e.g. jqs23). Your NetID allows you to access all online university systems and programs. You need to activate it using your RUID number given to you by Admissions. Through this activation process, you will:

-- Set your NetID login password
-- Set your security questions and answers
-- Activate your official Rutgers email address, known as your ScarletMail account

Activate your NetID here. Please save your NetID information after activating. 

STEP 2: Obtain a Passport

You must have a passport valid for at least six months from the date of your entry. Please check your current passport expiration date and make sure you meet this requirement.

STEP 3: Request an I-20 or a DS-2019

All admitted students will receive instructions from the Graduate or Undergraduate Admissions office (or ISSS for non-degree students) about how to request their I-20 or DS-2019. Please note - if you receive multiple I-20s or DS-2019s from different schools, you should only use the I-20 or DS-2019 for the school you ultimately choose to attend. 

-- Undergraduate Students
-- Graduate Students
-- Short-Term Non-Degree Students

For RBHS students:

  1. Submit this online form for our office to create a new international profile for you in our international student record database.
  2. Once you receive an email confirmation that your international profile is ready, submit the Request for Initial I-20 e-form group via the RGlobal portal. This request should be submitted at least 3 months prior to the start of the first academic term to ensure you receive your I-20 in time for a visa interview and arrival prior to your program start.

STEP 4: Pay the SEVIS Fee

Once you’ve received your I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to pay a SEVIS fee. Complete the Form I-901 along with the payment via mail or the Internet. Dependents in F-2 or J-2 status are not required to pay the fee. 

The SEVIS fee must be paid at least 3 business days prior to a visa interview or the filing of the change of status application in the US. Learn more about the SEVIS fee. Make sure you keep a printout of the receipt confirming the I-901 fee payment.

If you have paid the fee in the past but never entered the US, you might be eligible for a fee transfer. Please click here for more information. 

STEP 5: Apply and pay for a F-1 or J-1 student visa

Use your I-20 or DS-2019 issued by Rutgers to apply for your visa from a United States consulate/embassy in your country of citizenship or country of permanent residence. Canadian and Bermudan citizens do not need a visa. 

All non-immigrant visa applicants must complete Forms DS-160 (online non-immigrant visa application). Applicants will also need to appear for an in-person interview in English and will have to pay a visa application fee.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are looking to CHANGE YOUR STATUS through USCIS (aka not via travel) and do not yet have an F or J non-immigrant visa, please alert your Admissions office. After reviewing the Change of Status to F-1 or J-1 page, please make an appointment with the ISSS office to discuss your situation. 

Be Prepared: Find out in advance what information you will need to supply on your visa application. Review these tips on applying for a student visa.

STEP 6: Submit a Photo Online for the RUID Card

The RUID card is the official photo identification card issued to all Rutgers students. This photo ID card is the main form of identity verification throughout the university.

To obtain your card, you must first activate your Rutgers NetID (see Step 1), register for classes, and submit a photo online. For more information and where to submit your photo, please visit this link.

You will be notified via email if your photo was accepted. Students with on-campus housing can expect to receive their ID cards when checking in to their residence hall. Students not living on-campus should schedule an appointment to pick up their ID card at one of the ID Card Office Locations by calling them at 848-932-8041.

STEP 7: Plan your Arrival

Once you have received your F-1 or J-1 visa, you can travel to the US with your valid passport and your I-20 or DS-2019. You can ONLY enter the US up to 30 days before the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. 

For more information see Preparing to Enter the United States: What to Expect at a U.S. Port of Entry


STEP 8: Check-In on your RGLOBAL account

This is a legal requirement of your F-1 or J-1 status, and your status will not be legally activated until you have successfully completed this process. Use your Rutgers NetID and password to login to your RGLOBAL account to complete your information through the check-in form (available under “Orientation” in the RGlobal portal). 

You will be asked to upload scans or photos of your passport biographical page, visa page, your I-20/DS-2019, and I-94. You will receive notification via email once your form has been processed and approved.

For detailed instructions, please review the RGlobal Check-in Tutorial (PDF) or watch the Check-In Tutorial Demo (Video)

STEP 9: Attend International Student Orientation

The International Student Orientation is a mandatory program for all new international students. It is designed to help incoming students adjust to life in the United States and at Rutgers. Please also review the New Student FAQs for additional information.

STEP 10: Maintain Your Non-Immigrant Status and Complete the Staying in Legal Status Workshop on the RGlobal portal

As an international student, you are responsible for maintaining their F-1 or J-1 legal status throughout your studies by understanding and complying with the rules, regulations and restrictions associated with your student status. You must register for a full course of study, attend the Staying in Legal Status workshop, and ensure your contact information is updated on  your myRutgers Portal. You can find participate in workshops hosted by ISSS by logging into the RGlobal portal and clicking "Workshops" on the left-hand menu.

Step 11: Pick Up Your Rutgers University ID (RUID) Card

In order to pick up the RUID card, you must have activated your Rutgers NetID, registered for classes, and have submitted a photo online via this link. You should have received a photo acceptance verification email before you pick up the RUID card at one of the IDCard Services Centers.  Bring a photo id (e.g. passport, driver's license) when you go to pick up your RUID.

STEP 12: Confirm Your Student Health Insurance and Pay Term Bill

Rutgers requires all enrolled F and J nonimmigrants who hold a Rutgers I-20 or DS-2019 to have health insurance that meets or exceeds the university's minimum required level of coverage. Registered F-1 and J-1 students are automatically billed for the Student Health Insurance Plan premium on their term bills each semester. Alternatively, you may elect to have other insurance coverage rather than the Student Health Insurance Plan and would need to complete these steps to Waive the Health Insurance Fee. Please see the Rutgers Health Insurance costs here.

Learn about paying your term bill and international fees: View our Financial Guide and information on International Student Fees