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 at and understand DUO two-step login

We recommend that you register MULTIPLE devices for DUO. This way if you change your phone number, you can still access your netID by verifying your DUO on another device (computer, tablet, iPad). You will be prompted to sign up for DUO at some point.

You can register multiple phone numbers on DUO - we encourage keeping your international and US phone numbers active. 

STEP 2: Activate your Scarletmail email account

Your Scarletmail email account will be the primary way that many university offices will contact you so it will be very important for you to create your account after you activate your NET ID.

Make sure to begin using and checking this account on a regular basis.

To Activate your Scarletmail:

  1. Visit
  2. Choose "Service Activation" in the left menu
  3. Within the "Rutgers ScarletApps/ScarletMail" card, click the "Activate Service" button
  4. Follow the steps on the screen to access your ScarletApps/Scarletmail account.
STEP 3: Upload Your Photo for a Rutgers Photo ID

You will need to upload your photo on your MyRutgers Dashboard. Detailed instructions about submitting photo IDs are listed on your MyRutgers Dashboard. 

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 can pick up the IDs during orientation (if available) or at IDCard Services Centers. More information about ID card pick up will be provided with your full orientation schedule, sent closer to your arrival.

STEP 4: Sign-Up for Orientation

Undergraduate Students

Graduate Students

  • Graduate Students are automatically registered for the International Student Orientation program
  • Graduate students may be invited to department and school specific orientation programs that are separate from the ISO. Please make sure you attend those programs as well. 
STEP 5: Upload your Immunization Records 

Submit your Immunization Records at All required immunization documentation (including COVID-19 vaccination and booster) must be submitted by the deadline.


STEP 1: 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 2: 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

Transfer students (students with an active SEVIS record) must work with their current school to have their SEVIS records sent to Rutgers

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 3: 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 4: 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 if you do not already have one. 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, and watch our helpful video below!

STEP 5: Plan your travel route & transportation to Rutgers

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. 

Review our Transportation Options presentation to help you plan for your arrival to New Jersey. Students are encouraged to use mobile map applications to help navigate campus, such as Apple or Google Maps. Rutgers also has its own application called "Rutgers University" in the App Store.

Also see our Preparing to Enter the United States: What to Expect at a U.S. Port of Entry page.


STEP 1: 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.

We suggest you try to use a Google Chrome web browser to fill out these forms.

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


STEP 2: 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 3: 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 already have submitted a photo online via this link. You should have received a photo acceptance verification email before you pick up the RUID card. More information about RUID card pick up will be available at the IDCard Services Centers website. Bring a photo id (e.g. passport, driver's license) when you go to pick up your RUID.

STEP 4: 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, complete 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 5: 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


Get in the habit of checking your email daily:  You will be receiving important information that will help prepare you for the start of the semester.  This will also be the primary form of communication for all official Rutgers correspondence.

Download the RAVE Guardian App: Download the free mobile safety app. Rave Guardian is designed to help faculty, staff, students and guests stay connected and access important campus safety resources. The app is available for use by all Rutgers University students, faculty, staff, and guests who are subscribed to the university’s Emergency Notification System (ENS)

RU Here Attendance Confirmation: At the start of each semester, students need to complete the RU HERE confirmation of attendance process when attempting to access any online system which requires log-in with their Rutgers NetID. Students must participate in RU HERE before the deadline or their classes and financial aid will be cancelled. Check out the Step-by-Step Instructions located HERE.

Undergraduate Students: Review the information and resources on the Student Orientation and Transition Programs website

Preparing for your F-1 VISA Interview