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New International Students

Three students on campus

Initial Status Student

A New or Initial Status student is someone who was newly admitted to Monmouth University and will be enrolled in a designated program of study for the first time. An Initial Status student can also include those transferring their immigration record to Monmouth from another institution, students returning from a personal leave of absence, or a student pursuing a new level of education at Monmouth.

Upon completing the admissions process as a new or transfer student, our office will generate an I-20 within 3-5 business days, placing the individual in Initial Status. The “Initial” or in some cases “Transfer Pending” I-20 will show a designated SEVID ID number as well as important information about the student and their program.

Obtaining the initial I-20 is a vital requirement needed to apply for a visa.

Admissions

New or Transfer students must first work with their appropriate admissions unit to formerly be accepted into the University.

Pre-Arrival

Before beginning your academic program at Monmouth University, there is much to prepare and consider. We are here to help! Below is a checklist to complete before starting your program.

  1. Obtaining a passport with your local consulate or embassy. If a passport is old or soon to expire, consider renewing it before arrival into the country, especially if the passport photo is from childhood.
  2. Receive the form I-20 & pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. For every SEVIS ID that is created, a student must pay the government SEVIS fee. Our office recommends paying the SEVIS fee immediately to avoid any issues in receiving a visa or entering the country. Our office cannot register the immigration record until the fee is paid. To pay this fee please use the Department of Homeland Security’s Form I-901 website.
  3. Schedule a student visa appointment & obtain a visa. The visa (via document or stamp) is placed in the student’s passport and is used in coordination with the I-20 to enter the country. This does not apply to Canadian or Bermudan citizens who are exempt from needing a physical visa. As for everyone else, a visa appointment will be required for proper immigration status. A student will not be able to schedule a visa appointment until they have received a SEVIS ID number located on the initial I-20. Every consulate/embassy operates independently. This means visa wait times and required appointment documentation will vary depending on each office. We recommend reaching out to the local consulate/embassy in advance to confirm specific policies and requirements. In case of an emergency, a student may be able to expedite their appointment by contacting their local consulate or embassy directly – but this is never guaranteed. Visa wait times at consulates or embassies can be viewed here – Global Visa Wait Times (state.gov)
  4. Complete the Pre-Arrival Form. Completion of the Pre-arrival form is mandatory and will inform our office of a student’s intent to study at Monmouth and their arrival date. Students are also able to RSVP for the mandatory International Student Orientation.
  5. Enroll in Health Insurance Coverage. Monmouth University currently requires international students to enroll in a health insurance plan. The ISS office recommends students are enrolled in a local or international health insurance plan before arriving in the US. The health system in the United States can be costly and difficult to navigate. Health Insurance eases the logistical and financial burden when the unexpected happens. Contact our office for health insurance recommendations if needed.
  6. Take advantage of the “New Student” Whatsapp community. After submission of the Pre-arrival form, students will be added to the new student WhatsApp community hosted by our International Student Ambassadors. This chat is a helpful resource before arriving on campus. New students can voice concerns or ask any non-immigration questions to the ambassadors. It is also a place for new students to connect.
  7. Arrival to the U.S. Students entering the US for the first time can arrive in the country up to 30 days before the start date listed on the I-20, and not earlier. Attempting to arrive any earlier may result in secondary inspection, not being able to enter on F-1 status, and potentially being turned away. Pass through Customs and Border Patrol by showing all necessary documentation (valid passport, Visa, I-20). Students are now able to make their way to campus.
  8. Traveling from the airport to campus. Students should arrive at Newark International Airport. Airport pickups are not available. The ISS office recommends taking public transportation from Newark Airport via the NJ Transit NJCL to Long Branch. Train schedules can be checked in advance. Once at the Long Branch Station, a taxi or a car service such as Lyft/Uber, can be called for transport to campus or the surrounding area. Taxi and car services (Lyft/Uber) are also available outside of the Newark airport and will run between $100 -$150 to campus and surrounding areas. Check the rate before entering a taxi. Students should arrive on campus via the MUPD building at 400 Cedar Ave West Long Branch NJ 07764.

Post-Arrival

You have successfully entered the country and are ready to begin your studies! Here are your next steps:

  1. Confirm Full-Time Enrollment. By the start date listed on the I-20, international students should be enrolled as full-time students in classes. All undergraduates must enroll in at least 12 credits to meet this requirement, and graduate students must enroll in at least 9 credits. Full-time enrollment during the initial semester is a requirement regardless of which semester international students begin their studies at Monmouth (summer, fall, or spring). All students are allowed 1 online class for up to 3 credits that can be counted towards maintaining status. Should a student fail to enroll full-time by the start of the semester, they would be putting themselves and their immigration record at risk.
  2. Complete the Immigration Check-in form. Once the student has confirmed full-time course enrollment, the form I-20 is registered in SEVIS by the (P)DSO. Registering an I-20 officially confirms a student’s physical attendance at the university and begins their F-1 status as an “ACTIVE” student under SEVP. Students must submit the following information via the Check-in form: passport, visa, I-20, and I-94. An I-94 confirms arrival into the country in F or J status. This form is marked by a US Customs and Border Control (CBP) representative after successful entry into the United States. International students can locate their most recent I-94 here: I94 – Official Website (dhs.gov). A student is not eligible for SEVIS registration until the check-in form is fully submitted with the necessary documentation included.
  3. Attend Mandatory International Student Orientation. Attending the International Student Orientation is mandatory for all incoming students. During the orientation session, students will receive education on the immigration rules and regulations that they must abide by while staying in the country. Students are ultimately responsible for their immigration status and need to have a thorough understanding of their obligations under the F-1 visa status for academic success. During the orientation, students will also complete the check-in form and get registered in the government platform SEVIS.

Common FAQs

What can I expect during my visa interview?

You can expect to be asked to bring certain documents for the visa interview. The Department of State requires the following:

  • Passport valid 6 months into the Future
  • Nonimmigrant visa application, the form DS-160.
  • SEVIS Fee Receipt/Application Fee Receipt
  • Passport Photo – This will be placed on your physical visa and must be a different photo from your passport.
  • The form I-20 for an F-1 visa and a DS-2019 for a J-1 visa.

Additional documentation may be requested such as:

  • Bank statements confirming at least one year’s funding for educational, living, and travel costs.
  • Plane tickets confirming a future departure from the country.
  • Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, I-20’s, etc. from previous schools attended.

The interview itself will be held with a consular officer who will be tasked with determining whether or not you are qualified to receive a student visa. Interviews may only last for 10 – 15 minutes. Answer all questions honestly and thoroughly in English. Emphasize your educational goals, and should the opportunity present itself, strong ties to your home country with the intent to return. Your visit’s purpose is to study and be a student. This is why you have received an I-20 from Monmouth and should be the only purpose of your visit.

What happens if I am denied a Visa?

If an applicant is denied a visa, they will receive a denial notice from the Department of State. Submit this documentation to our office so we understand the situation and possibly assist in an appeal.

What can I expect at the Port of Entry/Border?

Upon arrival at a port of entry, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers will check your travel documents and ask questions about your visit. If the officer is not satisfied, you may have to go for a secondary inspection where they will check your records and decide whether to allow entry, contact the University’s DSO for clarification, issue a temporary pass via an I-515A, or deny entry.

In the rare instance of receiving an I-515A or being denied entry, please contact our office immediately. It’s important to understand that admission into the country is entirely within the discretion of CBP, thus it’s advisable to ensure all required documentation is readily available for their review.

I intend to study at Monmouth University but not at this time. Can I defer my I-20/admission to the following semester?

If you need to postpone your I-20 start date, you can submit a pre-arrival form to request a deferral. This form will notify the Admissions team and they will work with you and your academic department to confirm availability for the following semester. The process usually takes about 5-7 days. Once the decision is made, Admissions will re-admit you to Monmouth. If your application is approved, we will send you a new I-20 with a deferred start date via email.

What is a Transfer Pending I-20?

When a student transfers their SEVIS record from one SEVP-approved institution to another, they will receive a “Transfer Pending” I-20. This document is similar to an “Initial I-20”, which shows the start date and information at a new institution. However, the “Transfer Pending” I-20 is different because it reflects a student’s current presence in the U.S. with an active immigration record. The “Transfer Pending” remarks on the I-20 indicate that the transfer process is not yet fully completed until the registration of the immigration record occurs in SEVIS. Once registration is processed, a new I-20 will be issued and distributed to the student with “Continued Attendance” remarks, representing the successful continuation of their active status from the previous institution to the current one.

I am transferring to Monmouth University from another institution, do I need a new visa? Do I need to leave and re-enter?

No. If you have a valid or expired visa, you do not need to leave the country and can stay in the U.S. until the start date of your program at Monmouth. A visa is only needed for entry into the country and is valid until its expiration date. However, if your visa is expired and you plan to travel internationally, you must renew your visa abroad before re-entering the U.S.

I booked a flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport instead of Newark, how can I get to campus?

It is NOT recommended to take a taxi or car service from JFK in New York to New Jersey. Our recommendation is to take public transportation using these directions:

  • Take the JFK AirTrain from Terminal 4, 5, 7, or 8 to the Jamaica Station (Jamaica Train, Red Line). You can find more information on the JFK Airtrain on the JFK Airport website.
  • At the Jamaica Station, take a train to Penn Station NY. You can check the MTA for times and trains.
  • Take the NJ Transit (either NEC or NJCL) from Penn Station NY to Newark Airport Station. You can check NJ Transit for times and trains.
  • You have a few options at this point. You can continue taking the NJCL train to Long Branch and get a cab from there to Monmouth University. You can also get an Uber from the Newark Airport Station to Monmouth University. Finally, you can take the AirTrain to one of the terminals and get a cab from the terminal to Monmouth University.