Frequently Asked Questions
This page was last reviewed May 12, 2023.
Are you a new student with lots of questions? You're not alone. Read our most frequently asked questions on what to do before or after you arrive, academic information, health information, working in the US, and finances.
If you are admitted to a short-term program at NYU (for example, if you are a visiting or exchange student or admitted to a modular degree program), please review the below as well as our short-term international student FAQ specially meant for students in your situation.
What is an I-20/DS-2019?
The I-20 (for F-1 students)/DS-2019 (for J-1 students) is the document you need from NYU in order to apply for the F-1 or J-1 student visa at a consulate outside the US. You also need to present your I-20 or DS-2019 at the US border along with your F-1 or J-1 visa (except for Canadian citizens), and other supporting documents in order to be able to enter the US as an F-1 or J-1 student.
When should I apply for the I-20/DS-2019?
Submit your application at least 3-4
months prior to your intended start date in case of visa delays. If you don’t apply at least 3-4 months prior to your intended start date you may face difficulty in arriving for the first day of classes if you are outside the US, but OGS will continue to accept applications beyond this time.
Is it possible to extend the deadline for the I-20/DS-2019 application?
Please note that OGS does not have a deadline for the I-20/DS-2019 application. However, the sooner you apply for your I-20/DS-2019, the better your chances are of arriving at NYU in time for the start of your intended program.
How long does it normally take to get an I-20/DS-2019 from NYU once I apply?
Processing time is approximately 2 weeks once we receive your complete application. Please note that emailing us to ask about the status of your application delays our ability to process as quickly.
Travel and Visas
Can I submit an emergency visa application with the nearest US embassy or consulate?
Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for an emergency visa appointment. Review the website of the embassy or consulate you will apply at to confirm eligibility criteria for requesting an emergency visa application. It may be helpful to try to get a support letter from your academic department.
I can't get a visa appointment in my home country and it seems unlikely that I'll be able to get one anytime soon. Can I go to another country to apply for my visa?
OGS advises students to apply for a visa in their country of citizenship or residence as this is where an applicant can display strongest ties, hence a US consulate or embassy can best determine your non-immigrant intent. However, if you decide to apply for a visa outside of your country of citizenship or residence (as a third country national) then it is important to confirm that the US consulate or embassy in that location accepts F-1/J-1 visa applications from citizens of other countries. You will also want to consider the heightened cost, longer travel and processing times (that could include a quarantine requirement or administrative processing) and other associated risks.
Can I still apply for my I-20/DS-2019 now even though I am unsure of my prospects for getting a visa appointment?
Yes, we encourage students to apply for their I-20/DS-2019 as soon as possible, pay the SEVIS fee, and get documents in order to make an appointment.
Is there anything I should be aware of if my I-20 is issued now, but my visa appointment is months from now?
If your financial documents are more than six months old by the time of your visa appointment, we recommend that you get updated documents.
I’m filling out the DS-160 and it asks me to fill out the address of where I will be staying in the US as well as a US-based contact. What if I don’t have either of those yet?
If you don’t know your US address yet, you can use OGS’s address (383 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003). If you don’t have a US-based contact, you can use the name of the individual who signed your I-20 or DS-2019.
I received an I-20/DS-2019 from NYU but am unable to travel to the United States in time for the program start date listed on my document. What should I do?
If you plan to arrive in the United States after the program start date as indicated on your current I-20 or DS-2019, we must change the start date listed on your document and send you an updated I-20 or DS-2019 as long as it is supported by your academic department. [For Tandon Graduate students, please reach out to Tandon Graduate Academics.] Please submit your US Entry Plan information to OGS so that we can update your document accordingly. Note that if you cannot arrive within 30 days after the semester begins, you might choose to defer your start date to a future semester, or to utilize remote study if available, etc. If you find yourself in this circumstance, please contact both your academic department and OGS to discuss your situation and find the best option for you.
How do I make my visa interview appointment?
You should wait to schedule your visa appointment until you have received your original I-20 or DS-2019 from us. Remember that it takes around 2 weeks for us to process your I-20 or DS-2019. Be sure to complete all required forms and pay the required fees before your appointment. Learn more about getting your visa.
If I take all my courses for the upcoming semester remotely, do I still need to get a visa for the upcoming semester?
No, you do not need a US student visa in order to begin your studies remotely from outside of the United States.
You will, however, need a student visa in order to get into the United States. This means that you must have an I-20 or DS-2019 from NYU and an F-1 or J-1 student visa (except for Canadian citizens) at the time that you do travel into the United States to begin or continue your studies at NYU.
What do I do if the embassy keeps postponing or canceling my visa appointment?
Unfortunately, you will have to wait until the embassy or consulate you intend to apply at resumes their services in order to go through your visa appointment. Keep checking on the website of the consulate or embassy you plan to apply at for the latest updates. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for an emergency visa appointment. At many embassies, if you are a student or exchange visitor and your program will begin within 60 days when no regular appointments are available, you may be eligible. You must show them proof that your start date is within 60 days and you must not have had a visa denial within the last 6 months at the US Embassy or Consulate. The website of the embassy or consulate you will apply at will have the detailed information for that location.
What happens if my visa is denied?
If you receive a visa denial, request a denial letter from the US Consulate so that you will understand why your visa was denied. The main reason visas are denied for the US is failure of the applicant to prove they have ties to their home country. Learn more about visa denials. OGS would like to support you in any way that we can. If you are denied, please report this update through our online portal and have ready the information below:
- Name and date of birth
- N Number
- Date of interview
- Location of interview
- Details of conversation
- Attach any handouts from the Consulate
- List of any relatives in the US
- Detailed description of past visa issues
- Your DS-160 number
What happens if my visa is delayed?
Some students may face visa delays due to security checks based on your field of study, name, country of birth, citizenship, or nationality. Most security checks are handled within 30 days. If yours takes longer, please report this update through our online portal and have ready the information below:
- Name and date of birth
- N Number
- Date of interview
- Location of interview
- Details of conversation
- Attach any handouts from the Consulate
- List of any relatives in the US
- Detailed description of past visa issues
- Your DS-160 number
Can I enter the US as a tourist and then change to F-1 status if I already have a valid tourist visa?
No. You must enter the United States in F-1 or J-1 student status. If you happen to have a valid tourist visa and try to enter the United States as a tourist, you will immediately be in violation of your tourist status if you are enrolled in a full course of study. Therefore, you must wait until you have a valid student visa (unless you’re a Canadian citizen) to enter the United States to begin your program of study.
Can I enter the United States with my unexpired student visa even if I have a new SEVIS ID number?
The US Department of State (the government agency issuing visas) Consulate Field Advisory Manual states that students should get a new visa. In practice, however, US Customs and Border Protection (the government agency you interact with when traveling into the US) has not indicated that this will be a problem and remains consistent in admitting students who are in this situation into the United States without issue.
Students Transferring SEVIS Records from another US Institution
If I transfer my SEVIS record, will I need to apply for a new visa?
If you transfer your SEVIS record and you still have a valid, unexpired visa, you can use this visa to re-enter the United States. However, please be aware of certain country-specific travel restrictions that are in effect regardless of visa validity.
If I'm transferring my SEVIS record to NYU from another US-based school, can I do so without problems even if I'm outside of the United States?
If you are outside of the United States and you won’t be able to re-enter the US by the start date of your academic program, OGS must work with the US government to defer your SEVIS start date with NYU. We can only request this of the US government up to 60 days before the start of the semester.
Should the government not approve the deferral of your start date on your transfer I-20, you would then need to apply for a new I-20 ideally three months prior to the term that you will re-enter the US. This new I-20 will then have a new SEVIS ID number for you. Because of this new SEVIS ID number, you would then need to pay the SEVIS fee for the new SEVIS ID number AND you would need to again study within the United States for two semesters before gaining eligibility to apply for off-campus work authorization like OPT or CPT. You can find additional information on our COVID-19 Exception for F-1 Transfer.
What is the deadline to apply to transfer my F-1 SEVIS record?
Be sure to submit your application for a transfer I-20 no later than your NYU start date.
I submitted my I-20/DS-2019 transfer application more than 2 weeks ago but I still haven’t received my document. Why is that?
In order to issue your I-20/DS-2019, we must have a fully completed application from you AND your SEVIS record must be released in the SEVIS database. Furthermore, the release date of your SEVIS record must pass before we have access to your record. If after you have fully submitted your application and you have confirmed with your previous school that your record was released and it’s been more than 2 weeks, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
My previous school is asking for the contact information of an international student advisor or Designated School Official (DSO) at NYU? Can you please provide that information to me?
You can use Thomas Sirinides, firstname.lastname@example.org and our phone number (212) 998-4720.
Deferring Start Date
If I defer the start of my academic program, do I need a new I-20/DS-2019?
If you wish to defer the start of your academic program, you must request and receive permission from your academic department. (Tandon Graduate Students please go to Tandon Graduate Academics.) Please contact your academic department about deferring and any deadlines they might have for you to make that decision.
If and when you are approved for a later start date, please submit your US Entry Plan information to officially notify OGS so that we can update your I-20/DS-2019 with your new program start date.
If I defer the start of my academic program, will my SEVIS ID number change? Will I have to apply for a new DS-160 and pay the SEVIS fee again?
If you inform us of this change by submitting your US entry plan information within 30 days of the semester start, then in most cases your SEVIS ID will remain the same. You will need to contact the US consulate you plan to apply at to see if you will need to make subsequent changes to your DS-160. If you are deferring beyond one semester, SEVIS does not provide the functionality to defer your start date more than one year into the future. You will need to apply for a new I-20/DS-2019 no later than 3-4 months before your new program start date, therefore you will then have a new SEVIS ID number. Please note that your SEVIS fee payment is only valid for one year from the date when it was paid. If you do not apply for your visa or request that your SEVIS fee payment be transferred to your new SEVIS ID (if you were issued a new I-20 with new SEVIS ID) within that year, you will need to make a new SEVIS fee payment.
Do F-1 and J-1 students need health insurance to study at NYU?
J-1 students are required by law to carry adequate levels of health insurance; failure to do so results in termination from the Exchange Visitor program. We send information to all J-1 students about the insurance requirements with your initial DS-2019 form.
When all F-1 and J-1 international students register for classes, they will be automatically charged for the NYU-sponsored comprehensive insurance plan. Check your bursar bill for insurance charges. Review detailed information on the NYU Health Insurance page for important information.
How can my dependents (spouse and children) come with me to the US?
If you wish to bring a spouse and/or children under the age of 21 with you, please review our information on bringing a family member and include the additional documentation with your I-20/DS-2019 application. Only a spouse and/or children under the age of 21 can accompany you as a dependent. Parents, grandparents, and other relatives are not eligible to come to the US with you as your F-2 or J-2 dependent.
Can my domestic partner come with me to the US?
Domestic partners can apply for a B-1/B-2 visa to accompany you. Though B-2 visas are normally for a short duration, it is possible for your partner to accompany you for the duration of your academic program in the US. Your partner would need to demonstrate their intent to depart the US at the conclusion of your stay.
What should I do if I decide not to attend NYU?
Please report this update through our online portal so that we may cancel your I-20/DS-2019.
Is there a way I can set up a mobile phone number before arriving in the United States?
campusSIMS sends any student who completes their order form a free SIM card in their home country so that students can get a US phone number immediately, and have mobile phone service as soon as they arrive in the United States. Please note, only the SIM card is free. They have plans available for a fee. More details are available on their order form.
How can I update my address and phone number?
In order to stay legal in the US, you must update your US address and phone number, as well as upload documents to OGS Online. Read the complete arrival checklist. Review the specific instructions for getting your US address and phone number updated in the NYU system.
Where can I find information about housing and living in New York?
On-Campus Housing - visit the on-campus living website.
Off-Campus Housing - for more information.
You can also find off-campus housing and roommates through the NYU Housing Registry.
The International Student's Survival Guide to Living in NYC that you received once your I-20 or DS-2019 was ready that also has a listing of temporary housing in New York.
What is a sublet?
A sublet is when you rent a room from an absent tenant who signed the original lease.
How do I file a housing complaint or receive non-emergency public service?
You can call or text 311, New York's main source of government information and non-emergency services.
How can I get an NYU ID Card?
To get an NYUCard, visit photoid.nyu.edu and follow the instructions to upload a photo to be used on your NYUCard. In order to properly access this system, students must have activated their NYU NetID and NYU email accounts.
An email will confirm the location where you will pick up your new card. You must bring your passport to the NYU Card Center in order to be issued an NYUCard. There is no charge for the first card. Always carry it with you, as you will not be granted access to NYU buildings without it.
How do I get around?
The cheapest and most convenient way to get around is by the NYC subway system. The MetroCard is used to navigate the subway system; there are two ways the MetroCard is used pay for subway fare: 1. unlimited weekly/monthly plans, or 2. pay-per-ride cards. Go to a kiosk or service station in any subway station to purchase.
Please note: some subway trains are Express trains that will only stop at major stations. Read signs on the subway platform carefully to make sure you get on the right train.
You can also use the free NYU bus service. It takes you to campuses, schools, residence halls, and service centers. The bus times for each semester differ.
Where can I get a mobile phone?
Where can I exercise and stay fit at NYU?
Athletic facilities are free for NYU students enrolled in classes. You must show your NYU ID card to enter.
- The Palladium Athletic Facility is at 140 East 14th Street (between Third and Fourth Avenues) near Union Square. Palladium has a deep-water pool, a 957-meter weight room, a 1,046-meter aerobic fitness room, and a 9-meter-high indoor climbing center that spans two floors.
- 404 Fitness is at 404 Lafayette Street (between East 4th Street and Astor Place). This three-floor athletic facility includes multi-floor cardio & aerobic fitness and strength areas. It will also include a lounge area, locker rooms complete with free daily issue and rental lockers, a membership office, dance and spin room, yoga room, and stretch areas.
- Brooklyn Athletic Facility (BAF) is located at 6 MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn. Members may partake in the many free-play activities scheduled in the Gymnasium or engross themselves in online content while utilizing the fitness industry’s most advanced cardio equipment.
How can I apply for a driver license or photo ID card?
A driver license is required to operate an automobile anywhere in the US. New York honors all valid foreign licenses. We suggest you also have an International Driver Permit, which translates your country’s driver license. You must apply for one in your home country before coming to the US. You do not need to apply for a New York driver license unless you become a resident of New York State (students from other states or other nations are not normally considered residents of New York State).
If you reside in the state of New York, learn more about getting a driver's license in New York.
If you reside in the state of New Jersey for more than 60 days, you may obtain a New Jersey driver’s license.
You can also obtain a non-driver photo ID card from the New Jersey MVC or New York DMV. A non-driver photo ID may be helpful as proof of identity for renting an apartment, gaining entry to certain venues, or applying for credit. You must have a US Social Security card (or a letter from US Social Security Administration stating you are ineligible for a SSN) in order to apply. In addition, you must present your passport, I-94 record and I-20 or DS-2019 showing that you have authorization to be in the US for at least six months into the future. You must also provide documents for proof of identity and date of birth which may include either a bank card with printed name, bank statement or a credit card, and a US utility bill.
The IDNYC program offers a photo identification card for residents of New York City who are at least 14 years old. This municipal ID card connects New Yorkers to services, programs, and benefits, regardless of immigration status, homeless status, or gender identity. Learn more about how to apply for a New York City ID card.
Where can I get more information about NYU and the city?
The Center for Student Life provides students with information about NYU and New York City. They also help students navigate university resources and services, provides academic referrals, and promote ways for students to get connected at NYU. The office is located in the Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, 7th Floor.
Find out more about NYU’s welcome programs for new students.
What do I need to know about following the laws in the US?
Our office is here to help you understand how to keep your status legal while studying in the US. We go over information about how to do this at our orientation sessions. If ever you find that you have been arrested or have had any interaction with police, please be sure to let the OGS know immediately. Please also see our information on the effect an arrest could have on your immigration status.
What rights do I have in the US?
It’s important for you to be aware of the rights you have in the US as an international student or scholar: the rights for US citizens and permanent residents are not the same as rights for people in non-immigrant statuses such as F-1 and F-2 or J-1 and J-2. Here are some basics for you to remember.
What's the effect of arrest on my immigration status?
Wondering what kind of effect an arrest could have on your visa for or legal status within the US? US visa and other Government-Related application forms ask whether you have ever been arrested. It’s important for you to answer this question honestly, but also be aware of what impact this will then have on your application.
Remember, if you have been arrested or have had any interaction with the police, inform the OGS immediately. If you ever find yourself arrested or charged with a crime, we recommend that you find two attorneys: one who specializes in immigration law and one who specializes in criminal law.
Check here for the common questions students have on the topic of arrests.
How do I register for classes?
To register for classes, make an appointment to see your academic advisor in person. Graduate students should go to their department, undergraduate students should go to the advising center for their schools. After meeting your advisor and being cleared, you can register for classes. Use your NYU net ID to register in Albert. Albert is accessed through your NYUHome account after logging in. After logging into your account, click on the "Academics" tab in the upper left-hand corner and log into Albert to register.
To register in Albert you must enter a US or international mobile phone number and emergency contact number in the system. NYU must be able to reach you in an emergency situation. NYU alerts are sent through a text message with instructions or notification about closures. If a mobile phone "emergency contact" number is not listed, you will NOT be able to register. Send an email to email@example.com to indicate that you don't have a mobile phone number to provide if you don't yet have a mobile phone. Once you do have a number, you must enter it in Albert.
If you have questions about registration, contact the Office of the University Registrar.
How do I pay for classes?
You can make payments to your student account at the Office of the University Bursar. If you will be paying by international wire transfers, review the Bursar's information on international payments.
Where is the NYU library?
Bobst is the primary library for NYU, located at 70 Washington Square South. Telephone: 212-998-2500. You must present your NYU ID card to enter.
Where can I access computers and printers at NYU?
NYU Information Technology Services (ITS) offers internet accounts to NYU students enrolled in degree or diploma programs. Activate your NYU account with you NetID. Check out the various resources at the NYU technology labs for access to computers, laser printers, CD-ROM drives, scanners and related equipment, as well as a wide selection of software.
I'm looking for student clubs at NYU, where can I find them?
You can learn more about getting involved at NYU by starting with this resources on Clubs and Organizations.
Each semester, there is also Club Fest, a fair which showcases more than 400 student clubs and organizations.
To get updates on special events in your field of interest, subscribe to one or more of the NYU mailing lists. Do so by logging on to NYUHome, going to the “Lists“ section under “Home“ tab. There are over 800 lists at NYU reflecting diverse student groups and interests.
How do I submit my immunization information to NYU?
In order to create a safer, healthier student body, there are mandatory health and immunization requirements you must complete, including 1) health and immunization forms; 2) online training modules for sexual misconduct and alcohol use; and 3) health insurance. Each requirement helps create a safer, healthier NYU. We recommend you begin completing the health and immunization requirements as soon as possible to ensure you meet all the mandatory deadlines. Many of the requirements take time to complete and you might need to connect with your healthcare provider.
The SHC team is here to help you navigate these requirements. Please contact them anytime for help or guidance anytime!
Immunization Record Services
How do I get health care in the US?
NYU's Student Health Center (SHC) is a campus resource and service center for all matriculated students that offers virtual care services and has locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. We offer universal, hassle-free medical and counseling services at either no cost or very reduced cost to all matriculated NYU students, regardless of insurance coverage. Our goal is to add great value to the NYU experience for students and great comfort in knowing a safety net for basic healthcare exists at NYU.
If you have a medical concern, call the SHC at (212) 443-1000 and ask to speak with a nurse. Due to COVID-19, it is not advisable to visit a medical facility unless absolutely necessary.
Counseling and Wellness Services (CWS) can help with any mental health concerns you might experience, including stress, anxiety, alcohol or drugs, eating, depression, family issues, suicidal thoughts, and more. We offer individual counseling, group counseling, wellness workshops, referrals, and long-term psychiatric medication services. Except for psychiatric services, they are provided at no cost.
The Wellness Exchange is your greatest mental health resource at NYU. Call the 24-hour hotline at (212) 443-9999, chat via the Wellness Exchange app anytime (iPhone or Android), make an appointment, or "stop by" during our virtual drop-in hours to speak with a certified counselor about any day-to-day challenges or health concerns.
How do I get health care at NYU Brooklyn?
Most SHC services are now offered virtually. Due to COVID-19, it is not advisable to visit a medical facility unless absolutely necessary. If you have a medical concern, call the SHC at (212) 443-1000 and ask to speak with a nurse. If you have a mental health concern, call the Wellness Exchange 24/7 hotline at (212) 443-9999.
Can I waive the NYU student health insurance?
F-1 and J-1 students are automatically charged for the comprehensive insurance plan through NYU. If you have your own health insurance and do not want the NYU plan, you must apply for a waiver online. Your plan must meet or exceed the coverage provided by NYU’s plan. Check to see the specific information about student health insurance plans, options, and requirements at the different NYU campuses.
How do I apply for an on-campus job at NYU?
On-campus student employment is limited to 20 hours maximum per week during the Fall and Spring semesters and is limited to the NYU campus. To look for a job on campus, look for department postings or sign up for Handshake, an online program that will allow you to view job listings, as well as workshops and other career events. Read the instructions for proper work authorization thoroughly after you are hired.
For career coaching sessions, contact the Wasserman Center for Career Development at 133 E. 13th St., 2nd floor. Telephone 212-998-4730.
Can I apply for a Social Security Number and how?
The OGS realizes that a SSN is requested for many transactions, from apartment rental to obtaining a cell phone or credit card, however, that is not the purpose for which the government designed it. The SSN is meant to be for tax-record keeping purposes only, thus, the government will only issue a number once you obtain work authorization. Read more about the application process. Please note that the NYU ID number is not a Social Security Number.
New students, transfer students, and students returning from a leave of absence can apply for a new US Social Security Number no earlier than 10 business days after entering the US and attending an OGS orientation. We will inform the US government that your SEVIS record is “active”. Thus the Social Security Administration may not have access to your immigration record until after ten business days of your active status.
How do I open a bank account?
To open an account, take your passport, I-20, NYU ID Card, an enrollment verification (you must first add your US address to Albert and register for classes before obtaining the enrollment verification) and cash or check to deposit.
What is a checking account?
A checking account allows you to deposit and withdraw money. By contrast, a savings account is used to deposit money and cannot be used to directly spend money; it provides a modest interest.
What is a debit card?
A debit card is an alternative to cash. It withdraws funds directly from your checking account.
How can I get a credit card?
Credit card companies generally require a Social Security number to run a background check. The following credit card companies are willing to process applications without a Social Security number. Please note that card approval is not automatic, but judged on a case-by-case basis.
- American Express - or call 1-(877)621-2639
- First National Bank of Omaha
** OGS does not endorse, approve, or certify any companies listed here that are outside of NYU. We provide these as resources for your reference only.