New International Students

Welcome, New International Students!

The Scripps College community and Division of Student Affairs look forward to welcoming you to the Claremont international community, starting with Scripps International Pre-Orientation workshops, events, and engagement opportunities.

Please note that due to the fluid nature of COVID-19 and its associated guidelines, plans are subject to change. We will update this webpage as the changes occur. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Preparing for Your Arrival

Apply for a US Visa

International students who will attend college in the United States will likely need to apply for a student visa at least a few months prior to their arrival on campus. On this page, students will find helpful information to help guide them through the student visa application process.

Important US Department of State Information and Updates

As of March 20, 2020, the US Department of State has temporarily suspended routine visa services at all US Embassies and Consulates. Incoming students and scholars should monitor their nearest US embassy or consulate to schedule a visa interview once they reopen.

The Visa Process

After gaining admission to Scripps College and receiving your I-20 or DS-2019 from your international student advisor or sponsor, you will need to apply for a visa in order to enter the United States. Citizens of Canada and of Bermuda do not need to apply for an F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor visa at a US consulate; however, they do need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and must present their valid passport, I-20 (for students in the F-1 immigration status) or DS-2019 (for students and scholars in the J-1 immigration status), and SEVIS I-901 fee receipt to US immigration officials at the US port of entry.

Applying from the Country of Home Residence

Department of State regulations first direct those requiring a visa to enter the US to apply for a visa “at a consular office having jurisdiction over the alien’s place of residence.” This means that, generally, you must apply for your student visa in your home country, at the US Embassy or consulate nearest your home. Every consulate is able to set their own procedures, and they can vary greatly in terms of hours of operation, documents required, waiting periods, etc.

A good place to start for information on how to apply for your visa is the US Department of State Study and Exchange website.

One very important aspect of the visa application process is payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee.  This fee is required of all F and J visa applicants prior to issuance of the visa.  Please see the Student and Exchange Visitor SEVIS I-901 Fee website. Once you pay the fee you should print (and keep an electronic copy) of your receipt, and be prepared to present it each time you enter the US on your F or J visa.

Upon traveling to the US, make sure you carry your I-20 or DS-2019 with you (do not pack it in checked luggage) as you will need to present it to the US Border Control official upon arrival.

Visit the International Page on the Registrar’s website for additional information.

Contact Kelly Hogencamp, the Primary Designated School Official (PDSO) for questions that are specific to your circumstances.

Immigration Regulations

It is important that students are aware of and comply with the various immigration regulations that affect international students. Below is some general information about immigration. If you have more specific questions about your circumstances, visit the International Page on the Registrar’s website or contact Kelly Hogencamp, the Primary Designated School Official (PDSO).

Maintaining Your Immigration Status

Full-time Enrollment

F-1 and J-1 students must maintain full-time enrollment each fall and spring semester unless they have received approval from their international student advisor.

Valid Passport

Make sure your passport is valid at all times. To renew your passport while in the US, you need to contact your local embassy or consulate.

Travel Signature

You must have a valid travel signature (p. 2 of your I-20 or p. 1 of your DS-2019) in order to return to the US after a trip abroad. The travel signature can be no older than 1 year (6 months for students on OPT) upon your return to the US. The travel signature can be used multiple times; there is no need for a new travel signature for each time you travel, and you do not need a new signature if your current one will be less than one year old (6 months for students on OPT) upon your return to the US. See your international student advisor well in advance of your travel date if you will need a new travel signature. DO NOT wait until the week of travel to get a new signature.

Determine if you need a new Form I-20 or travel signature (for F-1 students)

US Address

F-1 and J-1 students must report any change of address to their international student advisor within 10 days of making that change. This includes address changes for students who normally live on campus and who remain in the US during summer living off-campus.

Completion of Academic Program

F-1 and J-1 students are expected to complete their academic program by the end date shown on their I-20 (F-1 students) or DS-2019 (J-1 students).  If you plan to depart the US after you complete your studies at Scripps College, keep in mind that you can remain in the US no later than 60 days after the program end date on your I-20 if you hold F-1 status, and no later than 30 days after the program end date on your DS-2019 if you hold J-1 status. Contact your international student advisor well in advance of that end date if:

  • You need additional time to complete your program
  • You plan to apply for Optional Practical Training or Academic Training upon program completion
  • You plan to enroll in some other US school after completing your studies at Scripps College

I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

You should check the US Customs and Border Protection I-94 website each time you return to the US to make sure your arrival and departure history is accurate. Your international student advisor may request a copy of that record. You will also need a copy of that record when applying for a Social Security Number or a California Driver License.

Medical and Health History

New students must have their physician complete a more comprehensive health form, located here. Once completed, please follow instructions for uploading or sending the form to SHS.

If you are a returning student and do not have a completed health form on file with SHS, you will be expected to provide the form prior to fall arrival. Further questions regarding immunizations and vaccines should be directed to Student Health Services. For the 2021–22 academic year, all forms should be submitted no later than August 1, 2021, to avoid move-in delays.

Unlike several countries, the United States does not provide socialized or national health care. Before you need to use the local health care system, it is good to understand it. The US health care system can be quite expensive. Most people in the United States have health insurance to minimize the costs.