Information for New PhD Students

Congratulations on your admission to Yale! We understand that you will have many questions about coming to Yale and New Haven.  The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) is here to provide answers. Please don't hesitate to contact our office at this special email address set up specifically for new students: The information on this page provides an overview of the immigration steps you can begin work on today:

1. Accept Your Offer of Admission

All new GSAS students receive their admissions offer through the Graduate School admissions website, as well as a paper copy of the admissions letter. Your first step in the visa process is to go online and accept the offer of admission!

2. Obtaining an Immigration Document

After accepting your offer of admission, you will receive an email from OISS requesting additional information. We typically send this email 4-5 days after you accept your offer of admission. This email will provide instructions for obtaining an immigration document (an I-20 or DS-2019).  Please remember to tell us if you are participating in a program prior to the beginning of the fall semester. After receiving your information and all required supporting documentation, OISS will issue your immigration document (I-20). This generally takes two weeks. Your school will mail this document to you via courier service to the address listed on your Yale application.

3. Paying the SEVIS Fee & Applying for the Student Visa

After you receive your I-20, you will need to pay the SEVIS fee before applying for your F-1 visa.  With the I-20 and SEVIS receipt you will be ready to apply for your U.S. visa. 

4. Before You Leave Home

As you prepare to depart, you will have many questions about living in New Haven, including the items listed on this page.  You may want to be in touch other students and scholars through Yale's student organizations or in the department or school with which you will affiliated.  

5. Refer to the GSAS New Student Checklist

The Graduate School New Student Checklist is a to-do list of tasks and information for incoming GSAS students, including required forms for ID Cards, health and more. Please read carefully and attend to the due dates to be prepared to start at Yale in August. 

6. Arrive in the U.S.

Upon arrival, you will be inspected by a Customs and Border Protection officer and complete the I-94 data collection. Be sure to have your passport and immigration documents with you.  Do not pack them in your checked luggage.  Before you leave the officer make sure your passport has a new ink entry stamp.

7. OISS Check-In & Orientation for International Students

All new Graduate School students will receive an email invitation prior to their arrival to attend an OISS orientation on a specified date.  Please review the Fall 2015 schedule here.