F-1 International Student Checklist

Congratulations on your acceptance to Montclair State University! We want you to have an easy transition to University life and we hope this checklist will help as you prepare to arrive on campus.

Please read the checklist carefully and follow all the necessary steps.

The Office of Global Engagement at Montclair State University is available to assist international students through every stage of the journey from new applicant through to graduation.

After attending your visa interview appointment, please let us know the result by emailing

Step 1
Know Your Campus-wide ID (CWID) and PIN

Your Campus-Wide ID (CWID) and PIN are your keys to becoming a Montclair State University student.

Undergraduate Students: These were assigned to you when you were accepted to the University. You will find your CWID and PIN in your acceptance letter. You will use your CWID and PIN to submit your New Student Deposit.

Graduate Students: You must confirm your admission offer in order to obtain your CWID. Refer to your letter of admission to do so.

Questions about this step? Misplaced your CWID and PIN? Undergraduate students: contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at 973-655-4444 or email msuadm@montclair.edu for assistance. Graduate students:  contact The Graduate School at 973-655-5147 or email graduate@montclair.edu for assistance.

Step 2
Let us know you're committing to Montclair State University

To reserve your place at Montclair State University, simply submit your deposit*:

Freshmen/Transfer students: Pay your deposit
Deposit Deadline: May 1st

Graduate students: Confirm your admission AND pay your international graduate enrollment deposit
Deposit Deadline: July 1st (or May 1st if requesting on-campus housing)

To pay your deposit, use your Campus Wide ID (CWID) provided in your acceptance letter. Log in using your CWID (the eight-digit number) and your PIN, which is your six-digit date of birth (MMDDYY).

All students:

  • You can pay the enrollment confirmation/deposit via credit card (use the red link on the pages noted above) or via other options (including bank transfer/wire transfer) using PayMyTuition.
  • If you are planning to live on campus, you may also submit your housing deposit* at this time. Once you pay the deposit, you’ll receive an email from the Office of Residence Life (in 24-48 hours) with the next steps (this will include completing an agreement, choosing your preferences and then selecting your housing). Other information about the room rates, available housing, and amenities can be accessed here: https://www.montclair.edu/residence-life/
  • The new student deposit and housing deposit are non-refundable. On-campus housing is guaranteed for students who have paid their housing deposit by May 1. Housing is available on a first-come, first-served basis for those who pay their housing deposit after May 1.
  • Questions about your New Student Deposit or confirming your spot? Undergraduate students: contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at 973-655-4444 or email msuadm@montclair.edu for assistance. Graduate students:  contact The Graduate School at 973-655-5147 or email graduate@montclair.edu for assistance.

Questions about your Housing Deposit and Application? Contact the Office of Residence Life at 973-655-5188 or email reslife@montclair.edu for assistance.

Please allow 24-48 hours for your payment(s)/confirmation to be processed.

Step 3
Register for an Admitted Student Webinar

Join us for one of our admitted student sessions. We will offer monthly general sessions and sessions specifically about the visa process.  Learn more about:

  • Visa process and interview tips
  • Packing tips, travel, and arrival
  • Location and housing options
  • Campus resources
  • Employment
  • Tuition and payment plans
  • Next steps/orientation
  • And more!

We will also offer four special one-time sessions about on-campus housing, graduate course registration, bill payment and insurance, and an “ask a student” session featuring some of our current international students.

Undergraduate students coming to Montclair to study a bachelor’s degree: Undergraduate Students Register Here

Graduate students coming to Montclair to study a master’s or PhD: Graduate Students Register Here

Step 4
Activate your NetID

Your NetID is your Montclair State University email account login ID and your ID for other web-based University systems. Your NetID and instructions for how to activate it will be emailed to you 3 business days after you submit your deposit.

Once your NetID has been activated, you will begin receiving communications to your Montclair State University email account from your academic advisors and other University staff. To log in, visit gmail.com, enter your NetID@montclair.edu, use your NetID password and click “Sign in”.

Questions about this step? Undergraduate students: contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at 973-655-4444 or email msuadm@montclair.edu for assistance. Graduate students:  contact The Graduate School at 973-655-5147 or email graduate@montclair.edu for assistance.

Step 5
Submit Your I-20 Application and Required Documents

To apply for an F-1 visa or to transfer your existing F-1 record, you are required to apply for a Form I-20.

Please note that you must complete Steps #1 and #2 on the International Student Checklist before you can apply for your Form I-20.

  • Complete the “Application for I-20 and Affidavit of Support” document
    • DO NOT HANDWRITE-only the signatures can be handwritten (note: an electronic signature can be used in lieu of a “wet” signature). All other fields must be typed.
  • Access your admissions portal.
  • Upload documents to the corresponding checklist items:
    • Passport: upload a copy of the face-page of your passport.
    • Financial Documents: combine all financial documents into one PDF. If you have received an assistantship or scholarship, please note the amount on the affidavit and upload financial documents showing sufficient funds to cover the remaining balance.
    • Application for I-20 and Affidavit of Support: combine all signed affidavits and the application into one PDF. If living off-campus for free with a friend or family member, upload the Affidavit of Free Room and Board form and supporting documentation to this same checklist item as one PDF.

IMPORTANT: Ensure that you are uploading these three documents into the three separate checklist items with the corresponding names. If uploaded correctly, a green check-mark will appear next to each item within 24 hours. If any red “x’s” remain, there is a problem and you must re-submit the missing item(s).

For additional assistance with this process, please see our How to Apply for the I-20 webpage or contact I-20@montclair.edu.

Please allow at least 10 business days (business days are Monday through Friday) to review your application. After it is reviewed, we will contact you by email with a status update, requesting additional information if needed. If approved, please follow the emailed instructions to download your I-20 and to arrange for shipping of the original document.

Students who are already in the U.S. on active F-1 status:

  • Submit the Application for I-20 and Affidavit of Support and the required documents noted per the procedure above.
  • You must have the international student advisor at your current university release your SEVIS record to us. Let your advisor know that Montclair’s F-1 School Code is NEW214F01039000. Your immigration documents can only be issued after your current university releases your SEVIS record to Montclair State University. Please contact the international student advisor at your current institution for information about how to transfer your SEVIS record to Montclair State University as each university has a different internal process.
  • You will need to ask your international advisor at your current school to transfer your F-1 SEVIS record to Montclair State University, and provide them a copy of your Montclair State University acceptance letter.
Step 6
Pay the SEVIS fee

The SEVIS fee, also known as the Federal SEVIS I-901 fee, is a mandatory fee that must be paid by student and exchange visitors before applying for an F-1. The fee is $350 for the F-1 visa. The fee can be paid by credit card, Western Union Quick Pay, or by mail.  We do not recommend paying the fee by mail for it might take as long as four weeks to be processed. To pay the fee online, follow these instructions:

  • Visit http://www.fmjfee.com
  • Complete the form I-901. Be sure that you enter your personal information exactly as it appears on your I-20.
  • The Montclair State University school code is: NEW214F01039000
  • The SEVIS ID number is printed on the top left of your I-20. The SEVIS number starts with the letter N.
  • Once you have paid using a credit card, print the receipt. Do not exit the receipt page until you print the receipt. You will not be able to return to the receipt page once closed.

A prospective F student with a country of citizenship or who was born in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, or Gambia must pay by money order, Western Union Quick Pack, or certified check drawn from a U.S. bank.

SEVP will accept third party payments, meaning someone else can pay your I-901 SEVIS fee for you. For students who cannot pay the fee by credit card, third party payers are also restricted from paying the fee by credit card. For instructions on how to complete the Western Union Quick pay/Quick Collect form, please visit: https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/wu-instructions

Step 7
Apply for Your F-1 Visa

Complete the online application form DS-160 (some applicants will also be required to submit a form DS-157). All forms must be completed and signed, and can be found at http://evisaforms.state.gov/default.asp. A separate form is needed for children, even if they are included in their parent’s passport. PLEASE NOTE: When filling out the DS-160 click the “do not know” check box under contact person and type Montclair State University under Organization Name.

Visit http://www.usembassy.gov to locate the embassy or consulate near you to schedule your required visa appointment.  Wait times for an appointment can be lengthy so apply as soon as possible upon receiving your I-20.

As you prepare for your visa appointment, you may wish to contact an EducationUSA Advising Center in your home country. See www.educationusa.info for more information. The EducationUSA Advising Center can give you helpful information about application procedures specific to your home country. If possible, you may want to attend a pre-departure orientation program organized by the center. This orientation will likely include information not only about applying for the visa, but also about American culture.  We also recommend that you review NAFSA’s 10 Points to Remember to prepare for your visa interview.

Prepare the following documents for the visa interview at your local U.S. embassy or consulate:

  • Passport valid for up to 6 months past the intended end date on your I-20

  • I-20

  • Admission letter from Montclair State University

  • Receipt of SEVIS fee payment

  • Documented proof of financial support

  • Test scores and academic records

  • 2×2 visa photo (for specific requirements visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/photos.html)

  • Additional documents as required by the embassy or consulate (check your home country’s embassy or consulate for more information)

Canadian Students*

  • Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a visa to enter the United States; however, they must obtain an I-20 and pay the SEVIS fee before entering the US.

  • The following documents must be presented to the customs officer either at the border or airport:

    • Valid passport

    • Admission letter from Montclair State University

    • Receipt of SEVIS fee payment

    • Documented proof of financial support

    • I-20

*Permanent residents of Canada are required to obtain a visa before entering the United States.

Please inform us of the outcome of your visa interview so that we can update our records – I-20@montclair.edu.

Step 8
Complete Mandatory Health Requirements

The University Health Center oversees all mandatory health requirements for student enrollment.  Before you join us on campus for the start of your term you will need to:

  • Submit your immunization records to the University Health Center. Important: you can only access this portal approximately 5 days after submission of your deposit (undergraduate students) or submission of deposit and registration for classes (graduate students).
    • Fall 2023 students: submit your records by May 22, 2023. Students admitted after this time should submit these records as soon as possible.
  • Your personal medical records or records from your high school or another university must be submitted.
  • Scan and Upload the forms into the online MyHealth Portal. Please note that the University Health Center is no longer accepting documentation in paper form. Therefore, please do not mail completed forms to the University. Instead, scan and upload all documents online in the portal. For additional information about using the portal, see the online instructions. Questions about this step? Contact the University Health Center at +1-973-655-3459 or email askanurse@montclair.edu for assistance.
  • Ensure adequate health insurance coverage. All F-1 Montclair State University students are required to have health insurance coverage. Montclair State University will automatically enroll you in the Student Health Insurance Plan provided through the University. If you have private health insurance coverage, you must waive this enrollment by showing proof of other insurance. You can waive the enrollment and health insurance premium fee by clicking here.

Questions about this step? Contact the University Health Center at +1-973-655-3459 or email askanurse@montclair.edu for assistance.

Once enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan, students can access their insurance card here.

Step 9
Register for In-Person Orientation

Register for the general and international orientation programs. You will be emailed information about how to register for orientation within a few weeks of your acceptance.

For more information, see our orientation page.

Step 10
Upload Your ID Card Photo

So your Student ID card can be available when you arrive on campus, please follow the instructions below:

Important: this step can only be completed 2-3 days after course registration.

  • Find/take a great photo of yourself! (Color photo only)
  • Crop from just above the top of your head to your shoulders. (Important – do not crop off any part of your head!)
  • Photo should have you looking straight ahead into the camera.
  • No hats, sunglasses, emojis, hands, hair or anything else should be obstructing/touching your face.
  • Use a flash to eliminate shadows on your face.
  • Stand against a light colored wall or door for the background.
  • Think of a driver’s license/passport photo but with a smile!

How To Upload Your Photo

  1. Log into the eAccounts website with your NetID and password and register your account if this is your first time visiting eAccounts.
  2. To register your account:
    • Click on the “Profile” tab
    • Click “Transaction System Registration” in the menu bar
    • Click “Register” to connect your account to the transaction system
  3. Now, you can submit your photo, click the “Profile” tab and then click “Click here to submit your photo link”. From here, you will be prompted to upload your photo.
  4. Within 24 hours (business days only) you will receive an automated email saying your photo was either approved or rejected.

Please Note: Photos are reviewed during business hours/days (excluding Fridays in the Summer, Saturdays, Sundays). After review, an automated email is sent informing you whether your photo has been accepted or rejected.

Step 11
Submit Your Final Transcripts

Your final college and high school transcripts/evaluation report (that show final grades for all coursework completed) should be submitted prior to the start of the semester.

Final transcripts from colleges outside of the U.S. must first be evaluated by an NACES-member evaluation company, and the official evaluation report must be sent to us directly from the evaluation company.

Official final transcripts from U.S. high schools or colleges must be sent to us directly from the school. The high school transcript requirement is waived for incoming transfer students who have earned an associate degree or 60+ credits from a four-year institution.

For electronic submissions, please use: msuadm@montclair.edu (undergraduate) or graduate@montclair.edu (graduate).

By mail, please use the following address:

Montclair State University
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
1 Normal Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07043
Montclair State University
The Graduate School
1 Normal Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07043
Step 12
Choose Your Arrival Date

Choose Your Arrival Date

When purchasing your plane ticket, international students should note the start date on your I-20. You are allowed to enter the United States no earlier than 30 days prior to the start date listed on the I-20.

For more information see Pre-Arrival Information. Please let us know once you have received your visa so that we can begin to prepare for your arrival – I-20@montclair.edu.

Step 13
Attend International Student Orientation

Attend International Student Orientation activities for international students as well as any mandatory general in-person or virtual orientation experiences.