Pre-Arrival Guide

Download Pre-Arrival Guide [PDF]


We are pleased to welcome you to Stony Brook University and we are looking forward to your active participation in the academic and social life of the University. This booklet will assist you in making preparations for your trip to the United States and serve as an easy reference guide once you have arrived.

Please read this essential information carefully. If you have any questions about preparing for arrival or arriving in the United States, please contact us. You will find our contact information under “Quick Reference” Section.

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University was established in 1957. In 1962, the campus moved to its present 1,000-acre wooded location on the north shore of Long Island, 60 miles east of New York City. The University has grown to an enrollment of more than 23,354 students. The distinguished international faculty of over 1,900
members attracts more than $150 million in external research support. The Wall Street Journal ranked Stony Brook eighth among public universities, based on students advancing to elite graduate programs.

There are many features that distinguish Stony Brook as a world-class university, including our international student body. Our campus community is diverse, representing over 100 different countries. We are looking forward to having you join us as an active participant in the many academic, social and cultural activities offered on campus.

Visa and Immigration Services

Visa and Immigration Services provides advice and assistance to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and visiting scholars on matters related to studying and living in the United States. These matters include immigration, employment, taxes, financial management, and a wide variety of cross-cultural issues. We provide informational and social programs for new and continuing international students on a regular basis.

Our Visa and Immigration Services staff members have lived, worked and studied in many different countries, including Australia, Austria, Barbados, Benin, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Jamaica, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and U.S. Virgin Islands, and have many years of experience in international education. Each year we look forward to welcoming new students to Stony Brook and are eager to help you adjust to American culture.

Visa and Immigration Services staff members are familiar with questions and concerns of international students and the U.S. system of education, and are available to help you prior to arrival and throughout your stay at Stony Brook University. Our orientation program is designed to help familiarize you with aspects of U.S.
education and culture and provide you with specific information about study at Stony Brook University. We will also inform you of U.S. immigration regulations that you will need to know for maintaining your immigration status. Orientation allows time to get to know your International Student Advisers, make new friends and overcome jet-lag before school starts.

Federal immigration regulations require that the University maintain accurate information regarding F-1 and J-1 students studying at Stony Brook. All new F-1 and J-1 students meet with an International Student Adviser for “check-in” and an “intake” interview within 30 days of arrival in the United States. The Visa and Immigration Services office must report required information to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Your international student adviser will meet with you regularly throughout your stay in the U.S.


The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a real-time, federal immigration database for all F-1, F-2, J-1 and J-2 nonimmigrants. All Forms I-20 and Forms DS-2019 are created in SEVIS. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) maintains electronic records during each student’s stay in the United States. Information from the SEVIS database is shared with embassies, consulates, ports of entry, U.S. Department of Education and other government agencies.

To maintain your immigration status, events such as class registration, changes of address, changes of financial support and other actions must be reported to Visa and Immigration Services in a timely manner for required SEVIS updates.

Orientation is our first opportunity to make you aware of the reporting requirements. Your ability to maintain your immigration status depends primarily on your awareness and understanding of F-1 and J-1 regulations. Failure to comply with reporting requirements can result in the termination of a student’s
program in SEVIS.