Incoming International Students

On this page, you will find information about beginning your international student career at Robert Morris University. If you are still in the application process, please refer to RMU’s international admissions webpage. The international admissions page will tell you what materials you need to submit with your application, including English proficiency scores, financial statements, passport documentation, and more.

Requesting my I-20

When you are admitted to RMU, we send information on how to set up your RMU (Sentry Secured) student account to your personal email. It is important that you set up your new RMU student account as soon as possible so that we can start issuing your I-20. Once you activate your student account, you will see instructions for requesting your I-20. This includes paying your $500 deposit to RMU. It is important that you fill out the “Requesting I-20” form completely and accurately so that there is no delay in issuing your I-20. 

Please pay special attention to the home (permanent) address you enter. The U.S. government requires you maintain a home address outside the U.S. Even if you currently live in the U.S., you still have to maintain and show evidence of a foreign residence. If you gave a U.S. address on your RMU application, you will have to update that address in your RMU student account portal to meet the foreign residency requirement.

*Note: Remember to go back to your “Request I-20” form after you change your address to complete the request process.

If you have any questions about the process, please email newi20@rmu.edu

Paying the SEVIS Fee

Before traveling to the United States to start your first semester, the U.S. government requires that you pay a SEVIS registration fee (I-901 SEVIS fee) in order to study in the U.S.* The current fee is $350. Once we issue your I-20, you will receive instructions about how to pay this fee. 

Note: You do not need to pay a SEVIS registration fee if you are transferring between universities or between education levels while you are still maintaining your status. But, if you have been out of status for more than five months (for example, if you took a year break between an undergraduate and graduate degree), you need a new SEVIS ID number and need to pay the registration fee again. We will confirm your status once you submit your “Requesting I-20” form. 

Residents of some countries have to use Western Union Quick Pay to complete this payment. To find out if you are required to pay via Western Union and how to do that, please follow the instructions here.

*RMU requires that you pay this fee before we mail your I-20. 

If you have any questions or issues uploading your SEVIS fee receipt, please email newi20@rmu.edu.

Applying for a U.S. Visa

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Once you get your SEVIS ID number, you can apply for a visa appointment using Form DS-160. Remember that you must bring your I-20 and proof of SEVIS payment to the appointment, so do not schedule an appointment too early in the process. It might take a few weeks for your I-20 to be delivered after you get the notice that it has been issued. 
  • Visa appointment wait times can vary dramatically by country, or even different regions within a country. Check the Department of State website for your Embassy or Consulate's current wait time and plan accordingly.
  • At your appointment, the Consulate officer will ask you questions to determine your intent to return home and prove that you have adequate funding for your degree program. Be prepared to answer the questions they ask honestly and directly, especially those regarding your reasons for studying at RMU, and any questions regarding previous travel or study in the U.S. Remember, only you can convince the U.S. Consulate that you should be issued a student visa.

Once you have your I-20 from RMU, please follow this checklist to prepare for your visa appointment:

Visa Appointment Checklist:

  • Complete Form DS-160 carefully and honestly. The government recommends you access the form via Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers. 
  • Print your Form DS-160 confirmation receipt. We recommend you also save an electronic copy of the form.
  • Double check that you have originals of the following:
    • Signed I-20
    • Passport that is valid for at least six more months
    • RMU Acceptance Letter
    • Bank Statements, Scholarships, NLIs (athletic letter of intent), or other proof of funding
    • I-901 SEVIS registration fee receipt for RMU admission
    • TOEFL, IELTS, or SAT Verbal Scores if required for English proficiency
    • Graduate Students Only: GMAT or GRE scores if required by your degree program
    • Any other documents the Consulate requests

For more information about the process, please visit this page.

Traveling to the US

Congratulations, your visa was approved! Now you can begin making your plans to travel to the U.S. On your I-20, you will see several important dates. One of those dates indicates the earliest possible day you are allowed to enter the U.S. using your student visa, which is dated 30 days before your program start date. Your program start date is the absolute last day you should plan to arrive in order to prepare for the semester and attend mandatory orientation. 

When you arrive in the U.S. at a POE (Point of Entry), Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agents will look at your documents again to make sure you have everything you need to enter the U.S. using an F-1 visa. If you are missing any documents, they might issue you a Form I-515A, but they can also deny you entry to the U.S. and you will have to return to your home country to get the additional documentation CBP requires. 

Make sure the following documents are with you the entire time you travel. DO NOT PACK THESE IN CHECKED BAGGAGE. CARRY THEM WITH YOU ON THE PLANE.

  • Original I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) for Robert Morris University that states you are entering the U.S. in Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status
  • A valid F-1 visa* issued by the Department of State (DOS), located in your valid, unexpired passport
  • SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
  • RMU admissions letter
  • Any further travel plans (e.g., proof of your connecting flight to Pittsburgh International Airport)
  • We also recommend you keep copies of your proof of funding, and any documents that your Consulate required you to bring to your visa appointment.

When you enter the U.S., a digital I-94 card will be created for you. Please print it out once you have arrived at RMU. Your I-94 number is used by immigration officials and the university to make sure you are following your visa-specific travel rules. 
*Canadian citizens: You do not need a visa stamp. Please remember to bring all other documents with you when you arrive. When you speak with a CBP officer, make sure you clearly state that you have an I-20 to process and that you are entering the U.S. for F-1 study purposes.
Remember to follow all steps of your admitted student checklist provided by the Office of Admission.

International Student Orientation

Mandatory Spring 2020 orientation dates: Thursday, January 9 and Friday, January 10.

We are delighted that you have chosen to join the RMU international community. We, at the Center for Global Engagement, are committed to making your stay at RMU a pleasant and successful one. To accomplish this goal, we have scheduled an orientation program to help you get adjusted to our campus and the Pittsburgh area.

This program includes information about academic advising, student activities, residence life, health issues, and campus safety. It will contain important immigration information that all students are expected to know. We will take a tour of the Pittsburgh area. In addition, we have scheduled several special events so that you can become acquainted with us and with other international students.

Please check your RMU email for specific times, locations, and other updates about orientation.

Other Topics

Dependent I-20 (F-2)

These instructions are for incoming students only; please go here if you are already a student at RMU.
 
If you are traveling to the U.S. with any dependents (such as a spouse or children), they will also need their own I-20s to lawfully enter the U.S. 

You should be prepared to prove that you can fund their living expenses during the duration of your studies in the U.S. Currently, RMU requires that you show proof of an additional $5,000 USD per dependent. 

Instructions for adding a dependent to your record is available on the Requesting I-20 form through your RMU student account portal. Please fill out this information while you complete the form.

Note: If your dependent is younger than 13 years of age when you request their I-20, please contact our staff at newi20@rmu.edu. Please put “F-2 Request” in the subject line of your email. Please attach the following to your email:
    

  • Copy of birth certificate (translated into English) for each dependent under 13.
  • Valid passport (photo page) for each dependent under 13.

Transferring from Another University

Visit the International Admissions webpage to learn how to apply to RMU as an international transfer student.

After receiving admission from RMU, you need to first speak with your DSO at your current university or college and provide them with any information they request. Also show them a copy of your RMU acceptance letter and RMU International Transfer Form. They will work with us directly to transfer your SEVIS record to RMU. Make sure you remain in good academic standing at your current school in order to stay in F-1 status. Keep in mind that your record will not be transferred to RMU until the end of the semester in which you are currently enrolled.

More information is available here.

Finding Housing at RMU

  • RMU on-campus housing information is available here.
  • Want to live off-campus? Students who do not live on campus are responsible for finding their own housing. The CGE recommends you give yourself time to find housing before you start classes to avoid added stress during your first semester at RMU. 
    • Students who want to live in Pittsburgh should keep in mind that there are students in many universities also seeking housing, especially from July-September each year.
    • Students arriving for Spring semester should keep in mind that some businesses may have limited hours between December 24-January 2 because of the U.S. holidays. 
    • Remember that when you live off-campus, you need to prepare for additional costs of living, including utilities (e.g., water, electricity), transportation to the university, renter’s insurance, and furniture.
  • Need a place to stay while you find housing? There are several hotels that offer transportation to and from the airport. 

Driving

Please click here if you plan to drive while studying in the U.S. It is important that you bring your valid driving documents with you when you travel to the U.S. You cannot apply for a Driver’s License until you have registered in SEVIS during your New International Student Orientation.

Health Insurance Requirements

One of your tasks in your admitted student checklist is to verify that you have health insurance and submit your Student Health Form. There are instructions on the form for completing the document and submitting it. You need proof of health insurance if you have it (copy of your health insurance card); otherwise, you will need to buy health insurance in the U.S. If you do not provide proof of insurance, you will be charged for Robert Morris’s health insurance. Please click here to learn more about what your health insurance needs to cover and how much RMU’s insurance costs each semester.