New Student Arrival & Orientation

You are eligible to enter the U.S. as early as 30 days prior to the start of your academic program as indicated in item 5 of your I-20 or item 3 of your DS-2019. You are expected to enter the U.S. in time to attend the mandatory International Student Orientation and the English Language Assessment Exam if you are an undergraduate student (new or transfer) or a graduate student with a language proficiency score under 600 (TOEFL paper-based test); 100 (TOEFL internet-based (IBT) version); 7.0 (IELTS); or attended Syracuse University’s English Language Institute.

If there is a situation that necessitates entering the U.S. after the program start date indicated on your document, please contact the Coordinator of International Education as you will require a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a later program start date to enter the U.S.

Immigration Check-in at ESF

Upon arrival in Syracuse, NY, after the International Student Orientation, you must check-in at the ESF Office of International Education. The Office of International Education hours of operation are noted on the main Office of International Education webpage; You will sign up for an appointment during the International Student Orientation.

Please bring a completed New International Student Check-In Form, and all of your (and your dependent’s) immigration documents (e.g., I-20/DS-2019, passport with visa stamp, and electronic I-94 card - click here for I-94) with you when you come to your check-in appointment. All of your documents will be scanned and an electronic student file will be created for you.

International Student Orientation

All new international students are required to attend a MANDATORY International Student Orientation provided by SUNY-ESF's Office of International Education.

  • New Undergraduate and Graduate International Student Orientation (Mandatory)
    Thursday, January 14, 2016
    Time: 9:00AM
    Location: 110 Moon Library, SUNY-ESF campus (map)
    Please bring your immigration documents.

ESF Orientations

You must also attend the applicable college orientation:

English Language Assessment Exam (ELAE)

  • Required for all undergraduate students (new and transfer) in order to determine the proper English class placement.
  • Required for graduate students who:
    • obtained a TOEFL score under 600; under 250 if you took the computerized test; under 100 if you took the internet-based, IBT, version,;
    • obtained an IELTS score under 7.0; or
    • attended SU's English Language Institute.
  • The English Language Assessment Exam (ELAE) will be offered on: January 17, 9:00-noon, in Gifford Auditorium, HB Crouse. Students should arrive between 8:30am and 8:45am to be seated and bring their ESF ID card and a pencil (two parts of the exam are graded by computer, and answers cannot be changed if done in ink). The exam contains three parts: a composition on an assigned topic; a test of listening comprehension; and a test of grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. If you are an undergraduate student, the results of the exam will tell you which ENL/WRT course you should take to begin completing your undergraduate writing requirement. If you are a graduate student, further language study might be recommended, but not required, so this does not usually affect your course of study. For more information, contact Dr. Margo Sampson prior to the beginning of the semester. You must present your student ID to take all language placement tests.


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