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Office of International Education
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. If there is a situation that necessitates entering the U.S. after the program start date indicated on your document, please contact the Office 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.

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. This orientation always takes place prior to other mandatory orientation provided by SUNY ESF and is typically 1-2 weeks prior to the start of the semester. For more information on time, date, and location, please email the Office of International Education at

Other ESF Orientations

You must also attend the applicable college orientation:

  • First Year Undergraduate Orientation Program

  • Undergraduate Transfer Student Orientation Program

  • Graduate Orientation Program

    • If you will work on campus as a student assistant (graduate or research), you may also be required to attend the College-Wide Graduate Assistant Colloquium on Teaching and Learning.

Immigration Check-in at ESF

You must check-in at the ESF Office of International Education upon your arrival in Syracuse, NY. There will be a sign up form at orientation for you to schedule an appointment during the week before classes. Please bring a completed SEVIS Registration 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) 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.

English Language Assessment Exam (ELAE)

  • Required for all undergraduate non-exchange 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.