New International Students

Welcome, your journey at the University of Memphis begins here! Review this page for all relevant information about you as a new international student, such as the I-20 process and insurance information. New students should refer to the I-20 SEVIS check-in program via their International Portal account for further information about matriculation. 

SEVIS Check-In > 


Enter the US with a University of Memphis I-20

To lessen any potential problems upon arrival in the United States, you are encouraged to follow the guidelines below:

  • Be certain to carry all three pages of the I-20 to the consular office and also carry them with you when crossing the U.S. border. Do not put cash, bank demand drafts, scholarship or sponsorship letters, the I-20, or your passport in your checked luggage – instead, keep these vitally important items well secured on your person.
  • Make sure that the school name listed on your F-1 visa page matches the school name on your I-20. If they do not match, see section II below.
  • Present both I-20 and the passport when entering the U.S. Note that the officer at the Port of Entry has complete discretion when deciding to let people cross the border into the U.S., and can also refuse to allow entry to the U.S. If there are questions regarding a new student's paperwork, the Homeland Security Officer at the border can also issue a form I-515 temporary entry permit. Please let our office know immediately if you receive this kind of document.
  • Come to campus and report to our office in a timely manner. The staff here will need to make photocopies of your passport, new border crossing stamp, visa page, and so on. We will also be collecting data from you regarding your planned address for the school year, so please plan accordingly.
  • Students are welcome to consider Residence Life on-campus housing.
  • Consider your insurance options prior to arriving. In the U.S., health insurance is not automatically provided but is instead a purchase to make from your choice of companies. See Insurance Information for F-1 Visa Holders Independent Insurance Options.


Important Information About I-20 Start Dates and Entry to the U.S.

Please see the most recent pandemic-related information from the U.S. government regarding travel to the U.S. here.

* Program Start Date refers to the start of Orientation and other new-student activities. This is the ideal time for the student to arrive. We normally have set this as the day of Orientation, the Wednesday prior to the start of classes.  Our next Orientation session for F-1 students is August 18, 2021. For more information, see our events page


* Session Start Date refers to the first day of classes.

* Officers at the port of entry may possibly decide to let a student in late, but this is not guaranteed.  If the student has a flight that is one or two days later than the Program Start Date on the I-20, our office can send a letter recommending late entry, but we can not recommend late entry to the U.S. beyond the last day of late registration on campus.

* Students are allowed to arrive 30 days prior to the start date shown on the I-20.  *Note - due to pandemic conditions, some countries may find that entry to the U.S. is barred until August 1st, 2021.

* F-1 students must enroll in full-time hours within 30 days of arrival inside the U.S.  For undergraduate students, this means 12 hours in total, 9 of which must be on campus.  For graduate students, 9 hours of course enrollment is required in total, with 6 of those hours on campus.

Fall 2021:
Program Start Date: August 18
Session Start Date: August 23

Click here for information on Travel Ban 3.0.

Requesting a Change to the Start Date on the I-20:

Students who can not enter the U.S. in time for the upcoming semester can request a change to the I-20 start date to match the next available term for full-time enrollment.  

Graduate Students - Please begin the process of changing your official semester of admission using this link, or contact the Graduate School directly if you have questions about the process of changing to a new semester start date.

Undergraduate Students - Please begin the process of changing the I-20 start date to a future semester by e-mailing the Undergraduate Admissions Office with your request for a new admission date.  Be sure to put "International - Defer to New Semester" in the subject line.