New Students and Visitors

The International Center Team welcomes you to Clarkson University. 

Whether you are a full-time international student completing a degree at the University, an exchange student from one of our partner universities, or a visiting scholar, these pages will provide you with the information to make a smooth transition to Clarkson. We hope that your stay at Clarkson will be both pleasant and rewarding and you use the International Center as a resource of information as you navigate challenging & rewarding experiences. We look forward to getting to know you and again WELCOME to CU!


Clarkson University welcomes applications to our undergraduate, graduate and exchange programs. Questions on your application should be directed to the undergraduate, graduate or exchange program office you are applying to.

Students who wish to study at Clarkson University at the undergraduate level will apply through our International Admissions Office. Please review information to determine if you need to apply as a first-year or transfer student. Email the Office of Undergraduate International Admissions at if you need clarification.

How to Apply as Transfer Student   How to Apply as First-Year Student

International Admissions will evaluate your application for admission and contact you of their decision. Please be sure you review estimated expenses for international students to ensure you have sufficient funds to cover the estimated costs of your program.

Students who wish to study at Clarkson University at the graduate level will apply directly with the graduate program you are interested in. Details on the programs offered and application process at the Graduate School pages.

How to Apply to Graduate Program

Once your application is received, you will receive an email from your graduate program/coordinator. Your application will be evaluated by the graduate program you are applying to and you will be notified of their decision. Please be sure to review estimated expenses for international students to ensure you have sufficient funds to cover the estimated costs of your graduate program. All applications are considered for all available forms of financial aid.

Students who want to transfer 'into' Clarkson University will complete an 'immigration transfer' after admitted to a program at CU. Following is the general process:

  1. Once admitted follow the instructions to accept your admission.
  2. After accepting your admission, complete the 'International Student Transfer In – Potsdam Campus' form. This form requires some data from our current International Advisor and notifies ISSS when we can expect your SEVIS record to be 'released' to CU.
  3. SEVIS release date – this is the date that your current school will 'release' your SEVIS record to CU and the earliest date CU can begin processing your 'transfer pending I-20 / DS-2019'. You are strongly encouraged to consult with your international advisor to determine your transfer eligibility and the best date to release your SEVIS record.
  4. Other Release Date notes:
    1. Once your record is released from your current school, you will be considered a student at Clarkson University.
    2. The release date is typically at the end of your current semester or program.
    3. You must be able to start your program at CU within 5-months of your OPT end date, program end date or the date your record is released, whichever is earlier.
    4. Those on OPT – your employment will end as of your release date.

Students attending the CRC graduate programs will process an immigration transfer as noted above. Please complete the International Student Transfer In - CRC Campus form for the Schenectady, NY campus.

Exchange Students

Clarkson University is a nationally ranked research university and the institution of choice for more than 3,400 enterprising, high-ability undergraduate and graduate students. Clarkson has strong undergraduate & graduate programs in engineering, business and the sciences. We invite students from our exchange colleges & universities to study for a semester or a full-year at our Potsdam, New York campus.

Exchange Student Researchers

An exchange student researcher is a student from our partner institutions that have been nominated to engage in 'research only' at Clarkson University.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) was developed by the Department of State to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges". Through this program – foreign nationals may visit the U.S. temporarily to teach, lecture, study, observe, conduct research, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills. Clarkson University has been designated to facilitate the entry of foreign national to the U.S. for any of the activities listed above.

Clarkson University is authorized to issue the following categories:

  • Professor/Research Scholar - Individual whose primary duties are teaching – lecturing – observing – conducting research – observing or consulting in connection with a research or teaching project. These categories co-mingle. Length of stay 3 weeks up to 5 years.
  • Short-Term Scholar - A Professor, research scholar or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the US on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing – observing – training – or demonstrating special skills. Length of Stay – up to 6-months.
  • Student Intern - Student pursuing a degree outside the US where the US internship is 'full-filling the educational objective for his/her degree program at home institution'.  Length of Stay – 3 weeks up to 1-year.

The first step is working with a Department or Faculty Sponsor to identify your proposed activity at Clarkson University. Once this has been identified, your Department/Faculty Sponsor will provide you the 'J-1 Scholar/Professor Application' to complete and return with other supporting documentation.

Supporting documentation includes:

  • Completed Application - Copy of passport for the J-1 scholar and any accompanying dependents.
  • Evidence of English Proficiency - Proof of adequate financial support.

After receiving all documents from the J-1 Applicant and Department as well as the supporting documents – the office of International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) will review and process the DS-2019 forms for the J-1 Scholar or Professor and all J-2 Dependents in the SEVIS (Student & Exchange Visor Information System) database.

Along with the DS-2019 – the ISSO will prepare a packet for the J-1 student intern to include the letter of invitation – information about the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program – paying the SEVIS fee – obtaining the J-1 visa – travel to the U.S.  – and – general information about the Clarkson University community.

Transfer To CU for J-1 Scholars - To transfer to Clarkson University – you and your current program sponsor will need to complete the J-1 Scholar Transfer 'In' form. In addition, your department or faculty sponsor at CU will provide you the J-1 Scholar/Professor Application to complete and return with supporting documentation.

Note – your transfer must be completed before the program end date on your DS-2019. You are encourage to begin your transfer program at least 60-days prior to the proposed program.

Visa Options

For Students

  • International students coming will primarily come to study at Clarkson University under the F or J student visa.
  • Students from our exchange partners may choose which visa classification to enter your exchange program on.
  • Most of our international students will enter under the F student visa. ISSS will review your eligibility if J student status is requested.
  • Student Interns will use the J Student Intern visa category. This status is for students pursuing a degree outside the U.S. where the U.S. internship is full-filling the educational objective for his/her degree program at your home institution’.

For Scholars

Professor/Research Scholar

Individual whose primary duties are teaching – lecturing – observing – conducting research – observing or consulting in connection with a research or teaching project. These categories co-mingle.

Length of Stay - 3 weeks to 5 years
Special Conditions
  • Visiting scholar may not be a candidate for tenure track position
  • Prior participation in any J category may subject the prospective  exchange visitor to the ’12-month bar’
    • 12-Month Bar – any individual will not be eligible to ‘begin a new exchange program’ under the ‘Professor/Research Scholar’ category if they have been in any J status (including J-2 status) in any of the 12 months prior to the intended program start date.
      • The 12-month bar has two exceptions – you are not subject to the 12-month bar if you are a J-1 transfer or you were in J-1 status under the ‘short-term scholar’ category and spent less than 6 months in J status. Please contact ISSS with any questions or concerns regarding the 12-month bar
  • Prior participation in the Professor or Research category may subject the exchange visitor to the ’24-month bar’ on repeat participation
    • 24-Month Repeat Participation Bar – upon completion of an exchange program under the ‘Professor/Research Scholar’ categories you are required to have a ‘gap of 2-years’ between the end of any previous J-1 Professor/Research Scholar program and the beginning of a new J-1 Professor/Research Scholar program. This bar applies to J-2 dependents and has no exceptions. Careful consideration on the total time necessary to complete one’s program/collaboration should be taken into account when planning a visit under the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program in the Professor/Research Scholar categories. Please contact the ISSO with any questions or concerns regarding the 24-month bar on repeat participation.
      Short-Term Scholar
      A Professor, research scholar or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the US on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing – observing – training – or demonstrating special skills.
Length of stay – up to 6-months
Student Intern

Student pursuing a degree outside the US where the US internship is ‘full-filling the educational objective for his/her degree program at home institution’.

Length of Stay – 3 weeks up to 1-year
Special Conditions
  • Internship may be paid or unpaid
  • Must be full-time – at least 32 hours/week
  • Must fulfill the education objective for his/her current degree program at home institution
  • All tasks assigned must be ‘necessary for completion of the student internship program’
  • Student participation may be with or without wages – however – to be employed the student intern will require work authorization by the
  • International Students & Scholars office and the home institution dean or academic advisor
  • Internship tasks may consist of no more than 20 percent clerical work
  • Internship must expose intern to ‘American techniques, methodologies, and technology’ and expand existing knowledge and skills. The internship cannot duplicate prior experience.
  • Internships cannot place a student intern in any position that involved the following:
  • Unskilled or casual labor
  • Child or elder care
  • Aviation
  • Clinical positions
  • Any "position, occupation, or business that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department of State into notoriety or disrepute" [22 C.F.R. 62.23(i)(8)(ii)]

All J Categories Special Condition

2-year Home Residency Requirement – 212(e) - When a person is ‘subject to 212(e)’ – it makes certain J Exchange Visitors (and their dependents) ineligible for ‘H’ – ‘L’ – or ‘Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)’ status until they have returned to and been physically present in their home country for a period of 2-years after completion of the J program. Therefore – a person who is subject cannot enter the U.S. in ‘H’ – ‘L’ – or ‘LPR’ status (or change their status to any status – other than A or G - within the U.S.) until this 2-year requirement has been completed. However, ‘212(e)’ does not prohibit a foreign national from applying for other visa classifications if they are otherwise eligible – such as – ‘B – Tourist’ – ‘F – Student’ – or – another ‘J – Exchange Visitor’ status.

Other Visa Options

While F-1 / J-1 account for the majority of the international students and scholars at Clarkson University – there are other entry options available. Each option has specific restrictions and limitations so please review carefully.

Business and Tourist Visa

The B1 visitor for business can be used for visitors who wish to come to the U.S. to engage in temporary business or professional activities related to their employment or business at home. Immigration regulations defines the term ‘business’ in reference to conventions, conferences, consultations and other legitimate activities of a commercial or professional nature. It does not include local employment or labor for hire. INA 101(a)(15)(B)

Scholars who plan to pay a short visit to Clarkson University may use the B1/B2 visa classification. It is not intended for use by a scholar accepting any type of formal academic appointment for a term or longer. A visiting researcher may use this category for short visits.

  • A visiting scholar (faculty or researcher) may visit for up to 90 days to engage in lectures – conferences – seminars – or – independent research
    Note – If the research is collaborative in nature and/or advances the student’s program at the home institution – J EV visa should be used.
  • No class enrollment required – no study is allowed
  • No limitations on source of funding – no salary or compensation is allowed
  • Visitors be reimbursed for expenses
  • May receive academic appointments but cannot receive any salary or compensation for services.
  • Letter of invitation from CU is required and must include the following
  • Statement of invitation
  • Exact dates of the visit
  • Information about the purpose of the trip
  • Description of activities during the visit
  • Funding source information
  • Upon receipt of the invitation letter – the visitor will apply for the U.S. visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy and provide the following to the consular official
  • Indicate the purpose of your visit  - use your CU Invitation Letter
  • Provide sufficient funding to support the visit to the U.S.
  • Provide information on your intent to return to your home country
At the Border

When arriving at the border the visitor will show the border official the following:

  • CU Invitation Letter
  • Proof of funding or support
  • Passport & B1/B2 entry visa

Individuals who will perform services in a ‘specialty occupation’ can enter the U.S. in H-1B status. This is an employer-sponsored status that will requires theoretical & practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and an attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the U.S. At Clarkson University, the sponsoring department or faculty member will work with Human Resources on documentation necessary for H-1B processing.

TN Visa

The TN Visa was developed as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement to facilitate the entry of Canadian and Mexican citizens into the U.S. to engage in professional business activities on a temporary basis.

The TN category allows admission of Canadian or Mexican citizens for the purpose of:

  • Working in the U.S as a professional or
  • Working for a foreign employer to provide professional services to a U.S. employer
  • The TN Visa is limited to occupations specified in the NAFTA treaty and must be located within the 50 states – Puerto Rico – or – D.C.
TN Processing
  • A Mexican citizen must apply for a TN visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy before entering the U.S.
  • A Canadian citizen does not require a visa and will apply for the TN status at a U.S. port of entry
  • TN Eligibility – consult your local U.S. consulate or embassy for information on eligibility – how to apply – and – what supporting documentation is required.

Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables most citizens or nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business without first obtaining a visa. The stay is limited to 90 days or less and travelers must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

To view eligibility and a complete list of the countries participating in the VWP, please visit the U.S. Department of State
Note – Changes of status or extensions are not allowed.

Estimated Expenses & Document Processing

Estimated Expenses

All international students or exchange visitors coming to Clarkson University must be able to show proof of having financial resources to cover the expenses of their degree program or exchange visit. Actual costs may vary according to your program – personal preferences – or – financial aid requirements.

  • Undergraduate Students
  • Graduate Students
  • Potsdam Campus
  • Capital Region Campus
  • Exchange Students
  • J Exchange Scholars

Document Processing & Shipping

ISSS receives your information for document processing from the admission and/or sponsoring faculty. At that time, the ISSS staff will review your documents and if there are questions communicate with you on what additional information is needed.

Once processed, we will email you general information noted on your F1 form I-20 or J1 for DS-2019 and at this time you will review the information for accuracy. In addition - you will inform the ISSS once your information is confirmed correct, where to mail your documents and by which method. The International Center has the following options for the mailing of your documents.

Method 1

Send by regular mail - mail within the United States will typically take a week. Mail overseas is estimated to take 4-6 weeks for delivery.

Method 2

Send by express mail - The International Center at Clarkson University uses a reliable and secure express mail service called EShipGlobal for students and scholars to receive immigration documents. You can go online to request your documents be shipped to your preferred address - pay for your shipping costs by credit card, wire transfers, or paypal - and -receive your documents in 5-7 business days from the date of pick-up at CU. Note - the date you receive your documents is dependent on the carrier service.

  • Note - please do not work directly with any of the carriers - you must go to the EShipGlobal website to ship your package.
  • Note - you will receive a tracking number once the package is picked up from Clarkson University
Method 3

Special Shipping - some student / scholar programs will cover shipping costs. The International Center will notify you if you fall under this method.

What's Next

Pre-Arrival Checklist

Students: Those coming to study under the F-1 or J-1 visa

  • Review the non-immigrant visa process
  • Log into your CU & ME (Undergraduate / Exchange Students) or Moodle (Graduate Students) for detailed information on your to-do's
  • Take a virtual tour of the campus
  • Get familiar with campus life and student activities – shortly after arrival CU will host an activities fair where all student organizations and clubs will be on display to check and join.
  • Make sure you can log into all of your CU accounts: CU & Me, email, PeopleSoft and Moodle
  • Report any visa status updates or arrival plans to the International Center

Scholars: Those coming for teaching, research or consultation under the J Exchange Visitor Program.

  • Review the non-immigrant visa process
  • Take a virtual tour of the campus
  • Make sure you can log into all of your CU accounts (i.e. email)
  • Report any visa status update or arrival plans to the International Center
  • Get familiar with the community of Potsdam, N.Y.

Visa Process

  • Review your Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 or J-1 Status. This will be your Form I-20 (F1) or Form DS-2019 (J1)
    • For students – The Study In The States website provides very useful information on the visa cycle
    • For Scholars – The J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program provides very useful information on the visa cycle
  • Pay the SEVIS Fee – all students and scholars will pay the I-901 SEVIS fee prior to your interview with the U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Details on this process to be mailed with your paper form – in addition – you are able to get detailed information on how to pay – or – check the status of the fee on the FMJFEE website.
  • Make an appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Consult your embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence for specific instructions on the application process.
    • Special note for Canadian Citizens – You will not need to apply for a U.S. visa at the local embassy or consulate – instead – you will apply for entry in F1/J1 student status at the U.S. border. A U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officer will inspect your documents and process your entry for F1/J1 student status. Please be sure to carry all of the following when crossing the border –
  • Verify which documents are required for your visa appointment. Be prepared to present at least the following:
    • Form I-20 or DS-2019
    • Proof of SEVIS fee payment
    • Letter of Acceptance/Invitation to CU
    • Documentation of Financial Support
    • Passport with at least 6-months validity into the future
    • 2x2 inch photographs
    • Evidence of ties to your home country
    • For students only – evidence you are prepared for the academic program in which you plan to enroll.
  • Complete the visa DS-160 form online

Special Note on Visa Denials: While most students & exchange visitors will acquire their visa successfully – there are times when a visa may be denied or delayed. The most common reasons for a visa denial are; failure to prove ties to your home country or failure to provide sufficient financial documentation.

Special Note on Visa Delays: Much more common than visa denials are visa delays – this is why it is so important to apply for your visa early! Common reasons for visa delays are –

  • Administrative Processing – this is an additional security clearance handled by the U.S. Department of State. This could be due to your country of citizenship and/or your area of research interests. Typically this happens with graduate students or scholars in science/engineering fields where it is determined that you will be performing research in a "sensitive area of study" as indicated on the State Department's Technology Alert List.
  • Closing or reduced hours at U.S. visa issuing posts due to security concerns or political instability

In either case of a visa denial or delay you should notify International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) as soon as possible. A consular official must verbally inform you of the reason for the denial or delay – please be sure to provide this information when you notify ISSS.

Housing Arrangements

Exchange & Undergraduate Students will live on campus. Details on your housing contract and assignments can be found in PeopleSoft. Be sure to complete your housing contract and stay tuned for communications to see your housing assignments.

Graduate Students: Clarkson University does not have on-campus housing for graduate students. It is your responsibility to secure appropriate off-campus housing. We encourage you to plan ahead to make arrangements to live nearby to campus. Check the housing information provided by your graduate program in Moodle.

Scholars: Clarkson University housing is not available to visitors during the academic year and apartments for short-term stays can often be difficult to secure. Therefore – we urge you to arrange with your sponsoring faculty member or department well in advance of your arrival to Potsdam. You can expect to pay approximately $500-1,000 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. A deposit is usually required in advance. We estimate a minimum average monthly cost of $1,200 to cover rent, food, utilities, transportation, clothing and other essentials – but you should consider a minimum of $1,500 to cover such expenses. There are a number of temporary lodging options within a short distance from campus – visit North Country Now for more information.

Note: visiting exchange students for study or research from partner universities will be housed on campus.


All incoming students and scholars are encouraged to work with their admission program and/or faculty sponsor for program related items and other important to-do's. ISSS will forward the appropriate document (Form I-20 or Form DS-2019) which will be used when applying for your F1 or J1 visa stamp (if applicable). This is your travel document to the U.S. and is issued by the U.S. Department of State.

Health Insurance

All students are required to carry health insurance coverage through your parent/guardian’s policy - your own policy - or - enroll in Clarkson’s Student Health Insurance.

Learn more about Health Insurance and why this is important.

Health insurance coverage is the responsibility of the student or scholar and ISSS can assist with available plans – however – we cannot evaluate, recommend or endorse any specific health insurance company or policy. F student visa holders do not have a minimum federal requirement – however – you may wish to follow the minimum requirements mandated for the J-Exchange Visitor program.

In addition – students or scholars entering the U.S. under the J visa – for study or research – are required to meet minimum coverage requirements. These include:

Medical Benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
At least $25,000 for Repatriation of Remains
At least $50,000 for Medical Evacuation to your home country
A deductible of no more than $500 per accident or illness

Health Requirements

Students Health Forms – check with the Student Health Center for any outstanding forms/immunizations that are due. Please note – failure to comply with SHC requirements could mean withdrawal from the University.

Student Health Insurance – all students are required to carry health insurance coverage either through their parent/guardian’s policy – their own policy – or – enroll in Clarkson’s Student Health Insurance Plan. Learn more about why health insurance is important.

Scholars – You will need to purchase an insurance plan upon arrival if you did not carry insurance from your home country or purchase a plan before you departed. You may choose any company that meets the minimum federal guidelines under the J Exchange Visitor Program.

Please complete the J-1 Exchange Visitor Health Insurance Acknowledgement and submit to ISSS during orientation with a copy of your ‘Declaration of Coverage’. Please note that all documents must be in English.

Note: All students & scholars in J1 status must have insurance that meets the minimum federal guidelines as follows:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000
  • Repatriation of remains of at least $25,000
  • Medical evacuation of at least $50,000
  • Deductible not to exceed $500

Getting to Potsdam

You can get to Clarkson University by Air – Bus – or – Car. We strongly encourage you to arrive at a U.S. airport as there is no public transportation from Canada. The best way to travel to Potsdam, NY is to fly to Syracuse, NY and take the bus service to Potsdam. Adirondack Trailways offers service from Syracuse airport to Potsdam, NY. Trailways bus service offers two pick-up times from the airport and offers to drop you off on campus (Cheel Campus Center) or downtown Potsdam (Depot Street).

All students & scholars can enter up to 30-days prior to your program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019.

Students: Please keep ISSS informed of your impending arrival. All new international students must arrive by the date noted on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. This date ensure you will meet all orientation events and allow you sufficient time to recover from your journey. Please note that arrivals after this date must have approval from your academic program and ISSS.

Note – students living on campus are not allowed entry to your dorm earlier than the date noted on your Form I-20 or DS-2019. Early arrivals – if approved by Residence Life – will be subject to room charges.

Scholars: Please keep ISSS informed of your impending arrival. Allowable arrivals are centered around the ‘program start date’ on your DS-2019 and may need to be amended if your arrival is more than 20 days after this date.

Arriving to the U.S.

As you arrange to travel to the U.S. – remember, your visa alone does not guarantee you entry into the U.S. Upon arrival, an official from the Customs & Border Protection (CBP) will review your documents and determine your admissibility to the U.S. The following documents are necessary for CBP inspection.

  • Passport – make sure your passport is valid and will not expire within the next six months. This document will be reviewed along with your visa stamp and CBP will stamp your document to indicate the date – place – and – status you arrived in the U.S.
  • Form I-20 – or – DS-2019 – made sure you have your paper form I-20 or DS-2019 for the school / program you plan to attend.
  • SEVIS Fee Receipt – remember to have evidence of SEVIS fee payment – this is your receipt
  • Form I-94 – this will be distributed to you on your flight to the U.S. Please be sure to complete this form legibly. You will provide this to the CBP officer who will record your arrival to the U.S. Your I-94 or ‘admission number’ will provide the date you arrived – status upon arrival (F/J) – and – ‘duration of status’ (D/S). Access to your I-94 will be electronic when flying to the U.S. Entering the U.S. through a land border will provide these details on an actual ‘arrival/departure’ I-94 card – which will be stapled with your passport/visa.

Welcome to Clarkson University!

We hope you had an enjoyable trip to Potsdam, N.Y. – Welcome!

  • Students living on campus – check-in with Residence Life to pick up your key and get settled in your room. Review your orientation activities and other tasks on CU & Me.
  • Graduate Students – settle into your apartment and then check-in with your Graduate program to pick up important arrival and orientation information.
  • Scholars – settle into your residence and check-in with your faculty/department sponsor. Review ISSS arrival information previously sent and schedule your ISSS check-in.

Check-In – Upon arrival, all international students & scholars will complete an arrival check-in. Please bring the following to ISSS:

  • Passport/Visa
  • Form I-20 / DS-2019
  • Address in Potsdam (if applicable)

During this process, ISSS will take a copy of your passport/visa – review your I-94 admission number – and – sign your Form I-20 / DS-2019. This completes your initial check-in process with ISSS.

For students enrolled at CU – you will complete your International Student Check-In every semester you are enrolled at CU. This is completed during your SAS (Student Administrative Services) Check-In process in PeopleSoft. During your continual semester check-in we will review your current major, full-time enrollment and local address on-campus or in Potsdam.

CU Identification Card

  • Students - pick up your photo I.D. at Campus Safety
  • Scholars – visit Campus Safety (Educational Resources Center – ERC Suite 1200) and indicate you are a visiting staff/student. CS will take your picture and provide you a campus I.D. to access services on campus.

Campus Computer Access

Students & Scholars – check your email and confirm you can access all necessary computer programs. Assistance with your password and access can be directed to the Office of Information Technology (Help Desk) – 315-268-4357 (HELP) – or – . Please be sure to provide your CU Identification Number.


Orientation is provided to all incoming international students and scholars to Clarkson University. Orientation provides information on status maintenance – international check-in procedures – and – other items essential to living in Potsdam.

The International Center orientation is a mandatory 2-part program providing essential information to assist you throughout your stay at Clarkson University – whether this is for 1-semester or 5- years.

Student Orientation

  • Part 1 – Information sessions – Check-in process – and – Shopping Trips
  • Part 2 – Online Moodle course – this course will provide in depth details pertaining to your immigration status and maintenance of your status. Students will be expected to complete the online course within the first four weeks of the start of the semester. Information on how to access and complete the course will be provided during the first orientation.

Scholar Orientation

Review of immigration documents
Maintaining your immigration status
Local & Community resources
Travel Basics
Local cultural sites/trips

Other Post-Arrival Items


Difficulties and delays often occur in the transfer of funds to the United States. It is extremely important that you become thoroughly familiar with your government’s regulations for exchange of funds. A single person should bring at least $1,500 in traveler’s checks to cover initial expenses. Such expenses might include first and last month’s rent, winter clothing, furniture, automobile expenses, or health insurance. If your family accompanies you, you should plan to have at least $2,500 to get started. We recommend that soon after your arrival you establish a bank account with a local bank of your choice. To open an account you will need your passport and Form I-20 / DS-2019.


A valid driver’s license from your home country is also valid in New York State and you do not need to apply for a NYS driver license unless you become a resident of NYS. In your home country – you may wish to apply for an ‘International Driving Permit’, which will verify that you have a valid foreign driver, license – however – this permit does is only valid if you hold a valid driver’s license from your home country. See the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles for more information.

Social Security Information

A U.S. Social Security number is a unique, nine-digit number issued by the U.S. Social Security Administration. It facilitates the reporting wages to the government and is required in the order to work and receive wages in the United States. This number also serves as a national identification number for taxation and other purposes so companies in the U.S. commonly ask for it. However, not all students & scholars will be eligible for a social security number.

For students and scholars who will be paid by CU or another on-campus employer – please refer to our resources page for details on how to apply for this number.

Please note – this number is not required to open bank accounts – cell phone contracts – or to sign leases. When asked for a SSN – and you do not have or are not eligible – please provide the requesting organization with your passport and explain you are not eligible at this time.

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