International Student Affairs


Immigration Resources

How to Maintain F-1 or J-1 Status

It is important that all international students at Hofstra University be aware of and comply with the following requirements to avoid problems that may interfere with your program of study or employment benefits. Please review this list and click the yellow plus icons to see more information about how to fulfill your immigration responsibilities.

Complete entrance immigration check-in to report your first arrival to Hofstra
Accepted students will receive an email with instructions on how to check-in online. You must check in as soon as you arrive at Hofstra, and no later than 1 week after the start of classes.
Register for full-time enrollment every semester and attend your classes.
Full-time enrollment consists of 12 credits for undergraduate students and 9 credits for graduate students. For F-1 students at least 6 credits must be in person, but for J-1 students all credits must be in person (i.e. not online). Be careful to avoid Unofficial Withdrawal (UW) grades that will cause you to fall below full-time enrollment.
Apply for a Reduced Course Load (RCL) if you meet the exceptions that allow less than full-time enrollment.
Eligible exceptions include certain academic difficulties, medical reasons, or if you are in your final semester and have a required course for your degree remaining, but do not need a full-time course load to complete your degree requirements. Please see the Reduced Course Load Approval Form for more details.
Make sure the end date on your I-20/DS-2019 is accurate.
If you need more time to complete your degree or will finish earlier than the end date on your I-20/DS-2019, contact ISA immediately to change your end date. It is the student's responsibility to keep track of their own end date to avoid violating their status by overstaying in the U.S.
Leave the U.S. before your grace period ends.
After the end date on your I-20/DS-2019 or completion of any authorized post-graduation employment, the grace period allows you to remain in the U.S. for up to 60 days for F-1 students and 30 days for J-1 students.
Inform ISA of any changes to the information on your I-20/DS-2019.
This includes changes to your major, phone number, address, or other personal information. If you are on authorized practical training, you must also inform ISA of any changes to your employer.
Do not work without authorization.
Please be aware that even unpaid activities or internships may be considered work and require authorization. Learn more about employment options and consult ISA if you have any questions or concerns.
Inform ISA before making major changes to your academic program.
If you will leave your program before completing it (e.g. take a leave of absence or withdraw from the University), begin a new program at Hofstra, or plan to change your immigration status, please inform ISA immediately.
Have a valid travel signature on your most recent I-20/DS-2019 when traveling outside the U.S.
Travel signatures are signed by ISA staff on the second page of your original I-20 or DS-2019. The signature is valid for 1 year and confirms that you are maintaining your F-1 or J-1 visa status. It will be checked by an immigration official when you re-enter the U.S.
Make sure your passport is valid at all times.
F-1 and J-1 students are required to have a valid passport at all times while studying in the United States. The passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the program end date on your I-20 or DS-2019. A valid passport is also required when traveling outside the U.S.
If you plan to leave Hofstra to attend another school, request a transfer of your SEVIS record.
Please inform ISA of your plans. Once you decide which institution you will be transferring to, our office will require a completed Student SEVIS Record Transfer Form and a copy of your acceptance letter from the school you intend to transfer to.
Keep copies of all your immigration related documents, even after graduation.
This includes current and expired passports, EAD cards, I-20s/DS-2019s, etc. You may need them for future immigration applications to document your employment history and compliance with U.S. immigration regulations.

How to Maintain F-2 Status

The F-2 status of a dependent (the spouse or child of a F-1 student) is contingent upon the F-1 visa holder maintaining their F-1 status. If the F-1 student's I-20 end date changes, the end date of their F-2 dependents also changes (this applies in cases of a program extension or if the end date is shortened due to the F-1 ending their program early). If the F-1 student's status is extended for authorized employment after graduation, the F-2 dependent’s status is also extended. In most cases, if the F-1 student takes a leave of absence and has their SEVIS record closed, their F-2 dependents may not stay in the U.S. and must leave with the F-1 student.

After the F-1 student finishes their program of study or authorized post-completion employment, both the F-1 and F-2 may remain in the U.S. during the 60-day grace period. When the F-1 student leaves the U.S. after completing their program of study or authorized post-completion employment, their F-2 dependents must also depart the country. If an F-2 dependent child reaches the age of 21 they are no longer eligible to hold F-2 status and will need to change to another status if they wish to stay in the U.S.

F-2 Employment and Study
The F-2 spouse and children of an F-1 student may not accept employment in the U.S. Please be aware that even unpaid internships or activities may be considered work in the U.S. Unauthorized employment is a serious violation of F-2 dependent status.

F-2 dependents of F-1 students may study part time at the postsecondary level at a SEVP-certified school, as long as the study does not amount to a full course of study for an F-1 student as defined in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(A)-(D) and 8 CFR 214.2(m)(9)(i)-(iv). F-2 dependents may attend avocational or recreational classes, and engage in charitable volunteering or hobby activities. An F-2 child may engage in full-time study in elementary or secondary school in order to fulfill compulsory K-12 education requirements. An F-2 dependent who wishes to study full-time in a postsecondary academic or vocational program must obtain a change of status to F-1, J-1, M-1, or another status that permits full-time study before starting a full-time program. Please consult ISA for advice on change of status options if an F-2 dependent wishes to study full-time at Hofstra.

How to Maintain J-2 Status

The J-2 status of a dependent (the spouse or child of a J-1 student or scholar) is contingent upon the J-1 visa holder maintaining their J-1 status. Immigration regulations require that all J-1 and J-2 visa holders have health insurance coverage while participating in the exchange visitor program. After the J-1 student finishes their program of study or any authorized employment, both the J-1 and J-2 may remain in the U.S. during the 30-day grace period. When the J-1 student leaves the U.S. after completing their program of study or authorized employment, their J-2 dependents must also depart the country. If a J-2 dependent child reaches the age of 21 they are no longer eligible to hold J-2 status and will need to change to another status if they wish to stay in the U.S.

J-2 Employment and Study
In most cases, a J-2 dependent can seek employment. To work, a J-2 dependent must apply for and obtain an Employment Authorization Document from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Money earned by a J-2 cannot be used to support the principal J-1 visa holder. J-2 dependents are eligible for part-time or full-time study at any level of education.

International Student Affairs Forms

Employment Forms

Immigration Services Forms


Please access the E-Forms by going to

Use the link above to access the following services:

  • Change of Phone Number/U.S. Address
  • Letter Requests (Good Standing & Social Security) 
  • Travel Signature Request
  • Update I-20 for Change of Major
  • F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Request
  • F-1 Program Extension Request 
  • F-1 Reduced Course Load (RCL) Request 
  • F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) Request for the OPT I-20
  • F-1 STEM OPT Extension Request for the STEM OPT extension I-20
  • F-1 Post-Completion OPT Employment Update I-20 Request
  • F-1 STEM OPT Employment Update I-20 Request

Employment Resources and Programs

Employment is always a popular topic for international students – from working on campus to looking for off-campus internship opportunities and exploring ways to gain experience after graduation. International students are not allowed to engage in work or unpaid practical experiences off campus unless they have received the appropriate work authorization. For more information about how to obtain work authorization, please attend one of our workshops or make an appointment to speak to a member of our staff.

  • Employment Workshops
    International Student Affairs offers workshops every semester to answer your questions and help you gain experiences that will enhance your resume but also maintain your lawful presence as an international student.
  • Working On Campus
    International students are eligible to work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters and up to 30 hours per week during the university breaks. Please note that Academic English program students are not allowed to work on campus.
  • Filing Taxes
    All international students are required to file taxes, regardless of whether they earned income in the U.S.
  • F-1 Curricular Practical Training
    F-1 international students may be authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) after completing one academic year. International students must receive a new I-20 with CPT authorization from International Student Affairs in order to begin hours for an internship, student teaching, externship, volunteer or any other practical experience off campus.
  • F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) Employment
    F-1 international students may be authorized to work off campus for 12 months before or after graduation through Optional Practical Training (OPT). Students must apply for OPT and gain approval from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before beginning employment. The USCIS processing time for OPT applications is 3 - 5 months.
  • F-1 Severe Economic Hardship
    Severe Economic Hardship Employment is an off-campus work authorization for F-1 students who are experiencing serious financial difficulties caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond their control.

Passport Requirements

F-1 international students and J-1 exchange visitors are required to have a valid passport at all times while studying in the United States. The passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the program end date on your I-20 or DS-2019. When traveling, F-1 and J-1 students must have a passport that is valid for 6 months into the future in order to enter (or re-enter) the U.S.

According to the United States Immigration and Nationality Act:

(i) Every nonimmigrant alien who applies for admission to, or an extension of stay in, the United States, must establish that he or she is admissible to the United States, or that any ground of inadmissibility has been waived under section 212(d)(3) of the Act. Upon application for admission, the alien must present a valid passport and valid visa unless either or both documents have been waived. A nonimmigrant alien's admission to the United States is conditioned on compliance with any inspection requirement in §235.1(d) or of this chapter. The passport of an alien applying for admission must be valid for a minimum of six months from the expiration date of the contemplated period of stay, unless otherwise provided in this chapter, and the alien must agree to abide by the terms and conditions of his or her admission. An alien applying for extension of stay must present a passport only if requested to do so by the Department of Homeland Security. The passport of an alien applying for extension of stay must be valid at the time of application for extension, unless otherwise provided in this chapter, and the alien must agree to maintain the validity of his or her passport and to abide by all the terms and conditions of his extension.


Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials may conduct on-site reviews on the campuses of SEVP-certified schools to determine whether nonimmigrant students on those campuses are complying with regulations, including the requirement that each maintains a valid passport. DHS officers will take appropriate action regarding violations of the regulations by nonimmigrant students.

Travel Signature

Traveling Outside of the United States

A travel signature is required if you will be traveling outside of the U.S. The signature is provided by the International Student Affairs staff on the second page of your original I-20 or the first page of your DS-2019. The signature confirms that you are maintaining your F-1 or J-1 status and will be checked by an immigration official when you re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad.

Your I-20 or DS-2019 can be signed if you are eligible and intend to continue your studies at Hofstra, or are on authorized optional practical training after completion of your coursework or studies. It cannot be endorsed if you have completed your program, but have not yet obtained optional practical training employment authorization.

A travel signature is good for one year or until the program completion date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019. For students on post-completion optional practical training, the signature is only valid for six months. If your current travel signature will expire before you return to the U.S., you must request a new travel signature.

To get a travel signature, you must fill in the Travel Signature Request e-form. You can complete the e-form at You do not need to make an appointment or have any specific travel planned to get a travel signature.

For more specific information about traveling outside of the U.S., please visit

Traveling Inside the United States

A travel signature is not necessary for travel within the U.S. Students are advised to carry their passport and I-20 or DS-2019 with them as they travel within the U.S., especially if you will be in an area near the northern or southern borders.


Please note that under U.S. immigration law, only the legal spouse and minor children of the F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor qualifies as a dependent and is eligible to apply for a dependent visa and dependent immigration status.

F-1 Students

If you wish to bring your spouse or child with you to the U.S. while you complete your studies, you will need to prove that you have adequate financial resources to support them for the entire length of your program. In addition, in order to include them on your I-20, International Student Affairs will need a copy of the passport of your spouse and/or child.  Please be advised that an I-20 cannot be issued if the proper financial documentation is not shown. To determine the expense  for each dependent, please contact International Student Affairs.  Unfortunately, an I-20 listing your dependents does not necessarily mean that your dependents will be granted an F-2 visa by the U.S. consulate or embassy. A U.S. consular officer will determine your dependents' ability to be issued an F-2 visa to enter the U.S. Please plan on purchasing dependent health insurance coverage for each dependent that will be traveling with you.

J-1 Students

You must receive approval from your J-1 program sponsor in order for your spouse and/or child to accompany you to the U.S. If your sponsor approves your request, you need will need to provide proof that you have enough financial resources to cover your dependents. You will also need to purchase dependent health insurance that meets the legal J-1 minimum requirement. It is your program sponsor’s responsibility to create a new Form DS-2019 listing your dependents. Please be advised that issuance of Form DS-2019 with your dependents listed does not guarantee J-2 visa issuance. It is solely up to the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country to decide if they meet U.S. visa issuance criteria.


If for any reason your dependents are not approved for a F-2 or J-2 visa, please request the reason for the denial in writing. Then contact International Student Affairs as soon as possible. We will try to assist you in any way that we can, however it is the Consul’s decision whether or not to grant a visa. While we can research the situation for you and try to help, there is no guarantee that it will later be approved. Visit the U.S. Department of State website for visa application information.

F-1 Severe Economic Hardship Employment Authorization

Severe Economic Hardship Employment is off-campus authorization for F-1 students who are experiencing serious financial difficulties caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. If authorized, you may get any kind of job, anywhere, and work a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session, and full time during summer vacations and semester breaks.

How Can You Qualify for It?

  1. You must have been in F-1 status, at either the undergraduate or graduate level, for one academic year.
  2. You must have a grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
  3. You must explain how on-campus employment has been either unavailable or insufficient to meet your needs.
  4. You must have, and be able to provide, evidence that proves you have financial problems that are caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. Examples of unexpected expenses may be medical or dental bills, illness, death, or business problems where your sponsor lives, currency devaluation, or large tuition increases.

If your financial difficulties are caused by problems your sponsor (the person whose name appears on your I-20 form) is having, that person will have to write a letter indicating what caused the hardship and provide evidence of the circumstances that are affecting your support. Evidence may include newspaper articles, back issues of The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal showing currency devaluation, official school notices, or medical or dental bills.

How Do You Apply?

If you think that you qualify for employment authorization under the Severe Economic Hardship Rule, make an appointment with a member of the International Student Affairs staff to discuss your situation. Bring any documentation that you have to prove how your financial situation is being affected by the economic crisis. At your meeting you will receive a Severe Economic Hardship Employment Application to fill out and return to us.

We will then review your application to make sure that you qualify. If we agree that you do, we will recommend that USCIS authorize your employment and return your application to you to send to USCIS for processing of your work permit.

How Long Does it Take?

After you mail your application to USCIS, you should expect that it will take about two to three months for your EAD (Employment Authorization Document) to be processed.

How Long Will You Be Able to Work?

USCIS will grant your employment authorization for a one-year period. It can be renewed annually up to your expected date of completion of studies. Your employment authorization is automatically terminated if you fail to maintain F-1 student status. You cannot work until you physically receive your employment authorization card and cannot begin working until the start date indicated on that card.

New Student Resources

Becoming a F-1 or J-1 Student at Hofstra University

The first step to becoming an international student at Hofstra University is to be accepted into a program of study. For more information, please contact:

After a student is accepted, they can then apply for the immigration documents necessary to study in the United States.

Applying for the I-20 or DS-2019

The Form I-20 is an official government document on which Hofstra University certifies to the U.S. government that you are eligible for F-1 student status. It certifies that you have met our admission requirements, have been accepted to a full course of study and have submitted proof that you have enough financial resources to cover the full length of your program of study. Form DS-2019 is an official government document which certifies that a person is eligible to be a J-1 exchange visitor. Most Hofstra University international students apply for F-1 status. Both F-1 and J-1 student immigration categories allow you to apply for a visa to enter the U.S. for the purpose of studying full-time. 

The Form I-20 and Form DS-2019 are not automatically generated when you are accepted to Hofstra; they require that you complete a separate I-20 or DS-2019 application and provide documentary proof that you have enough liquid funds to cover at least one year of your program of study. Once a completed application is received, the Form  I-20 or Form DS-2019 will be sent to you and can be used to apply for the appropriate student visa at a United States Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Visa issuance is always at the discretion of the U.S. Department of State and is not guaranteed.

Initial I-20s and DS-2019s are issued by the following offices. Please contact them if you have any questions.

  • Undergraduate students: Once you are accepted to Hofstra, the Admissions Office will request the necessary information for creating an I-20 or DS-2019 form for you. That information will be forwarded to the International Student Affairs office, who will create your I-20 or DS-2019. Then the Admissions Office will mail the I-20 or DS-2019 to you. If you have already been accepted to Hofstra University and need to check on the status of your I-20 form, contact
  • Graduate students: Once you are accepted to Hofstra, the Office of Graduate Admissions will request the necessary information for creating an I-20 or DS-2019 form for you. Then, that information will be forwarded to the International Student Affairs office, who will create your I-20 or DS-2019 and send it to you. If you have already been accepted to Hofstra University and need to check on the status of your I-20 form, contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at
  • Law students: Once you are accepted to Hofstra, the Law School will request the necessary information for creating an I-20 or DS-2019 form for you. Then, that information will be forwarded to the International Student Affairs office, who will create your I-20 or DS-2019 document and send it to you. If you have already been accepted to Hofstra University and need to check on the status of your I-20 or DS-2019 form, contact

Applying for Your F-1 or J-1 Visa

Once you have received the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019

If you are deciding between multiple schools, do not sign the I-20 or the DS-2019 or apply for a visa until you make a decision on what school to attend. Signing the document means that you understand all the rules and regulations that you will have to follow once you are in the Unites States.

We encourage you to visit the U.S. Department of State website to learn more about the F-1 or J-1 student visa application. View U.S. Department of State student visa application information. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also provides helpful advice on their Study in the States website.

Pay the SEVIS Fee
In order to make a visa appointment, you must pay the U.S. Department of Homeland Security SEVIS I-901 fee. Payments can be made online at Be sure to print out a receipt to bring to your visa interview. Do not pay the fee until you have your I-20 or DS-2019 in your possession.

Make a Visa Interview Appointment
Schedule an appointment to apply for a student visa at the United States Embassy or Consulate closest to your residence (See a list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates). Each U.S. Embassy and Consulate has application instructions posted on their website.

Preparing for the Visa Interview

A student visa is a non-immigrant visa. By law, the Consul Officer must assume that all non-immigrant visa applicants plan to remain in the U.S. permanently. It is up to the applicant (you, the student) to convince the Consul that you will go home again when you have completed your academic program.

In order to ensure that your interview for an F-1 visa is successful, you should be prepared for what to expect. Practice your English and be ready to answer questions such as: Why do you want to study in the U.S.? Why are you going to take this program of study? Why did you choose Hofstra University? What career will your studies prepare you for back home? You must be able to clearly communicate your academic or professional objective for coming to the U.S. and Hofstra to study.

Documentation: Many F-1 or J-1 visas are denied because the applicant does not bring all the necessary documentation to the interview. Be sure to bring the following documents to your interview:

  • Your acceptance letter to Hofstra University
  • Your original I-20 or DS-2019
  • Your original financial documentation, proving that you have the financial means to cover the costs of your entire program of study
  • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
  • Proof of ties to your home country (see below)

Compelling Ties to Your Home Country: By law, the Consular Officer must assume that all non-immigrant visa applicants (you, the student) intend to remain in the U.S. permanently. To successfully obtain your visa, an important part of the application is convincing the Consul Officer that you plan to return home after you complete your studies in the U.S. To do this, you must establish “compelling ties” or strong bonds to your home country. An example of compelling ties could be immediate family members living there, property, or a job offer waiting for you once you complete of your degree. It is helpful to bring documents to support your connection to your home country. Some examples of documentation proving strong ties to your country are: A letter from a potential employer saying that they are interested in people with degrees like the one that you will be studying. If your family owns a business, take a letter from the bank describing it, and if they own property, it is helpful to take the deeds. In addition, if you have a brother or sister who studied in the U.S. and then returned home, take a copy of his or her diploma and statement from his or her current employer.

Relations in the U.S.: It is not beneficial to emphasize immediate family members permanently residing within the U.S. In addition, do not talk about working in the U.S. since you are required to prove that you can support the financial costs of studying and living in the U.S. Employment in the U.S. is strictly controlled by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is not guaranteed.

English: If your Form I-20 states that you are proficient in English (see item 6 on your document), the Consul is required to hold the visa interview in English. Practice speaking in English, read U.S. newspapers and magazines, and watch television in English. You might also be asked to show your TOEFL results. Unless you are expected to take English language courses, you will be expected to be able to communicate clearly in English at the interview.

Passport: Make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after the program end date on your Form I-20 or DS-2019.

Former U.S. Study: If you started your studies in another immigrant status and received a change of status to F-1 inside the U.S., be prepared to discuss how your original purpose for coming to the U.S. changed to that of a full-time student. It is also recommended that you speak with International Student Affairs for additional counseling before you apply.

Personal Matters: Consulates can be impersonal when administering the visa interview and implementing immigration law. In the U.S., laws are applied equally to all people regardless of status or gender. Therefore, it is not in your best interest to negotiate or discuss personal matters with the consular officer. Answer all questions truthfully and concisely.

DenialsIf your visa application is denied, request the reason for the denial in writing. Then contact your appropriate admissions office with information about why your application was denied.

We will try to assist you in any way that we can, however it is the Consulate’s decision whether or not to grant you a visa. Although we can research the situation for you and try to help, there is no guarantee that a later application attempting to overcome the denial will be approved.

I-20 Form

The I-20 form is an official government document which certifies that a person is eligible to be an F-1 non-immigrant student at Hofstra. This form is not automatically generated for non-immigrants. It is created when students are accepted to a full-time program and show that they have enough financial resources to cover at least one year of study.

After a student is accepted to Hofstra, the Office of Admission will request the necessary information for creating their I-20 form. The student will need to complete Hofstra's I-20 application form and submit it with financial documents and a copy of their unexpired passport to the appropriate Admission Office. If the student is currently studying in the U.S. with an I-20 from another school, they may need to transfer their SEVIS record to Hofstra.

Once a student submits all the required documents to the Office of Admission, their documents will be sent to International Student Affairs (ISA) for review. ISA will contact the student if any additional documents are required. ISA will issue the I-20 form once the documents meet the requirements. If you have already been accepted to Hofstra and need to check on the status of your I-20 form, you may contact the Admissions Office at (516) 463-6700.

The I-20 form will then be sent to the student in order to be used to apply for an F-1 visa at a United States Embassy or Consulate in their home country. Students should follow the instructions that will be emailed to them with their I-20 to pay the SEVIS fee and apply for the F-1 visa.

After receiving an I-20 form, the student should check if all the information on it is correct before signing the I-20, and only sign the I-20 for the school that they will be attending in the United States. Signing the I-20 means that the student understands all the rules and regulations that they will have to follow once they are in the Unites States. Students should carefully read the regulations listed on the back of the I-20 before signing it. Once a student obtains an F-1 visa, they are only allowed to enter the U.S. within 30 days prior to the start date that is listed on their I-20.

International Student Pre-arrival Checklist

Immigration Documents

  • Ensure your passport is valid in order to enter the U.S.
  • Apply to Hofstra for your I-20 (F-1 students) or DS-2019 (J-1 students). With the I-20 or DS-2019 from Hofstra University, apply for your student visa.
  • Make copies of your I-20 or DS-2019, visa and passport prior to departure.
  • Hand-carry all original immigration documents with you on the flight (not in your checked luggage), and put copies in a separate secure place.
  • Read through the helpful immigration information in regard to traveling to the U.S. on a F-1 or J-1 visa.


  • Schedule your travel plans in order to attend the International Student Orientation, which is held the week before classes begin. Hofstra's Office of Residence Life will email information regarding move-in procedures to the Hofstra email of all new students who have confirmed on-campus housing.
  • Make the appropriate arrangements for transportation from the airport when you arrive in the United States. If you are taking a bus or train from the airport, be sure that you have directions to Hofstra.
  • Pack enough money and clothes for the week of orientation. In addition, if you are staying on campus, bring sheets and a blanket. During International Student Orientation you will be taken to local stores and have the chance to purchase items for your room or any additional clothing that you might need.
  • Bring music, art, videos, photo albums, recipes and clothing from your home country to share with others!


  • Determine whether you would like to live on campus or off campus. International students who live on campus acclimate faster to the U.S. and overall have a smoother transition into Hofstra student life. There are many benefits that come from living on campus.
  • If you would like to live on campus, apply for a space in the residence halls and pay the housing deposit.
  • If you would like to live off campus, read through these helpful tips about living off campus.
  • Sign up for a dining plan. All undergraduate students living on campus must sign up for a dining plan.


  • Pay for your tuition and fees by the designated deadlines. Hofstra offers multiple ways for you to pay your bill.
  • Budget at least $500 per semester for textbooks.
  • Obtain a debit/credit card for immediate expenses while in the United States. Do not bring traveler’s checks. It is not advisable to carry or display large amounts of cash in public places.
  • Bring enough U.S. dollars to cover your shopping and food expenses for the first 3 - 5 days after your arrival. We suggest bringing at least $300, but you may require more funds depending on your lifestyle and initial costs.

Health Care

  • Complete your Student Medical Record. All students are required to submit their Medical Record via the Medicat app in their Hofstra Portal before they begin classes. Documentation of your vaccinations for measles, mumps, and rubella are mandatory, in addition to a response to the meningitis information request. If you have any additional health-related questions, please email
  • Visit your eye doctor and get an extra pair of glasses, visit your dentist, and visit your medical doctor for a check-up.
  • Gain prescription medication for chronic medical conditions.
  • Read over the Hofstra University International Student Health Insurance Policy.


  • Register for classes. Your academic advisor will contact you to register for classes.
  • All official copies of transcripts and documents associated with transfer credit should be sent to the appropriate admissions office.
  • Most international students are required to take the English Language Placement Assessment before the semester begins so you can be placed into an appropriate writing or English language course, if needed. Please check your Hofstra email for more information on when the ELP assessment will take place.
  • Fully-admitted graduate international students should contact their departments for information about their pre-arrival academic needs.
  • The Center for University Advising will contact all fully admitted undergraduates to start the advising and course registration process in the months before you begin your program. They will contact you via email to schedule an appointment with you. Some majors will require an online math assessment. If you are required to take a math assessment they will send you information and directions for the assessment. Assessments should be completed prior to the scheduled advising meeting.

We are looking forward to your arrival! Please let us know if you have any additional questions by emailing us at

Arrival in the United States

Knowing what to expect and being well prepared will make entering the U.S. an easy process. If you are arriving by air, you will receive the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Declaration Form (CBP Form 6059B) on the airplane for you to complete prior to arrival. Individuals arriving at a land border crossing will be given CBP Form 6059B in the inspection office. If you are traveling with other immediate family members, then you can complete one form for your entire family.

When you arrive, you must have all your immigration papers with you. If you are a dual citizen or a permanent resident of the United States, you will only need to show your U.S. passport or Permanent Resident Card ("green card"). If you are a citizen of another country, you must show the immigration officer these documents:

  • A valid passport
  • I-20 (for F-1 students) or DS-2019 (for J-1 students)
  • Visa from a U.S. Consulate
  • Letter of acceptance to Hofstra
  • Documentation proving your financial resources

After your arrival, CBP will electronically issue you an Arrival-Departure Record (CBP Form I-94), which you can access and download at We recommend you check your I-94 after each arrival into the U.S. to confirm the information is correct. The I-94 record should correctly display your name as it appears in your passport, the type of student visa you used to enter (F-1 or J-1), and list "D/S" in the 'Admit Until Date' field. If your I-94 record has any errors, please contact ISA immediately so we can guide you on how to get it corrected. Please note the immigration inspector may not stamp the date of your arrival in your passport, as the practice of physical stamping is being phased out and replaced by the electronically issued Form I-94.

If you encounter any problems while you are being inspected by Immigration, please contact International Student Affairs at +1-516-463-6796 on Monday - Friday from 9 am - 5 pm. Outside of these hours, please contact Public Safety at +1-516-463-6606. Your Form I-20 or DS-2019, visa and passport are all critical immigration documents, and it is your responsibility to keep them in a safe place.

Helpful Hints

  • Do not pack your Form I-20 (for F-1 students) or your DS-2019 (for J-1 students) in your checked baggage. You should pack all of your immigration documents, financial support and admission letter in your carry-on luggage. You should also make copies and keep them in a separate location.
  • After you arrive in the U.S., you should check your I-94 electronic admission number and travel record to make sure you were admitted in the correct class (F-1 or J-1) with an admit date of D/S (duration of status). If any of the information on your I-94 record is incorrect, please inform International Student Affairs immediately.
  • Only use the Form I-20 or DS-2019 for the school you plan to attend.
  • The Form I-20 or DS-2019 is a very important document.  Do not lose it and do not let it expire.
  • Do not enter the U.S. on a visitor's visa or a visa waiver if your intention is to begin your program of study during the trip.

Form I-515A

If you arrive at a U.S. port of entry without all of your required documents or with unsigned or missing information, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer may deny your entry into the U.S.. As an alternative, the officer may issue you a Form I-515A, which allows you temporary entry into the United States for 30 days. If you receive a Form I-515A, the first thing you should do is come to the International Student Affairs office with all your immigration documentation. We will work with you to make sure you have everything in order and help you submit your paperwork to SEVP to convert your 30 day entry limit to duration of status (D/S).

Information for Canadian Students

An entry visa is not required for Canadian citizens, but you must make sure to receive the Form I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1) and pay the SEVIS fee before entering the U.S. Upon entry, passport, Form I-20 or DS-2019, proof of financial support for at least one year, admission letter, and receipt of the SEVIS fee payment must be presented to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. It is important to present these documents in order to enter the country as a student and not a tourist (see below).

Can I enter the U.S. as a tourist?

Important! Do not enter the United States (U.S.) with a B-2 Visitor's Visa to begin your program of study! Wait for your Form I-20 or DS-2019, apply for the visa, and come into the U.S. on your F-1 or J-1 status. U.S. federal law prohibits visitors for business or pleasure (B-1/B-2) to engage in study. While you may qualify to apply for a change of status to F-1 if already inside the U.S, there is no guarantee that your application will be approved. International Student Affairs will not help with the change of status process for those who have a B-1/B-2 status.

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business (visitor B visa purposes only) for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. While citizens of these countries are permitted to visit the U.S. without applying for a visa, visits to the U.S. are limited to 90 days. A change of status is not permitted for individuals admitted on the VWP.

Can I study on my current immigration status?

Please contact International Student Affairs at +1-516-463-6796 or international{at} if you have questions about studying on your current immigration status and want to explore your options.

Entrance Immigration Check-In

New International Students

All new international students are required to complete an entrance immigration check-in and attend International Student Orientation. Accepted students will receive an email with instructions on how to check-in. All new international students must complete entrance immigration check-in immediately after arriving in the U.S. and no later than the program start date listed on their Form I-20. You will only be considered as having reported to Hofstra after completing the entrance immigration check-in e-form and uploading the proper documentation. If you have any questions about the check-in process, please contact International Student Affairs at  international{at}

Returning International Students

Continuing students are not required to complete an entrance immigration check-in each semester. However, whenever you travel outside the U.S., please take a moment to review your immigration documents:

  1. Is your passport still valid for 6 months beyond your program end date? If not, take steps to have it renewed with your consulate.
  2. Is the student visa in your passport still valid? If not, the next time you travel outside the U.S. you will need to make sure that you leave enough time to process a renewal prior to your return.
  3. Is the information on your Form I-20 or DS-2019 still correct? Has your major changed? Is your program end date still accurate? Has your funding changed significantly? If yes, your document requires an update.
  4. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Does your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record (accessible at show F-1 and D/S or J-1 and D/S? If a date (as opposed to D/S) is listed, you may have been admitted as a tourist or you received a Form I-515 and were only admitted to the U.S. for 30 days. This could have happened if you did not correctly present your student visa and immigration documents. The Form I-515 would be issued if you forgot to have your I-20/DS-2019 document signed before arriving in the U.S. or if you forgot to bring your I-20/DS-2019 while traveling. Any student with a Form I-515 and/or a date written on their I-94 Arrival/Departure Record must contact the ISA office immediately to receive instructions on how to have this corrected.
  5. We are happy to check your documents for you. Please feel free to stop by during regular office hours.

PLEASE UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS! Every time you move to a new address (or arrive here for the first time), you MUST update your current mailing address through the Hofstra Portal and notify our office. Please fill in the 'Change of Phone/Address' e-form at to inform ISA of any address change. Failure to maintain your current contact information and address with ISA is a status violation per immigration regulations.

General Resources

Health Insurance

All F-1 students enrolled in a degree program and J-1 exchange students are automatically enrolled in the health and accident insurance policy offered by Hofstra University, which meets the requirements of government regulations. Hofstra’s Health and Accident Insurance is offered through Gallagher & Co. From their website, you can download the plan brochure, access the Find a Doctor search tool, learn more about the discounts and wellness services available to you, and get your questions answered through a live chat. For more information about the Health and Accident Insurance Policy, please visit our insurance broker's website. Dental and vision coverage are not provided through the plan. If you wish to purchase dental or vision insurance through Gallagher & Co., go to the broker’s website, look under the 'Plan Details' section, and click on “Additional Products Needed.” From there you can select the plan you need and purchase it on your own.

Fall Semester Coverage: August 1 through December 31

Spring Semester Coverage: January 1 through July 31

Medical care for students is provided at the on-campus Student Health Center. Hofstra University's Student Health Services focuses on providing holistic oriented health care. This includes initial diagnosis and treatment of injuries and/or illnesses and appropriate follow-up for most short-term illnesses. Providers are experienced in treating common medical problems seen on college campuses and are advocates of a wellness approach to health care, which empowers patients to become partners in managing their health needs through education and knowledge. The Student Counseling Center provides quality mental health interventions that enhance emotional well-being. It is recommended that students visit Student Health Services and Student Counseling Services before making an appointment with an outside medical facility.

How to Print Your Insurance Card

For new students, insurance cards are usually available 5 - 7 business days after you register for classes. For returning students, the card should be available from the date your new coverage period begins.

  1. Access the Aetna Student Health website.
  2. Click on “Get Your ID Card” and enter your Hofstra student ID and date of birth.
  3. Once logged in, you will have access to your ID card.

Insurance Waiver

Students who do not wish to enroll in Hofstra's insurance policy may submit an application to get the insurance waived. To apply for a waiver:

  1. Open an internet browser and go to
  2. Click the 'Login' button on the lower left side of the page. Log in using your Hofstra Portal information.
  3. After you log in, click on 'Insurance' in the side menu on the left of the page.
  4. Fill in the 'International Student Insurance Waiver Request' E-Form. You must upload a copy of your insurance policy in English as well as proof of your coverage (a copy of your insurance card) in the e-form. The insurance policy must include information about what is covered through the insurance.
  5. The waiver e-form and all supporting documentation must be submitted by the end of the second week of classes. Requests for waivers submitted after this date will be refused.

Short-term travel policies and any plan that does not meet or surpass the coverage provided by the university insurance will be denied. Students who want their insurance waived must reapply every semester. If the waiver is granted, it is the student’s responsibility to maintain their insurance coverage. Hofstra University will not be responsible for any costs, losses or damages incurred by the student or their dependents caused by a student's failure to maintain coverage.

Insurance for Students on Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Hofstra health insurance coverage ends after graduation. While on OPT employers may provide health insurance, or students can purchase an insurance plan individually. Students can also choose to individually purchase an insurance plan with Hofstra’s insurance company on their website:

  1. Go to the Gallagher & Co. website.
  2. Under the “Get a Quote for New Policy” tab choose “Hofstra University" in the 'School/Organization' drop down menu. Then choose "International Student" in the 'Student Category' drop down. Enter your date of birth, desired coverage dates, and number of dependents you wish to add to the plan (if any).
  3. Click the "Get a Quote" button and choose from the plans available.

Banking and Transfer of Funds

Currency Restrictions

Each prospective student should become thoroughly familiar with government regulations for exchanging and forwarding money to the United States, since each country has specific guidelines. You should make arrangements to have the necessary funds available at the beginning of each semester. Some governments put a limit on the amount of funds allowed to be taken out of the country, and others may hold or restrict funds until Hofstra's letter of admittance and immigration documents are presented.

How much money should you bring?

It is not necessary to carry more than $300 in cash when you arrive in the United States. Do not bring large amounts of money with you in cash. You should plan to access the rest of the money that you need for immediate expenses using a debit card or credit card. Your home bank should be able to give you a credit/debit card that can be used at ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) within the United States in order to withdraw cash. However, there are daily limits on cash withdrawals which normally range from $300 to $400 per day. Remember that tuition, housing, meals, books and supplies must be paid in full at the beginning of each semester.

University Bill Payments

Hofstra University has partnered with Flywire to offer an innovative and streamlined way to transfer international tuition payments. Flywire's mission is to save international students and their families money that would otherwise be lost on bank fees and unfavorable foreign exchange rates. With Flywire, you are offered excellent foreign exchange rates, allowing you to pay in your home currency (in most cases) and save a significant amount of money, as compared to traditional banks. In addition, the posting of the payment into your Hofstra University account will be faster, and you will be notified via email when it is received.

Learn more about Flywire, other payment options, and how to manage your student account to pay bills from the Bursar's Office.

Filing U.S. Taxes

Please be advised that International Student Affairs cannot provide tax advice or help you to file your taxes. You must prepare and file the appropriate IRS forms yourself, or seek the assistance of a professional tax consultant if you cannot complete the forms on your own. Everyone's tax filing requirements depend on their unique situation. Therefore, please do not rely on information given to you by anyone other than a professional tax consultant.

It is important that you determine your personal U.S. tax liability. Many F-1 and J-1 international students may need to file IRS Form 8843, regardless of whether they earned income in the U.S. Students who earned income or have other special circumstances may be required to file other IRS forms, such as Form 1040-NR or Form 1040, depending on your resident status for tax filing purposes. For detailed tax information, please call the Internal Revenue Service or visit their web site.

You can also locate and make an appointment at a Taxpayer Assistance Center or other tax clinic in your local area. When making an appointment, be sure to request staff who are knowledgeable about non-U.S. citizen tax filing requirements.

Information to bring to a tax appointment:

  • Passport/visa/I-94 for yourself and all dependents
  • DS-2019 or I-20
  • Social Security Number (SSN) or International Taxpayer Identification Number for yourself and all dependents
  • Address Information (both U.S. and foreign)
  • U.S. entry and exit dates and prior visit information
  • Academic institution or host sponsor information
  • All tax forms (if any): W-2, 1098, 1042-S, 1099
  • Any scholarship or fellowship grant letters
  • A copy of last year’s tax return (if any)
  • Information on all deductions/credits, e.g. childcare provider's name, address, SSN or Tax ID number
  • Bank account number for direct deposit


On Campus

To reside on campus, students must first pay the required $300 housing deposit and submit a housing application online via their Hofstra portal ( Once both steps have been completed, the Office of Residence Life will assign a housing space and will communicate the housing assignment to students by sending an email to their Hofstra pride email account. It is important to apply for housing as soon as possible. Housing is assigned on a first come, first served basis based on students' housing application submission date. Although the Office of Residence Life will try its best to meet individual housing preferences, please keep in mind that housing requests are not a guarantee for a particular room or assignment. Learn more about on campus living options and how to apply for housing on the Residence Life website:

There are many options for residence hall living including traditional corridor style, suite style, and living-learning residence hall communities. All of our halls have internet access, lounge areas, and laundry facilities, and our rooms are furnished so that each student has their own bed, desk, chair, dresser, closet/wardrobe. Students living in suites with lounges are permitted to bring in furniture such as small couches, televisions, etc. to make their living space feel like home.

Living-Learning Communities

Living-Learning Communities (LLCs) provide first-year undergraduate students who have a passion in a particular area (e.g. Civic Engagement, the Arts, Wellness, etc.) to live with other students who share that same interest. Students work collaboratively to plan programs, workshops, trips and other activities related to their area of interest. Some communities also incorporate what they are learning in class with their living communities.

Advantages to On Campus Living

More and more undergraduate and graduate/law students are discovering the benefits of on-campus living. As a campus resident, our students forge lifelong friendships, get to know students from other states and countries, and gain valuable leadership and team-building experience. Living on campus means our students are close to classes, the library, computer labs, the Student Center, recreational facilities, and the hundreds of activities, sporting events, and educational, social, and cultural programs that take place on campus throughout the academic year.

Students living on campus have the opportunity to learn to live independently while having the support of resident assistants (RAs) who live on their floor to provide informal counseling and oversee community life in the residence halls. Students living on campus have the added advantage of developing time management, communication, and interpersonal skills as they learn to live with fellow residents. Our halls are staffed 24 hours a day by resident security representatives and have full-time live-in professional staff available to respond to student issues and concerns.

If you have any questions about on campus living, please contact the Office of Residence Life at (516) 463-6930 or Reslife{at} We hope you will choose to make Hofstra your “home away from home.”

Off Campus

Students interested in researching off-campus housing should contact the Office of Off-Campus Living and Commuting Student Services for additional assistance. However, students should be aware that off-campus housing is limited. In addition, it is the student's responsibility to locate their own off-campus accommodations. There is no guarantee that students will find off-campus housing upon arrival, so please try to make housing accommodations well in advance. It is highly recommended that international students live on campus during their first year at Hofstra so that they can familiarize themselves with the surrounding area as well as give time to research available apartments. Please note that students cannot live on campus while searching for an apartment since they will be charged the full-year housing rate.

Driving in New York State

You must have a valid driver’s license to drive in New York State (NYS). A person of any age who does not intend to drive can apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a non-driver photo ID card (NDID). Visit the DMV website to learn how to apply for a non-driver ID card. If you wish to drive, please check the chart below to see what you should do based on your situation:

I have...What to Do
A valid driver's license from another U.S. state or territory, or a foreign countryYou can drive in New York with a valid driver’s license from another state or country. Students from other states or from other nations who attend school in New York State are normally not considered NY residents and are not required to get a NYS driver's license. As long as your foreign driver’s license is still valid, you do not need to exchange it for a NY license, but you must have English language documentation of your license information. Read 'Out-of-state and Foreign Driver’s Licenses' below for more details. (Source:
Never had a driver's license or my foreign driver’s license is expired1. First, apply for a Learner’s Permit at a DMV office. The Learner’s Permit allows new drivers to gain actual driving experience while being supervised by a licensed driver riding in the same car. If you have a NYS Learner’s Permit and you do not have a valid foreign license, NYS law requires a supervising driver to ride with you. The supervising driver must be age 21 or over and must have a valid driver license to operate the vehicle that you drive.

2. After obtaining a Learner’s Permit, a driver's license test may be scheduled with the New York State DMV to test your driving abilities and knowledge of local road rules. You must pass the test to obtain a driver’s license.

Read 'How to Apply for a NY Driver's License or Non-Driver ID Card' below for more details.

Out-of-state and Foreign Driver’s Licenses

If you have a driver's license from another country you do not need to have an International Driving Permit, but it is helpful. If your license is in a language other than English, police officers who cannot read that language will be able to read the International Driving Permit and verify that you have a valid license. Contact the motor vehicle authorities in your home country to get an International Driving Permit. If you don’t have an International Driving Permit, you should carry a certified translation of your foreign driver's license. The translation must be certified by a consulate, the U.S. Department of State, or another official agency. The translation must include:

  • your name
  • your date of birth
  • the expiration date of your foreign driver’s license
  • a list of the types of vehicles that your foreign driver’s license allows you to drive


How to Apply for a NY Driver's License or Non-Driver ID Card

We recommend that you carry your driver's license or non-driver ID with you for identification instead of your passport and keep your passport in a safe place. You must provide original documents when you apply for a NYS driver's license or non-driver ID. You can fill out the application form (Form MV-44) at the DMV or download it from: For quicker service, we recommend that you make a reservation online before going to the DMV office. Read more about how to apply for a driver's license on the DMV website. Please note you can apply for a 'Standard' license or permit without a Social Security Card or SSN ineligibility letter. Only if you apply for a REAL ID compliant license or permit will you need to provide a Social Security Card or SSN Ineligibility letter.

When applying, you must show proof of your name:

  • If you have your Social Security Card, you must have 4 points of proof of name in addition to your Social Security Card.
  • If you do not have a Social Security Card, you must have 6 points of proof of name. (If you have never been issued a social security number and are applying for a REAL ID compliant license or permit, you must also provide ​an SSN Ineligibility letter.)

You can use the ‘New York DMV Standard License and Permit Document Guide’ online tool to determine what proof documents you should bring. All proofs of name must show the same name. For students who transferred from another U.S. institution, please make sure you pick up your continued attendance I-20 before you go to the DMV.

Check how many points the different types of proof accepted by the DMV are worth in the table below. Be sure you have at least the minimum required amount of points, but bring as many proof documents as you can.

Number of PointsType of Proof
  • Foreign passport with a visa, original I-20/DS-2019, and a valid I-94 (You can print out your I-94 from:
  • Foreign driver’s license with photo (valid or expired no more than 2 years)
  • Photo driver’s license issued by another U.S. State, jurisdiction, Canadian Province or territory (must be current or expired no longer than 2 years)
  • Employment Authorization Card with photo issued by Department of Homeland Security (valid)
  • U.S. College ID Card with Photo and Transcript
  • U.S. Social Security Card
  • Employment Authorization Card with photo issued by Department of Homeland Security (expired less than 2 years)
  • U.S. Health Insurance Card
  • U.S. Utility Bill (must include your name and address and be issued within 1 year)
  • U.S. Computer Printed Pay Stub (must have your name)
  • U.S. Federal or NY State income tax W-2 (if issued within 1 year)
  • Only one of these items, if issued by the same financial institution, will be accepted:
    • U.S. bank statement
    • U.S. cancelled check (must have your pre-printed name)
    • U.S. debit card (ATM) (must have your signature & pre-printed name)
    • Valid major US credit card

Garden City DMV Office (DL tests are NOT given at this location)Find a DMV Office Near You

801 Axinn Avenue
Garden City, NY 11530

Directions via Meadowbrook Parkway:

  1. Depart Hofstra Blvd toward RT-24 W / Hempstead Tpke / Hempstead-Bethpage Tpke
  2. Turn left onto RT-24 E / Hempstead Tpke / Hempstead-Bethpage Tpke
  3. Take ramp right for Meadowbrook Parkway North toward Mineola
  4. At exit M2 E, take ramp right toward Zeckendorf Blvd
  5. Keep straight onto Dibblee Dr
  6. Turn left onto Zeckendorf Blvd
  7. Turn right onto E Gate Blvd, and then immediately turn left onto Axinn Ave
  8. Arrive at 801 Axinn Ave, Garden City, NY 11530

Bethpage DMV Office
4031 Hempstead Turnpike
Bethpage, NY 11714-560

Scholarships & Loans

Hofstra University has established multiple scholarship programs to reward students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, athletic talent, and strong leadership, as well as performers and artists. Hofstra is committed to providing you with an affordable, high quality education. All applicants are automatically considered for scholarships so no additional application for aid is required. Just be sure to complete your application for admission and send all required documents by the posted deadlines. If you have questions about Hofstra's scholarships, contact the appropriate Admission office and learn more on this webpage.

Looking for additional scholarships and loans for international students? The reality is that there is very little financial aid available from United States sources for international students. International student scholarships are very hard to secure and the majority of international students in the U.S. must rely exclusively on themselves and their relatives for funding. If you need to obtain financial aid or an international student scholarship to afford an American education, the best place for you to look is your home country. There may be international student scholarships and international student loans available for study abroad from your government, or from local businesses, organizations, and foundations in your home country.

Other places to look for international student scholarships, international student loans and other forms of international student aid are international humanitarian organizations that want to promote international education and cultural exchange with the U.S.A. Included in these organizations are the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the League of Red Cross Societies, and the World Council of Churches. Some of these organizations have restricted financial aid; international student scholarships or aid may only be available to graduate students, students from a specific ethnic group, or students who have chosen a specific course of study. Financial aid and scholarships from these organizations are very competitive, so you need to start your search early.

Below are some links for websites that provide information on international student scholarships and financial aid for international students:

  • AAUW – This organization provides fellowships for international graduate students who are women.
  • AMIDEAST–This organization provides grants for international students from the Middle East and North Africa.
  • College Board - Free online financial aid source for scholarships, grants, and loans for all college-bound students, including permanent residents and international students wishing to study in the United States.
  • Education USA – This site promotes U.S. higher education around the world by offering information about educational institutions in the United States and guidance to qualified individuals on how best to access those opportunities.
  • EduPASS: The Smart Student Guide to Studying in the US – This site provides a free scholarship search for international students wishing to study in the US.
  • Fulbright – Fulbright grants are available for international students in graduate school.
  • Institute for International Education – The institute publishes a book titled Funding for U.S. Study: A Guide for Citizens of Other Nations that provides information on hundreds of grants and international student scholarships offered by governments, foundations and international organizations.
  • International Education Financial Aid - Free online scholarship search service designed for international students.
  • – Browse financial aid opportunities by location and field of study.
  • International Student Loans – This site offers loans to international students, so long as the international student loan is co-signed by an American citizen.
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators – Provides financial aid information primarily for international students with nonimmigrant visas (F-1, J-1, etc.).
  • Rotary International – This organization provides some limited international student scholarships.
  • Open Society Foundations – This foundation offers international student scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. Many are restricted to students from specific countries.

Social Security Number

The Social Security Number (SSN) is a U.S. taxpayer identification number and is intended only for use in relation to employment in the U.S. International students who are authorized to work in the U.S. and have a job offer may apply for a SSN. The SSN does not represent permission to work, nor is it proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residence. Once you obtain a SSN, it is your number forever and may be used on future visits to the U.S. You should not have more than one SSN.

Below are instructions on how to apply for the Social Security Number if you have an on campus job. If you have off campus CPT authorization, ISA will provide you with the necessary SSN letter and hand-signed I-20 when we process your e-form requesting CPT authorization. Please bring the SSN letter and CPT I-20 along with the other required documents when you apply for the SSN.

For students working off-campus on CPT authorization: ISA will provide you with the necessary SSN letter and hand-signed I-20 when we process your e-form to request CPT. There is no need to also fill in the SSN e-form. Please bring the SSN letter and CPT I-20 along with the other required documents when you apply for the SSN (only follow steps 4 - 5 below).

How to apply for the SSN for students with an on-campus job:

  1. Once you are offered an on-campus job you will either receive a New Hire EPAF (Electronic Personnel Action Form) via email or work with your employer to fill out a hiring document to confirm your hiring. Employers can download blank hiring documents on the Hofstra Portal.
  2. Request a Social Security letter from International Student Affairs. To obtain this letter, please fill in the SSN Letter Request E-Form and upload your signed Hofstra hiring document or a copy of your New Hire EPAF email (whichever one your employer provides). You must also upload a description of your job responsibilities. ISA E-forms are available at
  3. International Student Affairs will notify you when the letter and physical I-20 are ready for pick up.
  4. Complete Form SS-5, the application for a SSN. This form and information on how to apply for a SSN, including what documents to bring, is available on the Social Security Administration (SSA) website: Please be sure to bring the following to the SSA:
    • Physical, hand signed I-20
    • SSN letter issued by ISA
    • Most recent I-94 arrival record
    • Valid passport and valid visa
    • Hiring offer letter/documents that includes your name, describes your job, start date, number of work hours per week, and your supervisor’s contact information
  5. Apply for the SSN at a Social Security Administration (SSA) Office. The closest SSA office to Hofstra’s campus is in Mineola. You can search for SSA locations by zip code on this website: At the SSA office be sure to ask for a receipt or letter of verification indicating that you applied for the SSN.
  6. Email the SSA receipt letter to Student Employment at for review of your eligibility to begin work and for further instructions.
    Note: Students hired by Compass or Hofstra Summer Camps do not need to contact the Office of Student Employment for steps 6 - 7, you should work directly with your employer instead.
  7. The SSA will mail your Social Security Card to the address indicated on your application. Once you receive your card, contact Student Employment via email for further instructions. Please never email anyone your Social Security Number or images of your Social Security Card! 

Attention students in the School of Education!

Partaking in observation hours and student teaching at a local school is an integral part of many degrees within teacher education programs. In order to take part in these activities, New York State requires fingerprinting. Unfortunately, it cannot be done without a Social Security Number. The School of Education will request temporary Social Security Numbers for those students who do not have a Social Security Number for the purposes of completing the fingerprinting. Please visit the School of Education’s website for more information.

Information for International Graduates

How can I apply for graduation?

  1. Log into the Hofstra portal, then click the Student Services tab from the left hand menu
  2. Under the Student Services section, click on 'Apply for Graduation'
  3. Enter the Graduation Term (the term in which you will complete all requirements)
  4. Enter your Name as you would like it to appear on your diploma
  5. Enter the Address where your diploma should be mailed and click 'Submit'

When is the deadline to apply for graduation? Are there any late fees associated with this process?

Every candidate for graduation must apply for graduation to the Office of Academic Records by May 1 for December graduates and October 1 for May graduates. August candidates must file by March 1. There is a late filing fee of $50 for undergrads, and $25 for graduate students.

How long will it take for my diploma to be generated?

Diplomas are typically delivered to graduates within 8-12 weeks.

If I am still present in the U.S. when my diploma is generated, how can I receive it?

Diplomas can be delivered to a U.S. address or can be held for pick-up. Please indicate your preference on your graduation application or email to verify/update the delivery preference of the diploma.

How can I request that my diploma be mailed overseas to a mailing address outside the U.S.?

You can include an international address on your graduation application and the Registrar will mail the diploma. If the Registrar has any concerns with the address they will contact you to discuss your options.

On average, how long will it take for my diploma to arrive to a mailing address outside the U.S.?

This is difficult for the Registrar to estimate given the varied mailing delays experienced due to the on-going effects of the pandemic. If you are concerned and expect you will need your diploma urgently, you may want to contact the Registrar at to discuss your options.

Inviting International Guests to Commencement

The Office of International Student Affairs is unable to provide invitation letters to the family members or friends of graduating F-1 students because it cannot assume responsibility for their actions while in the U.S. Students who wish to provide an invitation letter to their guests to attend graduation may choose to write one themselves with the help of online templates where needed. The students’ guests may then bring the invitation letter to their visa appointments as proof of the purpose of their travel.

How to Write an Invitation Letter

ISA does not have invitation letter templates available, but examples can easily be found online. The letter content is up to the discretion of the student writing it, but for reference some elements that students may consider including in a graduation invitation include:

  • Student’s name, visa category, and name of the university they attend
  • Type of degree being pursued and the student’s academic major or concentration
  • Student’s SEVIS number (this can be found on your current I-20)
  • Purpose of the invitation with the date and location of the graduation ceremony
  • The full names of family members or friends to be invited to the graduation ceremony with information about their date of birth and relation to the student
  • Information about the intended duration of their visit and accommodation details
  • List of all attached supporting documents

Supporting Documentation for Visa Applications

While not always necessary, students may choose to provide their international guests with additional supporting documentation verifying their student status and that they are studying at Hofstra. Examples of such documentation include:

  • Enrollment Verification Letter (Registrar)
    • Verification that the student is an active Hofstra student
    • Obtained from the Registrar’s office or through the Hofstra student portal
  • Expected graduation (Registrar)
    • Verification of the student’s expected graduation term and date
    • Obtained from the Registrar’s office
  • Letter of good standing (ISA)
  • Form I-20 (from student)
    • The student may provide guests with a copy of their current I-20 (be sure to keep the original for your own use)
  • Letter of invitation (written by student)
    • The student is responsible for creating this letter on their own
  • Current class schedule (Hofstra Portal)
    • Unofficial proof of the student’s class schedule
    • Obtained by the student from their personal Hofstra portal
  • Unofficial transcript (Hofstra Portal)
    • Unofficial proof of the student’s academic record
    • Obtained by the student from their personal Hofstra portal
    • Students may request official transcripts from the Registrar’s office through their Hofstra student portal
  • Graduation Event details (from website or Commencement Office)
    • Communication or website screenshot verifying the details of the graduation ceremonies
    • Obtained by the student from the Hofstra website or by emailing
  • Financial documentation (from student)
    • Students may choose to provide personal or family financial documents to support their international guests’ visa applications
  • Copy of Passport (from student)
    • Students may provide a copy of their current passport
  • Copy of Visa (from student)
    • Students may provide a copy of their F-1 visa

Students who wish to request any of the above documentation from Hofstra offices on campus must allow sufficient time for such requests to be processed. Please check with each office about their processing time estimates and be sure to consider them in preparing your supporting documentation package.

Please note that the above is not an exhaustive list and should only serve as a suggestion. This guide is intended to assist students and their guests in preparing a tourist visa application, but please note that visas will only be granted at the discretion of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It is each individual applicant’s responsibility to inquire with their local U.S. Embassy or Consulate about the documents needed for their visa application and visa interview appointment.

For more information, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website or contact your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate directly. Each U.S. Embassy or Consulate has visa application instructions posted on their website. Required documents may vary at different locations, so please check for the location where your guests plan to apply. Go to to see a list of all U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

Family Resources

The following information is for F-2/J-2 dependents of Hofstra students. We hope these resources will help you and your family get settled in the New York area and navigate child care services and the local school system. Please note this content is provided for general informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice.

Child Care
New York State’s Office of Children and Family Services provides guidance on finding child care on their website. The site includes a database of regulated child care providers in New York State where you can look up a specific provider by name, or all the providers in a particular county or zip code. You can also search by different types of care, such as family day care or daycare centers. For information on Hofstra’s Childcare Center, visit the Child Care Institute website. For more information on Hofstra’s parenting classes and child socialization groups, please visit the CMHP Clinic.

Elementary/Secondary School
In New York State, minor children from six to sixteen years of age must attend school full time. Families moving to New York who need to enroll children in a local school can research the county/city public school system where they will be living or private school options in the area. New student registration procedures vary so contact or visit the website of your local school district or private school directly for specific information. If you are living near Hofstra’s campus, visit the Nassau County Education Resources webpage for local school and library information.