What should the Admission Office do if we have a new or amended program to be available for international students?
How can I gain access to the ISSS international student database (iPenn) to add new student records?
What do I do if my attempts to mass upload a CSV file in iPenn fails?
What can I do if the student cannot login to iPenn?
How will students be notified with instructions about how to apply for the I-20 or DS-2019?
What’s the difference between F-1 and J-1 status?
How long does it take to process an I-20 or DS-2019 application?
Can an international student already in the U.S. transfer their F-1 or J-1 record to Penn?
How can a returning student apply for an I-20 or DS-2019?
Does an international student currently studying at Penn and admitted to a new program need to apply for a new I-20 or DS-2019?
How can the student pay the SEVIS fee?
How soon can an F-1 or J-1 student enter the U.S.?
How many credits must an international student enroll in per semester to maintain full time status?
Do international students have to study during the summer session?
What do I need to do if the student cannot make it to Penn on time because of visa delay or other reasons?
Can international students work on Penn’s campus?
How to help the student to apply for Social Security Number card?
1. What should the Admissions Office do if we have a new or amended program to be available for international students?
Please send an email to email@example.com with the following information:
You will then receive an email from our IT staff containing an individual link to submit the online program questionnaire for this new or amended program. After submitting the program questionnaire you will be able to review the status online. Only after receiving approval notification from ISSSS, you can start to admit the international students into the program.
2. How can I gain access to the ISSS international student database (iPenn) to add new student records?
If you have never uploaded to the iPenn system you will need to attend a brief training session with an ISSS International Student Specialist. After the training you will have access to log into iPenn.
Once you have access, you can visit https://www.ipenn.oip.upenn.edu/ and click on the link “Administrative Services for University Departments.” After logging in with your PennKey choose “Admission Office Use” from the collapsible menu on the left side of the screen. From the menu select “Individual Entry” or “Mass Upload File” to upload new student records.
3. What do I do if my attempts to mass upload a CSV file in iPenn fails?
Please check if there is an old SRS record for this student. If yes, please use old SRS record ID as 9 digit admission ID. If the student provides social security number (SSN) which is not old SRS record ID, please contact school registrar to change old SRS record to be SSN before using SSN as 9 digit admission ID.
Please check the program start date to make sure it is a future date.
Please see if the birth date is in the correct format (MM/DD/YYYY)
If a required cell in the CSV worksheet is left blank, or if the format or value of the cell is incorrect, the upload attempt will produce an error indicating which column or row has the missing or incorrect information. If you believe you are doing the upload correct but are still getting errors please send the error message to ISSS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. What can I do if the student cannot login to iPenn?
It may be that the student is entering their Social Security number or 9-digit admission ID with dashes (XXX-XX-XXX). The admission ID should contain no dashes. In some cases the record uploaded to iPenn did not contain the correct date of birth or correct format (MM/DD/YYYY), which will prevent the student from logging in when entering their correct date of birth. If all of the student’s login information is correct and they are still having trouble with the login they should contact ISSS with subject line “iPenn Login Problem” at email@example.com.
5. How will students be notified with instructions about how to apply for the I-20 or DS-2019?
Once a record is uploaded in iPenn, the student will receive an automatic email that provides information about where and how to apply for the I-20 or DS-2019. An example of the login instructions can be seen here http://global.upenn.edu/uploads/media_items/ipenn-sample-login-instructions.original.pdf.
6. What’s the difference between F-1 and J-1 status?
See the link “F-1 versus J-1” at http://global.upenn.edu/isss/admitting to see who is eligible for an F-1 and/or J-1 visa status. Note for exchange students - all exchange students must come as a J-1 student. Students whose curriculum includes patient/clinical components are not eligible for J-1 status.
7. How long does it take to process an I-20 or DS-2019 application?
The I-20/DS-2019 usually is processed on a first come first served basis. The cases may be bumped up because of early program start date, urgent visa requirement, immediate travel plan, etc. During the peak time from April to early June, it’s possible that the processing time may take up to 3 weeks. The application may be pending for
Waiting for student’s financial certification documents to prove the funding
Waiting for student’s passport copy or immigration documents (for transfer student)
Waiting for department to finalize the student’s program dates, the major or other admission information
Waiting for the updated SRS record for returning students
Waiting for SEVIS record to be released from previous school or institution for transfer student
Waiting for OPT end date or current program end date for change level student
8. Can an international student already in the U.S. transfer their F-1 or J-1 record to Penn?
Please refer students to these instructions http://global.upenn.edu/isss/admitting question number 3 in the FAQ section).
9. How can a returning student apply for an I-20 or DS-2019?
The student can log in to iPenn by going here https://www.ipenn.oip.upenn.edu/. They will use their PennKey to login. Instructions about the application process can be found here http://global.upenn.edu/uploads/media_items/ipenn-login-notice.original.pdf. Please encourage the student to request a new I-20/DS-2019 from ISSS 3-4 months before returning. The student will need to obtain permission to return and have the Penn Student Records System (SRS) record updated by the academic department before returning to Penn.
10. Does an international student currently studying at Penn and admitted to a new program need to apply for a new I-20 or DS-2019?
Yes, the student will need an updated I-20 or DS-2019 to reflect the change of education level and new program dates. Please refer students to these instructions http://global.upenn.edu/isss/admitting#coel.
11. How can the student pay the SEVIS fee?
The student can pay the SEVIS fee at http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/. The current one-time fee for F-1 students is $200 and J-1 is $180.
12. How soon can an F-1 or J-1 student enter the U.S.?
Students entering the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status for the first time may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days prior to the program start date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019. For transfer and change of level students, they do not have this 30 day limitation.
13. How many credits must an international student enroll in per semester to maintain full time status?
Undergraduate level students must be enrolled in a minimum of 4 credit units per semester and Graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 3 credit units per semester. If a student is under enrolled in their last semester before graduation, or other circumstances keep them from enrolling full time, they will need to request a Reduced Course Load authorization (http://global.upenn.edu/isss/rcl).
14. Do international students have to study during the summer session?
Students enrolled full time during the Spring and Fall semesters do not have to study during the Summer session to maintain their F-1 or J-1 status. However, if a student is beginning their program or completing their program during the Summer session the student must be enrolled full-time.
15. What do I need to do if the student cannot make it to Penn on time because of visa delay or other reasons?
Please have the student contact ISSS at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will contact the student and track the details of their visa delay. ISSS cannot expedite visa delay cases. However, we can inquire about the case with the Department of State if the delay is pending more than 30 days.
The department or admission office should inform the student and ISSS the definite date by which the student should be arriving at Penn to be able to enroll FULL TIME. The student’s initial SEVIS record will be remain valid for 30 days (15 days for transfer student) from the I-20/DS-2019 program start date. Please consider deferring the admissions to next semester if the student is not able to physically attend classes and enroll full time.
16. Can international students work on Penn’s campus?
Yes, they can work on campus a maximum of 20 hours per week during the semester. For more information please see these instructions for F-1 http://global.upenn.edu/isss/f1employment and J-1 http://global.upenn.edu/isss/j1employment.
17. How to help the student to apply for Social Security Number card?
Please see SSN application detailed instruction at http://global.upenn.edu/isss/ssn