Penn Admission Office Responsibilities

  • See the list of estimated funding requirement
  • Contact ISSS if there is a new or existing program that intends to admit international students.
    • View the current ISSS program codes via the iPenn logo below. 
    • Wait to admit international students until the Student Program Questionnaire form is submitted and additions to Penn's I-17 are approved by Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  • Send an admission letter to the student
  • Assign a 9-digit Admission ID if the student does not have a Social Security Number. The admission ID should match SRS record ID. The admission Office also provides the new student with the 9-digit admission ID.
  • Upload the admission list through iPenn via the logo below. 
  • iPenn will automatically send an email with login instructions after the upload is done. See sample login instructions
  • Provide ISSS with the estimated financial tuition and fee figures each year before the first I-20/DS-2019 is issued for each new admission season.
    • New estimated financial figures (for one academic year or for the period of study if less than a year) are required in order to post in iPenn for the students to prepare for the financial certification documents.
    • ISSS will start to collect new financial figures from Penn's admission or financial offices in December.
    • The estimated expenses are provided to ISSS before the actual figures are confirmed by the Trustees of the University in late March or early April. The estimated funding requirement will be printed on the student’s I-20/DS-2019. It is possible that the actual figures will be slightly different, but the discrepancies will not affect student’s visa application.

Please also review the Frequently Asked Questions below to cover some questions you may have. 

Annual Admission Meeting

ISSS hosts information meetings for Penn's Admission Offices each year. The invitation emails will be sent out at least one month early. The meetings will provide information on the I-20/DS-2019 application process and any immigration regulatory updates that may affect student visa. It also identifies how ISSS and Penn's Admission Offices work together to facilitate the arrival of new international students at Penn. Please  if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • 1. What should I do if we have a new or amended program to be available for international students?
  • Please send an email to ISSS with the following information:

    • Program name
    • Department name
    • Administrator name
    • Administrator email

    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 ISSS, you can start to admit the international students into the program.

  • 2. How can I gain access to 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 iPenn (see logo above) 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?
    1. 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.  
    2. Please check the program start date to make sure it is a future date.
    3. 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 email the error message to ISSS.

  • 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”.
  • 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 put on hold if ISSS is waiting for:

    1. The student’s financial certification documents to prove the funding
    2. The student’s passport copy or immigration documents (for transfer student)
    3. The department to finalize the student’s program dates, the major or other admission information
    4. The updated SRS record for returning students
    5. The SEVIS record to be released from previous school or institution for transfer student
    6. The OPT 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?
  • To complete the SEVIS transfer procedure:

    1. You must contact your current school International Student Advisor to arrange to transfer your SEVIS record to the University of Pennsylvania. You may use this SEVIS transfer form if your current school requires it.
    2. Complete this online application and upload your financial documentation and current immigration documents (passport, I-20 or DS-2019, visa and front and back of I-94 (if issued paper I-94) or US entry/admission stamp in passport (if issued electronic I-94)).
    3. ISSS will create an I-20 or DS-2019 for you once we receive this online application and once the transfer release date issued by your current school has been reached.
    4. After you arrive on campus, you must attend ISSS international student orientation within 15 days of your program start date as listed on your Penn-issued I-20 or DS-2019. Failure to complete the transfer process as described will jeopardize your immigration status in the U.S.

    Attention International Student Advisor (DSO/ARO):  In SEVIS, our school name appears as “University of Pennsylvania”.  Our SEVIS F-1 school code is PHI214F00151000 (Campus name: University of Pennsylvania) and our J-1 program number is P-1-00183.

    Attention Current F-1 or J-1 Students at Another U.S. Institution
    The University of Pennsylvania does not issue I-20s or DS-2019s for all programs. Please review the list of programs.

  • 12. How soon can an F-1 or J-1 student enter the US?
  • 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 are required 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. 

    There are restrictions applying to international students taking online courses. Please consult with ISSS if the students are allowed to take any online courses.

  • 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 should I do if the student cannot come to Penn on time because of visa delay or other reasons?
  • Please have the student contact ISSS.  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 60 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. 

  • 17. How to help the student to apply for Social Security Number card?
    • For F-1, the student and the hiring department should complete the form “Social Security On-Campus work Authorization for F-1 and J-1 Student”.  Please see the PDF (this form can be signed at the ISSS front desk)
    • For J-1, in addition to the on-campus work authorization form, the student needs to complete on campus employment authorization request form.  Please see the PDF (this form can only be signed by an ISSS advisor)
    • For more information please see the section on Social Security