Information for Admission Offices

COVID-19 Related FAQs for Admissions Representatives

We have prepared a list of admissions-specific FAQs related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Please find them here. This page will be updated as we receive new information and guidance.  

Annual Admission Meeting

ISSS hosts annual information meetings for Penn's Admission Offices to review how ISSS and Admissions can work together to facilitate the arrival of Penn’s new international students.   The meetings provide information on the I-20/DS-2019 application process and any immigration updates that may affect the visa application process.  Please email ISSS with any questions.


Penn Admission Office Responsibilities

Financial Tuition and Fee Information

  • Annually provide ISSS with estimated financial tuition and fee figures.

  • ISSS will begin to collect new estimated financial figures in December (for one academic year or for the period of study if less than a year) .

  • Updated information must be entered in iPenn before the new admission season.  If not, new students cannot complete the financial certification section of the I-20/DS-2019 application.

  • Please see the listing of estimated funding requirement.

    • Please note: Estimated expenses are provided to ISSS before the Trustees of the University confirm the actual figures around late March or early April. The student’s I-20/DS-2019 includes the estimated financial figures. Any possible discrepancies will not affect the student’s visa application.

Steps to provide students access to I-20/DS-2019 application

  • Send admission letter to the student.

  • Assign 9-digit Admission ID (if the student does not have a Social Security Number).

    • The admission ID should match the SRS record ID. 

    • Provide the new student with the 9-digit admission ID.  

  • Upload admission list through iPenn. For students new to Penn, iPenn will automatically send an email with login instructions. For returning or continuing students, please be sure to notify the student to log into iPenn to apply for a new I-20/DS-2019. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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.

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.  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.

  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.

  • 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”.

Once a record is uploaded in iPenn by the Penn Admission's office, the student will receive an automatic email that provides information about where and how to apply for the I-20/DS-2019.

See F-1 vs J-1 to see details and eligibility F-1 and/or J-1 status.  Note: students whose curriculum includes patient/clinical components are not eligible for J-1 status.

During the peak time from April to early June, processing time may take up to 3 weeks. 

Typically applications will be processed in the order they are received.  However, earlier review may be necessary due to program start date, urgent visa requirement, immediate travel plans, etc. 

Processing may be delayed if one or more of the following is incomplete or missing:

  • The student’s financial certification documents

  • The student’s passport copy or immigration documents (for transfer student)

  • The department to finalize the student’s program dates, major or other admission information

  • The updated SRS record for returning students

  • The SEVIS record to be released from previous school or institution for transfer student

  • The previous program or OPT end date for change of level student

  1. The student should first consult with their current F-1 or J-1 sponsor to discuss their transfer eligibility and the SEVIS transfer out process to the University of Pennsylvania.

  2. If eligible, the student will complete  the I-20/DS-2019 application in iPenn and follow the instructions specific to transfer students.

  3. ISSS will create an I-20 or DS-2019 once the transfer release date in SEVIS has been reached.

  4. After the student arrives on campus, they must attend ISSS International student Orientation within 15 days of the Penn issued I-20 or DS-2019 program start date. Failure to complete the transfer process as described could jeopardize the student’s immigration status.

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 and/or DS-2019s for all programs. Please review the list of programs.

The student will first need to obtain permission to return from their academic school at Penn.  Once their return is updated by their school in Penn’s Student Records System (SRS), the student may request a new I-20/DS-2019 by logging into iPenn with their PennKey. Refer to the Instructions about the application process.   Please encourage the student to request a new I-20/DS-2019 from ISSS 3-4 months before returning.

Yes, the student will need an updated I-20 or DS-2019 to reflect the program change.  If the new program will start after the current program finishes, the student will use Pennkey to log into iPenn to request a change of education level I-20 or DS-2019.

If the student is concurrently admitted into both programs at the same educational level, and needs additional time to finish both programs, the student may apply for a program extension.  Please refer students to review the program extension application request.

The SEVIS fee is paid at

F-2/J-2 dependents do not need to pay the SEVIS fee.

Students entering the U.S. in initial F-1 or J-1 status 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.

Undergraduate level students must be enrolled in a minimum of 4 credit units per semester. Graduate students usually must be enrolled in a minimum of 3 credit units per semester.  In general, exceptions for graduate programs will require communication and approval from ISSS.  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.

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.

Please have the student contact ISSS at to provide further information related to their 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 180 days. 

The department or admission office should inform the student and ISSS the latest possible date the student may arrive to begin their program at Penn and still successfully maintain a full-time course load.  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 by the start of the semester.

Yes, they can usually work on campus a maximum of 20 hours per week during the semester.  For more information please see these instructions for F-1 & J-1 Employment.

  • 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