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Steps for Newly Admitted Students

Newly admitted international students will follow these steps:

  1. Admission – Congratulations on your admission! Set up your Northwestern NetID, password, and create your G-Suite email (Northwestern email address). See the Information Technology page and follow the links under "Incoming Students."

  2. Tuition deposit – Pay your NU tuition deposit if a deposit is required by your academic program.
    Please note:
    • Undergraduate students are required to make a tuition deposit.
    • Master's and PhD programs in The Graduate School (TGS) do NOT require a tuition deposit. Students admitted to a program in  The Graduate School need only accept the admission offer.
    • Tuition deposits for Master's programs in other schools outside The Graduate School (for example McCormick, Kellogg, Pritzker, Medill, Bienen School of Music, etc.) VARY BY PROGRAM. Please contact your academic program to inquire if a tuition deposit is required.
    • If a tuition deposit is required, the amount due will appear on your Account in CAESAR. Please see the instructions to make a tuition deposit in CAESAR for more details.
  3. Await notification of access to OISS Portal Admitted students will be granted access to the OISS portal once the Northwestern Student Information System (CAESAR) transmits essential profile information over to the OISS. Your OISS profile includes biographic information, academic level, academic program to which you have been admitted, program dates, program costs, and other essential information. Please be patient as it generally takes at least two weeks from date of admission and receipt of tuition deposit for the systems to sync so that we may grant students access to the portal.  

    Upon receiving access to the portal, you will receive a system generated email sent to your NU email address. You will then be able to log in to the OISS Portal with your Net ID and password to request an immigration document.

  4. Complete I-20/DS-2019 request – Follow the link in the email to log in to the OISS Portal to complete the questionnaires and upload required documents. Be sure to review Financial Document Requirements prior to submitting financial documentation. Transfer-in students should review the Transfer a SEVIS Record to NU resource with detailed instructions.

  5. Create Homebase account and review all information in the online Newly Admitted Student Guide:

    This online guide will provide students with important information that will be useful as you complete your immigration document request, prepare for your visa appointment, travel to the United States, and begin your studies at Northwestern. 

    Follow these steps to create an account and access the “Newly Admitted International Student Guide” through Homebase:

    1. Create an account with Homebase at
    2. In the “select your institution” box, select Northwestern University on the dropdown menu.
    3. In the access code box, enter:  3425
    4. Fill in the rest of the information and set a password to create your account and access the course.
    5. Be sure to make note of your password so that you can return to log in to this platform and access this guide. There will be additional pre-arrival and post-arrival guides that will be available to you in the future. You will need to login to this same platform to access those guides as well.
    NOTE: This guide is intended for all degree-seeking students at Northwestern EXCEPT FOR Master's level and exchange students in the Kellogg School of Management. Kellogg Master's degree level and exchange students will receive information regarding their orientation program and other instructions directly from the Kellogg International team. 

  6. I-20/DS-2019 issued – Current processing time is 4 weeks from the time the request is completed and submitted. You will receive an email alerting you when your I-20/DS-2019 has been processed.

  7. Access and print your I-20/DS-2019 
    Both F and J visa students will access the immigration document (I-20 or DS-2019) electronically via the OISS portal. You will need to print and sign the document in blue ink in the "Student Attestation" section of the document. You will receive an email alerting you when your I-20/DS-2019 has been processed and is available in the portal.
  8. Pay SEVIS fee – Go to I-901 Fee website to pay your SEVIS fee

  9. Schedule visa appointment - Canadian students do not need a visa; Canadian students skip steps 9 &10
    Learn more scheduling your visa appointment

  10. Visa appointment – Attend visa appointment with required documents

  11. F-1/J-1 visa issued – The US Consulate/Embassy will affix your F-1 or J-1 visa stamp in your passport

  12. Travel to the United States

  13. Attend orientation and immigration check-in
    Complete the “Student Check-In” request on the OISS Portal within 5 days of arrival to Northwestern.

Important Note:

New students should regularly check their Northwestern email address. All communications from OISS will be sent to the Northwestern email address only.