Checklist to Get Started for New International Graduate Students
Welcome to Stanford and the Bechtel International Center! To help you get started at Stanford successfully, follow this checklist of important steps to take and tasks to complete.
☐ Visit the Community Advisors website to view the programs offered by The Community Committee for International Students (CCIS). Programs include Homestay, Loan Closet, English classes, English-in-Action conversations, Windows on the West film series, and more. The Homestay program offers international graduate students the opportunity to develop informal friendships with their Host away from the University’s academic life. The maximum 5-day stay usually occurs between mid-August and the start of the Fall term.
☐ Update your U.S. address and save it as the SEVIS (U.S.) address in Axess as required by immigration law. This address cannot be a P.O. Box or Department or Bechtel address. It must be the address where you reside in
the U.S. while enrolled at Stanford. Step-by-step information on how to enter your address can be found on our Address Updates webpage. Remember to update your SEVIS (U.S.) address AND a 10-digit U.S. phone number within 10 days of obtaining a new address. As an option, you may pick-up a SIMS card at the Bechtel International Center to establish a U.S. phone number.
☐ Enter a U.S. address for your “Mail Address.” This will permit other university offices (Registrar’s Office, Vaden Health Center, etc.) to send refunds and other important information to you.
☐ Make sure your Stanford e-mail address is entered accurately in Axess so you can be included in our mailing list and stay informed about any changes in visa regulations that may affect you. You must consistently use your stanford.edu email address in your communication with our office.
☐ Obtain your Stanford ID Card. Visit the Stanford ID Card Office website to learn how to get your Stanford ID Card.
☐ Photocopy and/or scan your visa documents (I-20 or DS-2019, passport). Remember to go online to print out the I-94 information from the CBP website. Keep originals in a safe and separate place. For more information, visit
our Visas webpage.
☐ Do not discard any previous I-20s (or DS-2019s) from other institutions you may have attended prior to Stanford. You may be required to present them in the future as evidence of your visa status history. For example, you must include copies of your previous I-20s along with your current I-20 when you apply for
☐ Attend Orientation workshops at the Bechtel International Center. Remember to attend one of the Maintaining Legal Status mandatory workshops. View a list of all the Maintaining Legal Status workshop offerings on this webpage. A full orientation schedule will be available during the summer.
☐ Make sure to have your enrollment hold (ENR 31) released. This can be done only after you have (1) entered your SEVIS (U.S.) address in Axess (see above), (2) attended the mandatory Maintaining Legal Status session (see above); and (3) brought your Stanford ID card (or number), passport, I-94 information, and I-20/DS-2019 to the Maintaining Legal Status session. See the Removing the Enrollment Hold webpage for more information.
☐ Sign up for one or more of Bechtel's newsletters, including our social newsletter that promotes programs and events, such as movies, meals, art and more. Subscribe by visiting our Newsletter webpage. You can also follow us on instagram!
☐ Have your spouse/partner complete the "Student/Scholar, Family and Programs Information" webform. If you are accompanied by a dependent, or will bring one later, the Bechtel International Center offers a variety of support programs for spouses/partners and families. Have your dependent complete this webform to let us know what they may be interested in. For more information, visit our Spouses, Partners and Families webpage.
☐ Stay up to date with Stanford University’s COVID-19 response. For the most up-to-date information please visit frequently:
- Graduate Students: gradupdates.stanford.edu
- Stanford Health Alerts: healthalerts.stanford.edu/covid-19
☐ Open a bank account. Credit card rules vary from bank to bank, and may have some requirements to qualify.
☐ Get phone service. As an option, we offer SIM cards from campusSIMs during orientation. You can even obtain a U.S. phone number prior to entering the U.S. through campusSIMS. You may also be eligible for discounts on your personal mobile device plans with Verizon or AT&T. Check out this University IT webpage for more information.
☐ Buy a bike and purchase a bike lock. Remember to register the bike (in case it gets stolen). For more information, please see the Stanford Transportation webpage on Bicycle Registration.
☐ Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) if you will receive a Research or Teaching Assistantship, or have obtained an on-campus job. (Only students currently receiving employment-based income qualify for the SSN.) Instructions can be found in our Social Security webpage. If eligible, apply for a SSN starting October 26.
☐ Apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (commonly known as ITIN). If you will receive a U.S. based fellowship or scholarship (non-employment-based funds), you will need to apply for an ITIN (if not eligible for an SSN). More information will be provided during a special orientation session. Instructions can be found on our ITIN webpage.
☐ Apply for a California driver's license if you plan to drive a car. Information can be found at the Department of Motor Vehicles website or our center's Driver’s License webpage. The online version of the CA DMV handbook can help you prepare for the knowledge test. DMV letters for new students will be available beginning October 26.
☐ Add dependent insurance within 30 days of the start of the academic year. Failure to do so will forfeit eligibility to add a dependent to Cardinal Care. Please see the Vaden Health Center webpage on dependent enrollment.
☐ Make sure to have your Title IV Training enrollment hold released in Axess. All new graduate students must complete this course on sexual conduct during their first quarter at Stanford. An enrollment hold will be placed on your student account if you do not finish by the time enrollment opens for your second quarter. Please visit the Title IX Training for Graduate Students webpage.