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Welcome International Frosh

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Dear Incoming International Student,

On behalf of the Bechtel International Center and the International Student Orientation (ISO) team, we are delighted that you have accepted admission to Stanford University. We look forward to meeting you in September and are sure that your time at Stanford will be academically rewarding and positively life changing. Please read on to find important information you should know before your arrival to Stanford in September.

Bechtel International Center

Shalini Bhutani, Director

Elsa Gontrum, Associate Director

    Visa Information 

    Travel Information 

    Do consider attending one of the pre-departure orientation programs organized by EducationUSA offices around the world. This will give you the opportunity to meet other students who are coming to study in the U.S., as well as get answers to some general questions you may have. Useful pre-departure information can be found here.

    When you travel to the U.S., make sure that you have the following four items in your hand baggage:

    • Original I-20/DS-2019 (Please print your digital I-20 and carry a printed and signed copy with you on board your flight. DS-2019s are sent hard-copy)
    • Passport
    • Stanford letter of admission
    • Documents showing evidence of funding

    All air passengers arriving in the U.S. are required to:

    1. Go through the U.S. - Visit Program, which is designed to help the U.S. Immigration Service track entry and exit from the U.S. You will be photographed and fingerprinted during this process (please don't think you are being singled out: all nonimmigrant visa holders to the U.S. have to participate in the U.S.-Visit Program).
    2. If you are entering the U.S. for the first time, you may also be required to go through the Secondary Immigration inspection. You may be required to fill out a questionnaire about your parents’ date and place of birth. Keep this information handy. This is standard practice. 

    Health Information 

    All international students are required to enroll in Cardinal Care, but you may apply for an exemption if you have an insurance plan with benefits that meet or exceed minimum standards set by the University.  Entrance Health requirements can be found on the Vaden Health Center website.

    See further information about compliance with campus COVID protocols here

    International Student Orientation 

    ISO coordinators have planned many fun programs for you, and we hope that you will join in! Events will be offered from Sept 16th – 19th and be held in-person.  

    During the three days before the university-wide New Student Orientation (NSO) program (which starts on the 19th afternoon) you will have a chance to meet your fellow international undergraduates from across the world and make many new friends.  This will help you adjust to life at Stanford so you can maximize your Stanford experience from the beginning of your life on the Stanford campus. 

    The ISO calendar will be posted on our website soon.

    You will be able to move into your dorm room in the afternoon of September 16th. If you arrive before September 16th, you will need to make your own housing arrangements. Some hotels in the area may have special discounts for Stanford students. Information is available here.

    One of the key events during ISO takes place on Tuesday morning (September 19th) when Bechtel staff will meet you to go over basic immigration regulations.

    You will find useful information, details about ISO and answers to some frequently asked questions on the International Student Orientation Page.

    For Family Members

    On Saturday, September 16th, we hope that any accompanying family members will join us for an evening reception on the Bechtel lawn from 5-7PM. 

    Final Reminders 

    The International Student Orientation (ISO) coordinators will be answering questions about ISO via email and WhatsApp. You are welcome to send an email to with questions or concerns regarding an issue that has either not yet been addressed or that you are not clear about. 

    Know that Stanford has a great academic advising program that will be available to you once you arrive on campus, so don't stress about planning your classes. A copy of the Stanford Academic calendar for 2023- 2024 is available on the Stanford Academic Calendar. 

    Once again, we are delighted you have chosen to attend Stanford. Please visit the Bechtel International Center website for updates on orientation including FAQs. It won't be long until September and we look forward to welcoming you to Stanford. Have a great summer!

    With our very best wishes,

    Bechtel International Center & ISO coordinators