International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA)

In order to relocate to Rhode Island and begin your studies at RISD you'll need to complete several steps to acquire a visa. Along the way, International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA) is available to help you navigate immigration compliance, cultural and language adjustments and systems specific to life in the US.

Immigration process

  1. After you pay your enrollment deposit via the portal you will be able to access several forms that need to be downloaded, printed, filled out and then uploaded back into the portal. These will be be available starting in March or April 2023 and will include:

    • Declaration of Finances form
    • bank statement(s) in English (indicating at least one year's worth of tuition + room and board)
    • I-20 application form
    • copy of passport
  2. The Admissions team will then review your uploaded forms. If everything is complete and accurate, Admissions will create, sign and upload your I-20 form to your incoming student portal. (You will be responsible for paying a $350 SEVIS fee for processing the form.)
  3. After receiving your I-20 form from RISD you can then schedule your visa interview. You should review the instructions on the website for the US embassy or consulate where you will be interviewing and you will need to bring the following with you to the interview:

    • I-20 form
    • Declaration of Finances form
    • receipt of payment for the $350 SEVIS fee
    • copy of DS-160
    • receipt of visa application payment
    • passport
    • proof of funding
    • acceptance letter
    • scholarship award letter (if applicable)
  4. When you travel to the United States you should bring the following (note: these forms need to be easily accessed at the airport to share with immigration officials):

    • passport (this will be stamped by a customs official upon arrival in the United States)
    • F-1 student visa
    • original I-20 form (3 pages)
    • copy of the Declaration of Finances form
  5. When you arrive at RISD for move-in day please provide the following to OISS so that the office can activate and register you in SEVIS:

    • passport
    • F-1 student visa
    • I-20 form
    • I-94 arrival/departure record

On-campus support

As advocates for RISD’s international community, ISSA assists students in finding the resources they need. You’ll feel supported as you adjust to life on campus and build community and helped along as you learn to make the most of your experiences here. ISSA is also available to assist international students who may be interested in on- or off-campus employment. International students cannot work off-campus without employment authorization in the United States.

Please note:

Refer to our first-year, transfer and Brown | RISD Dual Degree incoming student calendars for a month-by-month view of upcoming events, deadlines and next steps to remember.