Students applying for an F-1 Visa outside of the United states will need to follow the steps below 

How to apply for your F-1 Visa at a US embassy:

  1. Apply for Acceptance to Harrisburg University as an F-1 Student
  2. An Acceptance Letter will be sent if you meet the Admission requirements
  3. Make your Initial I-20 deposit of $200 HERE to receive your HU login credentials 
  4. Once you receive your credentials, submit a request to ISO for an Initial I-20 by logging into the Terra Dotta System and navigating to the Request Center to find the Initial I-20 request
    Please note that due to system integration, it can take up to 24 hours for your new HU credentials to be recognized by the Terra Dotta system. If logging into Terra Dotta for the first time, you must access the system via the Welcome to Terra Dotta email sent to your HU student email. 
  5. Make the required payment of the SEVIS I-901 Fee
  6. Make an appointment at the US embassy to apply for the F-1 Visa

Once your F-1 visa is approved please take the following steps. 


  1. Pay $1000 tuition deposit HERE
  2.  Enter the US up to 30 days before the program start date
  3.  Register for classes 
  4. Complete Orientation
  5. Submit a Work Placement Form or Waiver to the Records and Registration office 
  6.  Submit a CPT Work Authorization request in the Terra Dotta System. 
  7. After you arrive in the U.S. please submit the ISO check in. Login to the Terra Dotta System and navigate to the Request Center to find the Arrival and Check In request. We recommend that students access Terra Dotta through a desktop/laptop device, as mobile compatibility is limited. 
  8.  Report to campus on the first day of classes. 

If all of these tasks are completed on time you will receive an Active I-20 on your first day of classes to your HU email. 


If your visa will not be approved on time for you to enter the United States before the first day of classes you will need to defer your enrollment to the following semester by reaching out to graduateadmissions@harrisburgu.edu. Once your receive the new enrollment letter from admissions please submit a  request in Terra Dotta to receive an updated I-20 with new program dates. This can be done by submitting a new Initial I-20 request and select 'deferal' under issue reason in the questionnaire. 


Students with dependents please refer to the F-2 Dependent Overview & Instructions article for more instructions on what to include on your Initial I-20 request. 



Check out the Department of Homeland Security’s Study Guide to the States or this Quick Guide from Study in the States

A student already in the U.S. attending another institution as an F-1 student is required to request a transfer of the SEVIS record to Harrisburg University. If this best describes you, then please see the F-1 Transfer Student Page for more information.