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New Student Information

Welcome to Southern Methodist University!


The International Student & Scholar Services team is excited to welcome you to SMU, Dallas and the United States. Please read carefully as this page will contain information on what you need to do before you arrive to campus and during your first week at SMU.


If you have any questions, checkout our International Student Handbook or you can email your question to Lastly, we want to stay connected with you so make sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on Instragram @smuinternational.

Once students have received acceptance to their academic program at SMU, they will then need to submit the following documentation as required for their I-20/DS-2019:

• Passport Copy
• Financial Documentation
• Scholarship Letter
• SMU Letter of Acceptance
• Transfer Form

All documents above should be submitted to the student’s academic department, who will then submit an I-20/DS-2019 request to the ISSS office. If all documentation is acceptable, the I-20/DS-2019 will be issued within 7-10 business days. Otherwise, the I-20/DS-2019 request will be returned to the academic department, and processing of the I-20/DS-2019 cannot begin until acceptable documents have been re-submitted to the ISSS office.

Once the I-20/DS-2019 Request has been submitted to the ISSS office, please purchase your shipping label, in order to ensure that your I-20/DS-2019 gets mailed out as soon as possible. You can pay for a shipping label by following the eShipGlobal/Express Mailing instructions.

After you receive your SMU I-20/DS-2019, you will be required to pay the I-901 fee associated with the SEVIS ID number on your I-20/DS-2019. Please visit to pay for the I-901 fee and print a copy of the SEVIS fee payment receipt, as you will need it in order to apply for an F-1/J-1 Visa a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and when entering the U.S.

It is preferable you apply for an F-1/J-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country. However, you may be able to apply at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate outside of your home country, but the acquiring of visa might be more difficult if you are not a citizen of that country and could take longer for processing. The visa application process may change depending on the requirements of the specific U.S. Embassy or Consulate of where you will be applying. For more information regarding visa application requirements and to schedule a visa interview, please visit

Note: Citizens of Canada and Burmuda are exempt from getting an F-1/J-1 Visa, but must present a valid passport, SMU I-20, and proof of the I-901 fee payment at the port of entry to the U.S.

Once a student has an F-1/J-1 Visa, they can enter the U.S. with their visa and I-20/DS-2019 no earlier than 30 days prior to the program start date on the I-20/DS-2019.

Note: Students transferring from another U.S. school (with an I-20/DS-2019 with an annotation of "Transfer") are not limited to only arriving 30 days prior to the program start date.

International undergraduate students

You are required to attend International AARO (Academic Advising, Registration & Orientation). Information regarding AARO and registration can be found here.

International graduate students, please review information from your specific academic department as it may vary based on your program. Communication is primarily sent through your SMU email address.

Student Compliance Course, which can be found on your SMU Canvas page: Please log-in using your SMU ID Number and password. If you are not able to view the course after logging into your Canvas account, please contact the International Student & Scholar Services Office at You will need to print a copy of this to bring with you to the document check in. 


All new F and J students are required to do an Immigration Document Check-In with the ISSS office.  The mandatory session is to inform the government that you have arrived in the U.S. and plan to attend SMU. Plan to bring the following documents:

1. Proof of completion of the International Student Compliance course, which can be found on your SMU Canvas page: Please log-in using your SMU ID Number and password.

2. Original signed I-20/DS-2019

3. Original Passport and F/J Visa

4. I-94 Arrival Record (

Note: If you do not complete the mandatory Immigration Document Check-in, a hold will be placed on your student record which will affect your ability to enroll in classes, eligibility to receive services from the ISSS office and University resources. Failure to timely complete your check-in requirement will also result in severe consequences for your visa status within the U.S.

Check-In Dates

AARO Participants: will take place during your orientation day.

Additional Check-In Dates will be posted in June.


Be sure to upload your photo to be used on your SMU ID. You must have another form of identification available and have your SMU ID number ready for pickup. International undergraduate students will receive their SMU ID during AARO. International graduate students please note: your SMU ID card will only be printed AFTER you have completed all the previous steps AND once you  have enrolled in classes. SMU ID cards will not be issued before this.

 The Parking and ID Card Services office is located on campus in the Hughes Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer St. Suite 216, Dallas, TX 75275.