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Resources for New & Returning International Students

For the latest updates on Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19, please visit the University's COVID-19 updates page.

Vaccine Information

Students are strongly recommended to be fully vaccinated (defined as being two weeks past the final dose of a WHO EUL-approved COVID-19 vaccine and received a booster). For additional guidance, please contact COVIDCares@odu.edu.

All non-immigrant, non-citizen air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to the United States. Please visit the CDC website for additional guidance.

ODU Coronavirus Information & Updates
List of currently approved World Health Organization COVID-19 Vaccines

Travel Advisory Information

For the latest information about travel and visa advisory information please visit the following page. For additional guidance, please contact intlstu@odu.edu. If you have an immigration/visa emergency, please call/text 804-505-4291 to be connected with an advisor.

Travel & Visa Advisories Page

Quarantine Information

There are no quarantine requirements at this time.

New International Student Resources

International Student Orientation


New International Student Orientation is designed to help new students become familiar with resources and services ODU provides to support student success.

(Participation is Mandatory)

New International Student Orientation

Arranging Your Travel to ODU’s Campus

The Norfolk International Airport (airport code: ORF) is about nine and a half miles from ODU, and it takes about 15 to 20 minutes by car from the airport to the campus.

Directions to Campus - Please note that each residence hall and campus building has a different address, so be sure to double check this information prior to using navigation.

Ground Transportation Available at the Airport:

  • Taxis are available at the airport baggage check. Uber and Lyft are typically available, but may be limited due to COVID-19. Currently, Uber and Lyft require masks for all passengers.
  • The Norfolk Amtrak Station is about 4.5 miles from ODU, and it takes about a 15-20 minute car ride from the station to campus.
  • The Norfolk Greyhound Bus Station is about 3.5 miles from ODU, and it takes about a 10-minute ride by car from the station to campus.

Temporary Accommodation: Many local hotels offer special ODU rates. These rates may not always be available during particular periods. Always contact the hotel directly to see if the ODU rate applies for the duration of your stay.

On-Campus & Off-Campus Housing

If planning to live ON campus...

Learn more about the various on-campus housing options, agreements, terms & conditions. Reminder: Students must activate their ODU Email/MIDAS account before proceeding with the online Housing & Dining Application.

Apply early, as on-campus housing is in high demand.

If planning to live OFF campus...

The majority of international students choose to live off-campus, and there are many options available, however, it will take effort on your part to choose suitable accommodations. It is highly advised to not enter into any contractual agreement until you have arrived in Norfolk. Please visit off-campus housing for additional information.

Shopping & Transportation

Monarch Transit is ODU's shuttle service, providing FREE fixed-route bus service to all Students, Faculty and Staff with a current ODU ID.

The shuttles stop at all University academic areas, residence halls, parking locations and athletic fields. Off-campus stops to local popular commercial destinations are available on weekends. To ride Monarch Transit, please have your ODU ID Card ready for rider verification.

Check-in with the Visa & Immigration Service Advising Office

Degree-seeking students on F-1 & J-1 visas will be required to check in with the Visa & Immigration Service Advising (VISA). Office after arrival to the U.S. as your SEVIS record needs to be registered. You can view check-in dates and required documentation here.

If you are a degree-seeking international student and your visa status is not F or J, please complete the check-in form and email it to VISA along with any proof of visa status (I-797 approval notice, visa stamp, etc.).

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to do to obtain an F-1 visa?

Once you receive your I-20 and SEVIS number, you will need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee ($350).

After paying the SEVIS fee, apply for an F-1 visa appointment with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Old Dominion University's school code is WAS214F10145000. To set up an appointment, you need to do the following:

  • Complete Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160 - click here to learn more about completing the DS-160). You must: 1) complete the online visa application (Form DS-160), and 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
  • Photo - You will upload your photo while completing the online visa application (Form DS-160). Your photo must be in the format explained in the photograph requirements.
  • Schedule an Interview - You should schedule an appointment for your visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. Click HERE for appointment wait times.

How can I get an appointment for the F1 visa if the consulates are closed?

We encourage you to check the consulate website regularly as we anticipate that once the appointment becomes available, they will fill out quickly and there might be a waitlist for the appointment times.

Is it possible to receive my I-20 via email?

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: SEVP coordinated with both the Department of State and CBP regarding the policy to allow electronic issuance and signing of Forms I-20 for the duration of the COVID19 emergency. Both agencies are in support of this action. However, we are providing and mailing physical I-20's with original (wet) signatures to admitted students, and we strongly recommend traveling with a physical I-20 with an original signature whenever possible.

Will I have to pay the SEVIS fee ($350) again if I am not able to join ODU this Fall. Is it possible to transfer I-901 SEVIS fee payment from a different school to ODU?

You will not need to pay your SEVIS fee again if you are deferring your admission to a later term. We will mail your new I-20 with the new semester start date.

If you received an initial I-20 from a different school and initial I-20 from ODU and you paid your SEVIS fee under the SEVIS number from the other school, you can transfer the SEVIS payment.

How many credit hours will I have to take as an international student?

In general, international students on F-1 and J-1 visas are required to take 9 credits (graduate students) or 12 credits (undergraduate students) each fall and spring semester to maintain their visa status. If Fall 2022 will be your first semester in a new program, you may be eligible for a reduced course load of 6 credits (graduate) and 9 credits (undergraduate) in that first semester. Please submit the Reduced Course Load (RCL) Approval Request Form by Wednesday of the first week of classes.

English Language Center students on an F-1 visa need to take 20 contact hours per week to maintain their visa status.

Due to COVID-19, I am unable to receive immunizations/vaccinations for the Student Health History report. What should I do?

If you are missing a required health vaccination and you are unable to obtain it in your home country, Student Health Services can provide the required vaccine after your arrival to campus. Your ODU health insurance plan (required for F-1 & J-1) will reimburse you the cost of the vaccine. If Student Health Services is not able to administer the required vaccine, they will direct you to another health care provider.

Are new international students required to check in?

Degree-seeking students will be required to check in with Visa & Immigration Service Advising after arrival to the US as your SEVIS record needs to be registered. You can view your check-in dates and required documentation at https://www.odu.edu/visa/check-in.

How many online courses can an international student take?

In general, international students are permitted to take only one course (3 credit hours) online per semester (fall and spring) towards the minimum credit requirement. However if there is a temporary procedure in place related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will inform you during the check-in and the required information session.

What if I am unable to obtain my visa & travel in time, what should I do?

Please notify any updates regarding your visa status to the Office of International Admissions and the VISA Office. Graduate international students must also notify their graduate program director.

To defer your admission, please submit the online deferment form: Defer Your International Application. You may add additional comments in the remarks section at the bottom of the form. An updated admission packet will be sent to you.

Can I arrive later than the date listed on my I-20?

We encourage students to arrive by the official start date of the semester. Late arrival requests must be submitted in writting to intladm@odu.edu.

Your requests will be reviewed and further guidance will be sent via email.

I need to take the Institutional TOEFL Test (TOEFL ITP) and/or the SPEAK Test. Can I take these tests once I arrive on ODU’s campus?

The ODU English Language Center will administer TOEFL and SPEAK Tests before the start of the semester. Please visit the ELC website for details about each test. Students need to register with the English Language Center prior to the tests. Students should be prepared to take these tests remotely/online. Procedures and dates are subject to change. Please contact the ELC at ELC@odu.edu or 757-683-4424 for more information.

Prior to arrival, it is possible for students to satisfy English proficiency through additional at-home testing alternatives. Please see TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition, IELTS Indicator, and/or Duolingo English Test to see if those options are right for you.

Do I need to submit official/original documents?

After admission to ODU, international students are required to submit official documents, test scores, etc. If you need to submit any official/original final transcripts or score reports, please check-in with the Office of International Admissions. Official transcripts should be in a sealed and stamped envelope from your institution. Test score reports should be submitted directly from the testing center to the Office of International Admissions or use our CEEB code 5126.

If English was not the language of instruction, academic transcripts, diplomas/certificates, and course descriptions are required in both English (officially translated) and one's native language.

Do I have to pay my tuition all at once or is there a payment plan option?

You do not have to pay all of your tuition and fees at one time. The Office of Finance offers a payment plan for Fall and Spring terms. Payment plans must be established in LEO Online each term by the published tuition deadline.

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