Admitted International Students

Congratulations on your acceptance to Grand Valley State University! We look forward to getting to know you better and meeting you on campus. As an international student, you will have some wonderful new experiences during your time here in the United States, and we are excited to be your host. Your presence adds greatly to our campus community and we hope to learn as much from you as you learn from us!

Now that you've been admitted, you can find the next steps towards becoming Laker.  For any questions or guidance, you can email the Admissions Office at [email protected].

Contact Us

If you need assistance or guidance prior to attending Grand Valley, feel free to contact us.

Admissions & Recruitment Office
phone: (616) 331-2025
email: [email protected]

Padnos International Center
phone: (616) 331-3878
email: [email protected]
website: Padnos International Center

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Getting Your I-20

Now that you have been admitted to Grand Valley, your next step is to get your I-20.

In order to get your I-20, you will need to complete a financial verification form and submit your passport and financial documents in your Laker Portal, click the 'View International Student Information' link at the top of the page. You can also upload information for any dependents who will be joining you.

As part of the I-20 process, all international students must have enough financial support to cover the estimated costs of academic and living expenses for one academic year. 

What are acceptable financial documents?

  • Personal bank statements with the minimum amount of financial support required in liquid asset form.
    • Cash deposits, certificates of deposit, savings accounts, term deposits, investment accounts, and checking accounts are acceptable.
  • Business accounts are not accepted.
  • Graduate assistantship award letter
  • Athletic scholarship letter from a GVSU athletic team
  • Government funding
    • Letter must have contact information for the organization providing funding.
  • Education loan confirmation letter

What information does my bank statement need to have? 

  • All financial documents must have at least three months of transaction history or proof that the account has been active for more than three months.
  • All certificate of deposit and term deposit statements must include the maturity date.
  • All financial documents must be in English, or include an official English translation.
  • All financial documents must be printed on official bank letterhead and must be signed by the appropriate bank official. Only original financial documents or scanned documents in PDF format will be accepted. 
  • We are not able to accept screenshots, photographs of bank statements, or bank statements scanned with smartphone apps.
  • All bank statements need to include the account holder's information.


Student Visa

After you have received your I-20, your next step is to get a visa appointment.

Check Documents: 
Before applying for your student visa, please make sure the I-20 is correct. Pay special attention to the spelling of your name, date of birth, program of study, and funding source (family support, scholarship, graduate assistantship, etc).

Pay your SEVIS Fee (I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information):
There is a mandatory fee all F and J students must pay before your visa interview. You will pay your SEVIS fee at either online or through Western Union. 

  • F students: $350
  • J students: $220

Visa Appointment:
Once you have the receipt showing you paid for your SEVIS fee, you should visit the U.S. Embassy website in your country and apply for a visa appointment. You can find the closest embassy on the U.S. Embassy website.

Visa Application Questions:
To help you with the visa interview, we have some helpful visa interview tips

Point of Contact:
When you are asked for your point of contact in the U.S., please use the following information:

  • Libby Jawish
    Director of International Students 
    Grand Valley State University
    130 Lake Ontario Hall
    1 Campus Drive
    Allendale, MI 49401
    Phone: (616) 331-3898
    Email: [email protected] 

Your GVSU Student Number, Username, and Password

Every student enrolled or accepted at Grand Valley State University receives a network account which you can access using your user name and password. Your network account allows you access to GVSU computer labs, your GVSU email account, Library resources, Blackboard coursework, your student information in Banner Self-Service, and network disk space. In other words, all these systems require your GVSU username and password. Your network account remains active while you are enrolled as a student at Grand Valley. All of these resources are available in every GVSU computer lab and from personal devices on or off campus.

To set up your GVSU username and password, visit your Laker Portal (linked below). There, you'll find your assigned username and G-number (student ID number), as well as instructions to activate your GVSU network account. 
Undergraduate Applicant Laker Portal
Graduate Applicant Portal


When should I apply for housing?

Once admitted, it is suggested that you apply for housing as soon as possible.  International students wanting to live on campus must apply for housing by July 1 (fall start) or November 1 (winter start) and there is a $150 required housing deposit.  You can start the housing application from your student portal or on the Housing and Residence Life website.  When completing the application, you will need your network ID and password which can found in your student portal. You can find more information about the different housing styles on the Housing website.

Who will I live with at Grand Valley?

You will be notified of your housing and roommate assignment via email before you arrive on campus. Roommate and housing style choice can be requested on the housing application, but there are no guarantees that you top choice will be selected.

Do I need to live on campus?

First year students (freshmen) are required to live on campus.  Transfer students and graduate students are not required to live on campus.

Orientation and Course Registration

Freshman Students:
Freshman students will need to schedule an Orientation session. At this session, you will meet with an academic advisor to discuss your program and select your courses. Virtual Orientation sessions are available, however, students currently in the United States may choose an in-person session. There is no cost for the course registration session. If you have questions about Orientation and course registration, contact us at [email protected]

Transfer Students:
Transfer students will need to schedule an Orientation session. At this session, you will meet with an academic advisor to discuss your program and select your courses. Virtual Orientation sessions are available, however, students currently in the United States may choose an in-person session. There is no cost for the course registration session. If you have questions about Orientation and course registration, contact us at [email protected]. In order to give transfer credit for your previous coursework, GVSU will need your most recent official transcript, course descriptions or course syllabi (translated into English). The documents can be emailed to [email protected].

Graduate Students:
Graduate students will need to contact their program director to get more information about the program curriculum and course registration process. The name of the program director is in your Graduate Applicant Portal and on your acceptance letter. If you are unable to find your program director, you can contact us at [email protected].  

International Students Services

The ISS Team at Grand Valley advocates for international students on campus and serves as a primary resource for legal, cultural, and social matters for international students. We work closely with many offices across campus, as well as organizations in our community to help international students feel at home and connected with the community.  We look forward to working with as you continue your journey.

Arrival Information

All international students should fly into Grand Rapids, Michigan via the Gerald R. Ford International Airport – airport code GRR. You will receive an emergency contact number that you may call if there are any emergencies throughout your travel time. We strongly suggest that you NOT attempt to take the train from Chicago to Grand Rapids. Please book connecting flights that will bring you to the Gerald R. Ford International airport. Visit for more information about the airport. 

International Student Events

Attending one of our events is a great way to get information about becoming an international student at Grand Valley. Whether you want general information, details pertaining to a specific program, or just want to see what Grand Valley has to offer, explore these options and choose which is right for you. We have group sessions, individual appointments, or virtual office hours available. 

Sign Up for an Event

Page last modified April 2, 2024