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, the next steps to becoming a Laker are detailed on this page. If you have questions or need guidance on the next steps, you can email the Admissions Office at

  • Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status)
  • Student Visa 
  • Housing
  • Class Registration
  • Campus Arrival 
  • International Orientation


Contact Us

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

Admissions Office

phone: (616) 331-2025


Padnos International Center

phone: (616) 331-3878


website: Padnos International Center

Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status

What is an I-20? Do I need one?

Undergraduate and graduate students who plan on applying for F visa must submit financial documentation that will cover one year of tuition, fees, and housing costs at Grand Valley. Once proper documentation is received, Grand Valley will create an I-20 which is a document students must have at the visa appointment. Students who currently have visa that is not an F-1 visa may or may not need to receive an I-20 from Grand Valley. The best resource to determine if you need an F visa is the "Nonimmigrants: Who Can Study?" document which shows all visas awarded by the U.S. 


How do I receive an I-20? 

Students must submit a bank statement and complete the statement of financial support (found on page 6 of the international student application). The statement of financial support form tells Grand Valley who will be paying for your education.  Look below for more information on what your bank statement must include. 


Bank Documents for the I-20

In order to meet federal requirements to receive an I-20, all international students must have the financial ability to cover academic and living expenses for one academic year while attending Grand Valley. The following documents can be used to demonstrate financial support for an I-20 to be created. 

What are acceptable financial documents?

  • Bank statements indicating required currency amount in liquid asset form
    • Cash deposits, certificates of deposit, savings accounts, term deposits and checking accounts are acceptable
  • Investment statements indicating liquid assets
    • Submissions need to include clear evidence of the fund’s liquidity and the cash surrender value
  • Graduate assistantship award letter
  • Athletic scholarship letter from a Grand Valley NCAA Division II sport
  • Governmental funding
    • Letter must have contact information of the organization providing funding


What are unacceptable financial documents?

  • Chartered accountant statements
  • Payroll reports/expected income
  • Tax statements
  • Property assessments
  • Statements regarding property, jewelry, cars, and other non-liquid assets
  • Bank statements lacking currency amounts
  • Insurance policies
  • Other statements of non-liquid assets
  • Business bank accounts
  • Employment letters
  • Income verification letters
  • Bank letters


What does my bank statement need to show? 

  • 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. Documents not in English must be accompanied by 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 a pdf format will be accepted.  Documents scanned with smartphone apps or photos of documents will not be accepted.
  • Financial documents from business accounts will not be accepted.
  • We will not accept screenshots, Internet banking print outs or financial documents with no identifying bank or account holder information


Where can I send my bank statements?

Bank statements can be sent to and must include the following:


Bank statement balances can be listed in the student/sponsors local currency. As long as the balance, when converted into USD, meets the minimum amount required your I-20 will be created. If you are unsure how your local currency will convert into USD, you may use the XE Currency Converter. 

Fall tuition and fees are set by the university in July and will be published on the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship website. International students will be charged non-resident tuition. 

Student Visa

Once students have received their I-20, the next step will be preparing the proper documentation to interview for a student visa

Check Documents 

Before applying for your student visa, you must make sure the I-20 you received is correct. Pay special attention to the spelling of your name, date of birth, major, 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 (as of June 24 2019)
  • J students: $220 (as of June 24 2019) 


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

Visa interview tips can be found here

You must be prepared to answer questions on these topics:

  • Family background
  • Academic background
  • Finances 
  • Why did you choose Grand Valley State University?
  • State your intent to return home after completing your studies at Grand Valley


Point of Contact

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

  • Kate Stoetzner
  • Director of International Students 
  • Grand Valley State University
  • 130 Lake Ontario Hall
  • 1 Campus Drive
  • Allendale, MI 49401
  • Phone: (616) 331-3898
  • Email: 


When should I apply for housing?

Once admitted, it is suggested that you apply for housing immediately. Students who apply early are more likely to be placed in their preferred housing style. The housing application opens in September. When the application is submitted, there is a $150 housing deposit that is required for all students who live on campus to pay. Incoming students who apply for housing by July 1 (fall start) or November 1 (winter start) are guaranteed an on-campus housing assignment. 

Where is can I submit the housing application?  

You can find directions on completing the online application on the Housing and Residence Life website. When completing the application,you will need your network ID and password which can be found with your admit information. 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. 

Class Registration


An academic advisor will email you to set up a time to register for courses. Your advising appointment is a time for you to ask questions about your program of study, class schedule, graduation requirements, and any other academic concerns you may have. Ideally, after your appointment, your  will be registered for 12-15 credits per semester. Federal law requires undergraduate international students to be registered for a minimum of 12 credits for both fall and winter semesters. 



You should contact your program director to get more information about the program curriculum and course registration. You can find the name of the program director on your acceptance letter. If you are unable to find your program director, you can find contact information on the Graduate School website

Campus Arrival Information


Please supply your flight information to Grand Rapids a minimum of four days before your flight. Please fill out an arrival form, so you can be picked up for the airport. Once the form has been submitted, you will receive an emergency contact number that you may call if there are any emergencies throughout your travel time. 

Airport Pickup

Al students should fly into Grand Rapids, Michigan via the Gerald R. Ford (GRR) International Airport. Grand Valley Orientation leaders will be waiting in the baggage claim area. There are only three baggage carousels at this airport, so the leaders will be easy to find. We strongly suggest that you do 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. 


No vaccinations are required by Grand Valley; however, vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, polio and tuberculosis are recommended. No proof is required. If you are bringing any prescription drugs to the United States, you must bring an English translation of the prescription with them. In case any prescriptions are needed while you are here, MetroHealth at the Campus Health Center can assist you.

Traveling with Cash

Because federal law requires individuals entering the country with $10,000 or more in cash to go through a process of declaration, students should not bring this amount or more in cash. If you wish to bring your tuition payment with you, it may be brought in the form of a demand draft. For other payment option please visit Student Accounts.

International Student Orientation

International Orientation is mandatory and typically begins a week before classes begin. The Padnos International Center will post a orientation dates and itinerary on their website. Please note there is a $150 charge for orientation which will be charged to your Grand Valley student account.