Step 1: Request immigration documents and pay SEVIS fee
After you are admitted to American University, International Student & Scholar Services will begin the process to issue your immigration documents. Please see the Immigration Process page for additional details. After you receive your immigration documents in the mail, you will need to pay the SEVIS Fee before applying for your visa.
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Step 2: Apply for your F-1 or J-1 Visa
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Step 3: Activate your myau.american.edu account and regularly check your new student.american.edu email account
Activating your portal account is easy. Please follow these simple instructions:
1. Go to https://myau.american.edu.
2. Click on “Create your Account,” then on “I am a Student”
3. Follow the instructions to create your account. You’ll be prompted to enter the seven-digit American University ID number that you received with your admittance letter from the Admissions Office.
4. Complete the quick tutorial to learn about the benefits of using the portal.
5. Access your american.edu email account by logging in to myau.american.edu, then clicking the "Email" link in the top right corner of the screen. Enter the same user name and log-in again. Please begin checking this email account regularly.
If you are having trouble activating your account or logging on to the portal, contact the university's Information Technology Help Desk by phone, email, or chat.
Contact your academic advisor in your department for information about the course registration process. It is important to register for your classes before you arrive on campus to start the semester. To access the academic advisor list, please click here. visit
American University provides an extensive orientation program for new students beginning the week before classes start to help make your transition to the university as smooth as possible. Please go to the orientation page for your program for information about your orientation dates and the pre-registration process.
- Undergraduate transfer
- Washington Semester
- Abroad@AU Program
- Washington College of Law
All students are required to hold American University health insurance unless proof of adequate private health insurance is given. If you do not want university health insurance, you must fill out the waiver on the myau.american.edu portal. For more information visit the Student Health Center website or contact them at +1-202-885-3201.
Students under the age of 26 must show proof of immunizations upon arrival at American University. Students over the age of 26 do not need to submit proof of immunization. Immunization forms can be printed from the Student Health Center website. Immunization records must be in English or accompanied by an English translation.
Step 7: Prepare Your Finances
Tuition Payment is due one month before classes begin. For deadlines and other information, please visit the Student Accounts website. Payments can be made using wire transfers, cash, credit card, and check.
Monthly Payment Plans are offered by American University. For more information see the American Payment Plans website or call +1-202-885-3547.
AU Central: For more information about tuition payment, billing, tuition refund insurance, and other related information, please visit the office of Student Accounts website or call AU Central at +1-202-885-8000.
Travel and Settling-in Costs As a student coming to the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status, you have demonstrated to the U.S. government that you can finance your education without working in the United States. Before you leave, you should determine how much money you will need for the first weeks of your stay on campus.
Social Security Numbers for Employment and Merit Awards Students authorized to work or receive university graduate merit awards with a work component are eligible for Social Security numbers. Click here for more information.
Step 8: Plan for Housing
One of the most important things you will have to take care of before you start your studies in the United States is finding a place to live. This is an important decision since it will be one of your biggest expenses and will affect your personal and academic adjustment.
- On-campus Housing – Please see the Housing and Dining Website or contact them by phone at +1-202-885-3370 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Off-campus Housing– For an extensive list of Washington, D.C., area off-campus housing links, including roommates, group houses, apartments, and more, please visit the Off-Campus Housing Resources website.
- Temporary Housing – Information about temporary housing, including youth hostels and hotels, for students who plan to live off campus and need a place to stay while searching for housing can be found on the ISSS Housing site.
American University expects you to report to school in time for orientation and to register for classes.
You are allowed to enter the United States no more than 30 days before the reporting date listed on the I-20 (section 5) or DS-2019 (section 3). You will not be able to enter the United States after the start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019 document. If you are facing unexpected delays in arriving, it is necessary that you notify the ISSS office as soon as possible to discuss your options.
Please DO NOT enter the United States on a B-2 tourist visa or visa waiver. These visas are not acceptable for the purpose of full-time studies in the United States.
Carry the following documents with you on the plane:
- Passport with your F-1 or J-1 visa
- SEVIS form I-20 or DS-2019 (in a sealed envelope – it is important that you DO NOT open this envelope)
- Evidence of financial resources
- Evidence of student or exchange visitor status, such as letter of acceptance, tuition receipts or transcripts
- Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee
- Contact information for International Student and Scholar Services
Inform the immigration officer at the port of entry that you will be a student in the United States to ensure that you are admitted with student status.
Detailed information about Washington, D.C. transportation options and additional arrival information is available here.
Step 10: Check-In at ISSS
Please plan to come by ISSS (International Student & Scholar Services) office after your arrival on campus so we can copy your immigration documents and answer any questions. ISSS is located on main campus in Butler Pavilion #410, in the Office of Campus Life suite. You can get to the office by taking the elevator in the tunnel by Bender Arena to the 4th floor of Butler Pavilion. ISSS is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and there is always an advisor available for walk-in appointments. We look forward to meeting you in person!