Admissions and Financial Aid

International Admitted Students

Congratulations on your acceptance to The Heller School! In addition to completing the steps outlined on our Pre-Enrollment Checklist, international students should take the following steps to ensure that their arrival to campus goes smoothly.


Contact EducationUSA for Pre-departure Orientation

Although this is not required, we strongly recommend that international students contact EducationUSA to participate in a pre-departure orientation. Pre-departure orientation sessions are group or individual events to prepare students who have been accepted into programs of study in the U.S. Valuable information is exchanged during these sessions. Topics may include information on culture shock, health and travel insurance, medical and money matters, plane tickets, and visas among others.

Many EducationUSA Advising Centers offer annual pre-departure orientation sessions. Contact the center nearest to your city to find out about these sessions. You can find the location of these centers on EducationUSA.

Submit VIDOF Form

View the recording of our Understanding the VIDOF Process event, co-hosted with Brandeis' ISSO!

Note: You must submit your enrollment deposit in order to gain access to your VIDOF form and obtain your I-20. 

The majority of students that study at Brandeis will apply for the F-1 visa status using an I-20. In certain cases, students who are receiving significant funding from a sponsor other than a friend or family member may request a DS-2019 to apply for the J-1 visa.

After sending in your statement of acceptance and paying your enrollment deposit, you will need to secure an I-20 from Brandeis University’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) in order to apply for your student visa to enter the United States.

Please note: To provide time for visa processing, we recommend completing your VIDOF form as quickly as possible.

You will need to submit the following documents to obtain your I-20.

  • Online VIDOF Form (Visa Information / Declaration of Finances) submitted electronically via ISSO Portal (you will receive a link to the portal after submitting your enrollment deposit and creating your Brandeis email address.
  • Clear copy of your current Valid Passport including photo, expiration date, name and passport number
  • Submit Proof of Assured Funds (required financial documentation). Please follow instructions on the Heller VIDOF to determine the amount of assured funds you need to provide according to your program's cost of attendance.
  • If you have a spouse or unmarried child(ren) under the age of 21 accompanying you to the U.S. and you are requesting a visa document for your family member(s), please complete the Dependent Section on the VIDOF and submit a copy of each dependent's valid passport and additional financial support in the amount of $800 per month per dependent. Note: students should anticipate that $7,200 is the minimum estimated dependent cost per year for each dependent for a nine month program, and  $9,600 estimated dependent cost per year for each dependent for a twelve month program. Actual dependent costs may be higher depending on lifestyle choices. For more information on dependents, please see Dependents.
  • For SEVIS Transfer Students: If you are requesting to transfer your F-1 or J-1 student visa from a previous school (or from OPT/Academic Training) to Brandeis, please see Transfer SEVIS Record to Brandeis.
  • Please review the detailed VIDOF instructions on the ISSO website here. ISSO is also available to answer all VIDOF and Visa-related inquiries. If you have other questions, please email a member of the ISSO staff.

Schedule & Prepare for Your Visa Interview

All new F-1 or J-1 applicants must appear for an in-person interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the United States no earlier than 120 days before their program start date. Please keep in mind that it may take a few weeks to schedule an appointment, so you should initiate your visa application as early as possible after receiving your I-20 or DS-2019. Brandeis' ISSO has information about what documentation to bring to your visa interview and how to prepare for your visa interview. 

Arrive in the U.S.

F-1 and J-1 students may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before the program start date as listed on I-20 or  DS-2019. We recommend arriving in the U.S. at least two weeks before the start of classes. You can find further information about entering the U.S. on Brandeis' ISSO website. 

Check in with the International Students and Scholars Office

After arriving in the United States, you will need to complete the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) online check-in. As part of that check in, you will need to upload your visa stamp and upload your I-94. You will not be able to register for classes until you have completed your online check-in.