Orientation Program

MIT International Students Office (ISO) International Student Orientation Program

Compliance with U.S. immigration regulations mandates that ALL New/Incoming International Students complete an immigration orientation course/session and submit necessary documentation/information upon commencing their MIT program. Therefore, it is important for all new/incoming MIT international students to complete specific steps, ensuring the activation of their U.S. immigration status within the U.S. and at MIT by the International Students Office (ISO).

ATTENTION: This is NOT an automatic process; students must be proactive. Students will not be able to complete their enrollment/registration for the term until they have completed the below requirements.


  • New/Incoming” students to the U.S., in F or J status.
  • “Return from Leave of Absence (RLOA)” students, in F or J status.
  • “Transfer-In” students (i.e., “Transfer Students” are defined as students who transferred their current SEVIS record (F or J) to MIT from another U.S. institution/school).


STEP 1: Complete an ISO ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse/Session’.

ATTENTION: The ISO ‘Immigration Orientation eCourses’ are exclusively designed for F and J MIT Undergraduate and Graduate degree-seeking students. MIT Non-Degree students (e.g., Special, Exchange, Visiting) should refer to the ISO ‘Non-Degree Students Orientation’ webpage for guidance on fulfilling their immigration orientation requirements.       

The new ISO orientation eCourse is a requirement starting with new international students arriving to MIT to begin their program of study on-campus starting in IAP 2024 or Spring 2024 term.
New students who arrived to MIT beginning in the Fall 2023 term or earlier are NOT required to complete the new orientation eCourse.

ALL new/incoming degree-seeking Graduate and Undergraduate international students are required to complete their specific immigration status (F-1 or J-1) ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse’ and attain a passing grade of 90% or higher on the corresponding (F-1 or J-1) ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse Quiz’.

  • Eligible students will be “invited” to their specific immigration status (F-1 or J-1) ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse’ by email. The email invitation will be sent to the student’s @mit.edu email address from Canvas.
    • If a student does not receive an email invitation to their specific immigration status (F-1 or J-1) ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse’ from Canvas, and they believe that they are eligible, then the student should first check their Junk/SPAM folders. If the email invitation is still not there, then the student should email iso-help@mit.edu and include their [MIT ID Number, Academic Department and Program, and future MIT program start date].
  • Students can complete the ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse’ requirement before or after arrival to the U.S.

NOTE: Student should be aware that attending an ‘ISO Virtual Forum’ is optional and does not fulfill the mandatory orientation eCourse/session requirement for students.

What is Covered During a Mandatory ISO ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse/Session’?
During a mandatory ISO ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse/Session’, students will learn about maintaining their legal U.S. immigration status, gain insights into their U.S. immigration documents, travel requirements and restrictions within and outside the U.S., employment guidelines and restrictions in the U.S., and other crucial information related to adapting and residing in the U.S. while studying at MIT. Additional resources will also be provided.

When completing an ISO ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse/Session’, students should have the below materials on-hand during the eCourse/Session:

  • Their most recently issued passport.
  • Their MIT issued Form I-20 or MIT issued Form DS-2019.
  • Their most recently issued I-94 Record, but only if the student is inside the U.S.
    • NOTE: Students can only retrieve their I-94 Record after they have entered the U.S. in F or J status. Students can obtain their I-94 Record online from the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) ‘Get Most Recent I-94’ webpage. If a student is still currently abroad, then they do not have an I-94 Record yet. However, once they enter the U.S., they must obtain this document.

STEP 2: Complete the Required ‘Immigration Online Check-In’ Process

**ATTENTION: The ‘Immigration Online Check-In’ requirements can ONLY be completed once the student has entered into the U.S. in their U.S. immigration status.**

All New/Incoming International Students are required to submit the appropriate “Academic Term” ‘Immigration Online Check-In’ e-Forms in iMIT AFTER their arrival to the U.S.

  • For example, if a student’s program at MIT will begin in Fall 2024, then the student can only submit the Fall 2024 Check-In e-Forms.

Students can find specific instructions on how to complete their ‘Immigration Online Check-In’ requirements on the ISO ‘Online Check-In’ webpage. The ISO will then review and approve a student’s ‘Immigration Online Check-In’ e-Forms, information, and immigration documentation. Therefore, students must follow the specific instructions and guidance as listed on the ISO ‘Online Check-In’ webpage.

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All new/incoming Undergraduate international students will be required to complete their specific immigration status (F-1 or J-1) ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse’ and achieve a passing grade of 90% or higher on the associated (F-1 or J-1) ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse Quiz’. [Review “STEP 1: Complete an ISO ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse/Session’” section on this webpage.]

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All New/Incoming International Graduate Students will be required to complete their specific immigration status (F-1 or J-1) ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse’ and achieve a passing grade of 90% or higher on the associated (F-1 or J-1) ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse Quiz’. [Review “STEP 1: Complete an ISO ‘Immigration Orientation eCourse/Session’” section on this webpage.]

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Students who will come to MIT to participate in a “Non-Degree” program will apply through the program headquarters/department and should contact the program directly for information on admissions and orientation procedures.

Students participating in the Visiting Student Program (VSP) or the Advanced Study Program (ASP), are required to sign up for the appropriate orientation session through their iMIT portal account and they must also complete the ‘Immigration Online Check-In’ requirements.

Exchange Students and Undergraduate Students in the MIT Special Student Program will receive specific information about their required ISO ‘Immigration Orientation Session’ from their program coordinator and CANNOT register/attend an ISO ’Immigration Orientation Session’ in iMIT. However, they are required to complete the ‘Immigration Online Check-In’ requirements.

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English Evaluation Test (EET) for Graduate Students (ONLY)

All New/Incoming Graduate International Students, pursuing a degree at MIT and where English was not their primary language of instruction from the age of six through high school, are required to attend and complete the English Evaluation Test (EET) requirements. Students can find helpful information and frequently asked questions about the EET at the Comparative Media Studies/Writing (CMSW) website and the Office of Graduate Education website.

** ATTENTION: Students who WILL NOT be entering U.S. to pursue their MIT program are REQUIRED to contact their ISO Advisor BEFORE the start date listed on their MIT “Certificate of Eligibility” document(s) (Form I-20, Form DS-2019) **

Additional Questions?
After thoroughly reviewing the ISO ‘Getting Started’ webpages, students with additional questions are encouraged to use the search tool located at the top of the ISO website or consult the comprehensive FAQ section on the ISO ‘Knowledge Base’ webpage. Additionally, MIT students have the option to contact their designated ISO Advisor directly for assistance.

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