International orientation

Applying for an F-1 visa

Once you have received your I-20 form, you need to apply for a visa to enter the United States. Before arranging your visa interview, all F-1 applicants must pay the I-901 fee to activate your I-20. The fee may be paid electronically. Once you have paid the fee, print out your receipt and bring it with you to your consular interview. Students must visit a U.S. embassy or consulate and present the following recommended documentation:

  • Valid passport
  • Current passport photographs
  • SEVIS I-20 issued by SCAD
  • Nonimmigrant visa application
  • Financial documentation
  • Proof of permanent address in home country
  • Proof of plans to return home

Additional application materials may be requested when you visit the U.S. embassy or consulate. You should therefore contact the embassy or consulate before your interview. Information is also available at

Arrival dates and accommodations

An orientation schedule with reporting dates is included in your admission packet. Remember to bring your passport, I-20 form, I-94 card and any other immigration documents to orientation check-in. Times and locations of orientation events are subject to change. You will be given a final orientation schedule during check-in.

If you plan to request transportation assistance from the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, you must submit your arrival information to the ISSO at least 48 hours prior to arrival. The required information includes:

  • Airline
  • Flight number
  • Arrival date and time
  • Destination upon arrival

Every reasonable attempt will be made to pick you up from the airport and bring you into Savannah. If you arrive prior to your residence hall's opening, be prepared to stay at a local hotel. You will receive an email confirmation from the ISSO regarding your airport pickup and will be met at the baggage claim area by a college staff member.

If you cannot arrive in Savannah by the first day of orientation, notify the ISSO either by phone or email prior to the beginning of orientation so we will know when to expect you.

English as a Second Language

All new international students for whom English is not their first language are required to take an English language placement test at the time of enrollment for their first academic quarter at the college. After taking the placement test, students will receive their results directly from the ESL staff. Students who do not qualify for an ESL exemption will be placed in the appropriate ESL level based upon test results and will be required to complete ESL classes before enrolling in the regular curriculum.

International student advising

The ISSO provides a broad array of services including immigration advisement, health insurance enrollment, help with changing immigration status, cross-cultural adjustment and assistance with on-campus employment. In addition, ISSO staff organizes year-round social activities, community events, excursions to nearby attractions and other programs that help international students adapt to college life in the United States. Additional information can be found in the weekly ISSO email, which arrives in your SCAD inbox every Wednesday.

Transfer students

F-1 visa students transferring from other U.S. institutions must request a copy of the transfer form and have their current international student adviser complete the transfer in SEVIS. Bring your former school's I-20 form, I-94 card and passport to check-in so the transfer procedures can be completed. Transfer students should contact a transfer adviser in the SCAD admission office to inquire about transfer credits and portfolio review.


New international students who have a confirmed housing assignment may move into residence halls the first day of orientation check-in. The check-in date is outlined in the orientation schedule.

Students may apply for university housing once they have been accepted to SCAD. Any full-time, enrolled student is eligible to reside in university housing; however, living in a university residence is optional. Because housing space is limited and assignments are made on a first-paid, first-placed basis, students should adhere to the deadlines listed. For more information, visit residence life and housing.

International students who do not plan to live in university housing should prepare to stay at an area hotel until they secure off-campus housing. Students who plan to live off campus should arrive at least one to two weeks before the start of orientation in order to have enough time to find housing. For more information, students may consult the classified advertisements in sources such as District, the SCAD Savannah online news organization, or the Savannah Morning News.

Mail and faxes

The SCAD package pickup center, located at W at the Hive, 231 W. Boundary St., can receive properly mailed packages for students. All packages and boxes should be prepaid and addressed to the student's residence hall room. If you plan to live on campus, you will receive a residence hall assignment letter listing the specific address to which mail and packages may be sent. For off-campus students, mail may be temporarily addressed as follows:

Student's name
c/o International Student Services Office
Savannah College of Art and Design
P.O. Box 3146
Savannah, GA 31402-3146 USA

SCAD does not accept responsibility for lost or damaged items.

Payment of fees/banking

Consult the payment schedule provided by the bursar for payment amounts and deadlines. Fees are due in full upon arrival. Students will be held responsible for payment of late fees for deposits and balances received after deadlines, so please plan accordingly.

Students may pay tuition and fees by cash, check, money order, traveler's checks, MasterCard, Visa or Discover. Credit card payments may be made in person, by mail, over the telephone or online via a secure connection in MySCAD.

Once you arrive in Savannah, you should not carry large amounts of money on your person. You should open an account and deposit your money at a bank as soon as possible. There are several banks in and around the downtown Savannah area. Before selecting a bank, international students may want to consider the proximity of branch locations, the bank's hours of operation, the location of the bank's automated teller machines, bank fees and interest rates.

Wiring money and telegrams

Wire transfers to SCAD's bank in U.S. dollars. Allow five to seven business days for the bank to notify SCAD. Indicate student's name and student's SCAD ID number at bank of origin and pay any transfer fees.

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
136 Bull St.
Savannah, GA 31401 USA
Routing number: 121000248

For further credit to: The Savannah College of Art and Design

Account number: 2000027630095

For final credit to: name of student and ID number

Swift number: WFBIUS6S (for international wires)

Failure to include name of student on the wire transfer transaction may lead to lost funds. Remember to pay any applicable transfer fees at the bank of origin. Allow five to seven business days for the bank to notify SCAD. Indicate the student's name and SCAD ID number at the bank of origin.

Health insurance

Health and accident insurance is mandatory for all international students on non-immigrant visas. SCAD provides a reasonably priced policy that covers international students throughout their studies at SCAD. Dependent coverage may be arranged once you arrive in Savannah. Learn more about health care for international students.


Ex Libris bookstore provides students with an excellent selection of art supplies. Some art textbooks and supplies are expensive, with total costs averaging $300-$400 per quarter. Because these supplies are required for class, students should plan their finances accordingly. Some items such as certain brushes and papers may not be available or may be more expensive than those available in your home country.

Non-native English speakers are advised to bring complete (75,000 words or more) translation dictionaries of American English. Students should not depend on the small, pocket-sized dictionaries written for travelers. Students also should bring a comprehensive translation dictionary of art terms.

Full course of study requirement

All international students on F-1 nonimmigrant visas are required to register for a full course load (15 credit hours for undergraduate students and 10 credit hours for graduate students) each quarter. Your first-quarter course schedule is predetermined by an academic adviser based on your ESL placement results.

Vacation period for F-1 students

The regular academic year includes three quarters. Students who wish to graduate early, double major or take additional electives may enroll in summer quarter as well; however, course offerings may be limited in the summer.

As an international student at SCAD, you are entitled to a break from full-time studies during the three-month summer quarter. If you choose to enroll in a full course of study during the summer quarter, you will not be eligible for a break from full-time studies until the following summer quarter.

NOTE: If your first quarter of study at SCAD is during the traditional summer quarter, you will be required to enroll full-time to maintain initial F-1 status. If, however, you begin studies during either the traditional fall, winter or spring quarters, you should be aware that the summer quarter will always be considered your vacation period.


  • Only students who have been accepted to SCAD may attend international student orientation. Students who have received an I-20 form and decide not to enroll must contact the admission office. Students who plan to defer enrollment for a quarter must contact the admission office to receive an updated I-20 form.
  • Accepted international students are required to attend the entire orientation program and should make travel plans accordingly.
  • During orientation, students who have paid all their fees receive their class schedules. Students should make preparations to pay their fees before they arrive in Savannah. Questions about student accounts may be directed to the bursar's office.
  • SCAD housing is not confirmed until all housing fees are paid; payment of the housing deposit alone does not guarantee a room in the residence halls.

Students requiring disability assistance should contact the office of counseling and student support services.


The ISSO is located on the second floor of Norris Hall, 548 E. Broughton St., Savannah, Georgia. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. The telephone number is 912.525.7304 and the fax number is 912.525.7305. Email may be sent to the ISSO.

The ISSO maintains an "open door" policy for advising, and students are encouraged to stop by Norris Hall to take advantage of our services.

The ISSO sends out a weekly newsletter email. It highlights international student birthdays and upcoming events and exhibitions at SCAD and in the community as well as other important information for international students. You are automatically signed on to receive ISSO news once you arrive and complete orientation.