Questions and answers for international students regarding arrival at Towson University, work in the US, travel, and other topics.


Before You Arrive at Towson University

I have been accepted to TU. How can I check to see if my I-20 is ready?
We recommend that you email our office at to check if your I-20 is ready rather than telephoning. Please be sure to include your Towson University ID number in any communication with our office.

What is the SEVIS fee (I-901) and do I need to pay for it? 
The SEVIS fee is a U.S. Government fee that supports the operation of the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). In order to pay the SEVIS fee you will need to have your SEVIS ID Number and Towson University’s school code. Both are printed on your I-20 or DS-2019 form. You will also need to have Towson University’s school code to pay your SEVIS. TU’s school code is for F-1 status and for J-1 status. Read more about the SEVIS fee.

I applied for my visa and was denied. Can you help me in any way?
Obtaining a visa to come study in the U.S. can be challenging, but we ask you not to be discouraged. Many students try more than once to get a visa, and many are successful in their subsequent attempts. If you receive a denial, you should request a letter in writing from the consulate prior to leaving.

In most cases, prospective students are denied a visa due to failure to demonstrate intent to return to their home county to the satisfaction of the consulate. Consular officers assume that all non-immigrant applicants intend to immigrate and the burden of proof falls to the applicant. Therefore, you must prove beyond doubt that you have strong ties to your home country and intend to return upon the completion of your studies. Unfortunately, the ISSO cannot do anything to help in this regard, as we cannot certify your future plans or intentions. We recommend that you try again to get your visa, and that you provide as much documentation as possible to prove your intention to return to your home country once you complete your studies at Towson University. Anything that you can provide that shows continuing family, educational, vocational, or related ties to your home country will be helpful. For example, if you have any evidence of a job that you will be returning to once you complete your studies, or anything that demonstrates family ties such as ownership of land, relatives who live and work there, you should definitely provide it for your interview. And of course any and all proof of adequate financial funding for your studies in the US is always critical.

I am studying at another university in the U.S. as an F-1 student. Do I need to get a new I-20 to come study at Towson University?
If you are attending another school in the U.S. but are planning to begin studies at Towson, you will need to complete the New Student Request form on the ISSO Portal.  You will complete the transfer-in information and enter the name of your current international student advisor. Your current school will need to release your SEVIS record to Towson University. 

I’m transferring to Towson University. How long does it take to get my transfer I-20?
The ISSO cannot process your I-20 form until we receive and review your admission documents, including your financial documents, and have access to your SEVIS record. You should discuss your transfer release date and travel plans with your current international student advisor when submitting the transfer form to them.

When You Arrive

How do I get from the airport/train station to TU?
Students arriving from the Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) can use the following transportation options to arrive at Towson University:

SuperShuttle: First passenger: $33, each additional passenger: $12
Light Rail to Timonium, MD and then a taxi: Light rail: $2.00 Taxi: $15-20
Taxi: $80-90, ride share applications like Lyft or Uber: $40-50

**Students should note that the Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) is the most convenient and cost efficient airport for arriving at Towson. Transportation to and from any other airport in the area is extremely expensive and hard to find**

Students arriving from the Penn Station train station can use these options:

MTA 41 Towson Bus: $1.80
Taxi: $30-40

I just arrived in Towson. Do I need to do anything with your office?
Information about orientation activities can be found on the Undergraduate Enrolled Students To-Do List, Graduate Enrolled Students to-Do List and the Exchange Student orientation page. 

Also, please be aware that ALL students must attend a special ISSO workshop about F-1 /J-1 immigration regulation during the first week of classes. For more information about the time and location of this workshop, as well as information about how to sign up, please contact the ISSO via email at or via phone at 410-704-2421

You will also need to complete the new student immigration check-in online 

Where can I get a bank account?
There are several banks in the Towson area where you can open an account. Located directly on campus on the first floor of the University Union is PNC Bank which is available for students. You will need a passport in order to open up a bank account. You do not need a social security number. 

What about health insurance?
All international students are required to have health insurance. All F and J students are automatically enrolled in the University’s health insurance plan. If you have your own health insurance and do not want the Towson University plan, you must fill out an online waiver application form and bring it with a copy of your health insurance plan in English to the Health Center  (Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm). Your own health coverage must be comparable to TU’s coverage. Please remember that if you have your own health coverage that you must apply for a new waiver each semester.

Where can I get help with my English?
The English Language Center offers programs with full and part-time intensive English instruction for international students. See information about ELC programs

Working, Traveling and Leaving TU

Am I allowed to work?
F-1 and J-1 full-time students are allowed to work on-campus, for any Towson University department or office, on a part-time basis (up to 20 hours per week) during the school year and full-time during school vacation periods. Off-campus employment requires special permission and usually can be done only after the first academic year (9 months) of full-time study at Towson University.

Where can I find information about on-campus and off-campus jobs?
You can search for on-campus jobs using the Career Center’s Handshake web portal .

Also, speak to your department or academic advisor about possible job openings.

In addition, the Career Center has a new job search database, "Going Global." Access "Going Global" for 600,000 worldwide job/internship postings, 35 country career guides, searchable H1B Plus database and MORE! The link to "Going Global" can be found on the Career Center's home page.

My family will visit me here while I'm studying/ to see me graduate.  Can the ISSO provide an invitation letter?

The ISSO no longer provides invitation letters.  It is best for students to write an invitation.  The ISSO has prepared a sample invitation letter that you may use.