International Student Guide

Visa Process

It is recommended that this process is started as soon as possible. Once you obtain your I-20 form, you should apply for your F-1 visa as soon as possible. Some applications require additional administrative processing that can add several weeks to the process. The Graziadio Business School cannot do anything to expedite the process. Obtaining the F-1 visa is the student's responsibility. Students entering with an F-1 visa cannot enter the U.S. more than 30 calendar days before the program start date printed on your Form I-20. It is recommended that travel arrangements are not made until after you receive your visa.

Obtaining the Form I-20

Paying SEVIS I-901 Fee

Obtaining the F-1 student visa in your passport

U.S. Port of Entry immigration process upon arrival

  • It's important that you keep your Pepperdine admissions letter, I-20, passport, student visa, I-901 receipt of SEVIS fee, and financial documentation in your carry-on luggage. Do not put it in your check-in luggage, as you will need to give it to the Customs and Border Protection officer when you arrive at the airport.
  • Print your Admission (I-94) Number Retrieval Form at and keep it with your permanent records.

Reporting your arrival to the Office of International Student Services (OISS) to activate your SEVIS Record

Preparing for Los Angeles, Malibu, and Pepperdine

One of the best ways to prepare for your time abroad is to learn as much as you can about Pepperdine University, Malibu, Los Angeles and the United States and American culture prior to your departure. It is unrealistic, however, to expect that you will be able to prepare yourself completely, so we recommend that you expect the unexpected! Your experience at Pepperdine will largely be what you make of it. If you keep an open mind and maintain your sense of humor, it will help you greatly to meet the challenges of studying in a new country and make the most of the experience.

You should come prepared for sunny days and little temperature variation; mild winters, warmer summers, and pleasant days in between. The temperature frequently drops to 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) in winter and rises to 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) in the summer. Plan to wear warmer clothing during the winter months (November-March). A jacket or coat will be necessary. Clothing for rainy weather might be needed but rain is rare. Keep in mind that the U.S. uses the Fahrenheit scale when referring to temperatures: 1.00 degrees C = 33.80 degrees F.

On campus and in the classroom, casual and informal attire such as t-shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, jeans, shorts, khakis, sneakers, and sandals are acceptable for women as well as men. When deciding which kind of clothing to pack for your move to the U.S., you may also find it helpful to bring national costumes to wear to special events and international celebrations or to speaking engagements around the city, but this is a matter of personal choice. Bringing formal attire (suit, tie, dress shoes, button-down shirt of conservative color, conservative blouse (for women) is a MUST for class presentations, special and formal occasions, job interviews, and any events that indicate that "business attire" is required for your attendance!