There are many tasks to take care of before you arrive to study in a different country. This list will help you make sure you remember some of the most important ones. Education USA is a very helpful website developed by the U.S. Department of State which includes information about undergraduate and graduate study and pre-departure information and resources.
Do you have your visa?
Before you may apply for a U.S. F or J visa, you must gather evidence of your financial support and obtain a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 from the university, pay your Student Exchange Visa Information Service (SEVIS) fee, and gather evidence of your ties to your home country. You will also need a valid passport. All these documents are necessary for you to apply for a visa at an embassy or consular office in your home country. For more information about immigration matters, see the immigration for new students page.
Have you made travel plans to arrive in Austin?
Remember that you will need to familiarize yourself with UT, attend orientation events, complete housing arrangements, complete immunization and tuberculosis testing requirements, and prepare to register for classes. Plan accordingly.
The earliest that new F-1 and J-1 students should enter the United States is 30 days prior to the start dates listed on the I-20 or DS-2019. This is an immigration limitation and cannot be changes. If you are admitted for the fall semester, we recommend that you arrive in Austin no later than August 16, 2018, so that you can be prepared to register for classes on August 24, 2018. If you are admitted for the first summer semester, you should arrive in Austin no later than May 28, 2018, so that you can be prepared to register for classes on June 5, 2018.
If you have questions about the entry process into the United States, please review the Study in the States website on Getting to the United States on what to expect at the port of entry.
Plan your trip into Austin from the airport
If you arrive on a Saturday or Sunday, you will find that the University, and many businesses, are closed.
The local airport, Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA), is located approximately 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the campus. Unfortunately, we are unable to make arrangements to meet you at the airport. However, there are several transportation options listed on ABIA's website on how to get into downtown Austin.
Have you arranged your finances?
Bring enough money with you to cover your first semester tuition, fees, books, and at least three months of living expenses. Tuition amounts depend upon your degree level, program of study, and the tuition rate (Texas resident vs. non-resident) that applies to you.
You must pay your first semester tuition after registration. If you plan to pay by check or bank transfer, you must use a U.S. bank account. For more information about living expenses, tuition amounts, tuition deadlines, and payment methods, please see the Financial Requirements page.
For information about declaring money when you enter the U.S., see the Customs & Border Protection website.
Do you know where you will live?
You will need to plan where you will stay when you first arrive in Austin and where you will live during your time at UT. It is best to make inquiries before you arrive in the U.S. See Housing in Austin for short and long-term options as well as suggested ways to seek off-campus housing. Bring an extra copy of your evidence of financial support with you to Austin; it is required for certain housing options.
Do you have proof of immunization?
Proof of immunizations and Tuberculosis screenings are required for enrollment at UT. For information regarding Immunization & TB Requirements, or if you have any questions about these requirements, please contact UHS. You will not be able to register for classes until UHS has documentation that you have met medical clearance requirements including TB Test.
Have you booked your trip to allow plenty of time to attend IBC, International Student Orientation and Welcome Events?
Plan to arrive a few weeks before classes so that you may attend the International Student Orientation, mandatory International Briefing & Check In (IBC) and other welcome events. Arriving right before classes begin will delay your registration and can limit availability of classes. See the International Student Orientation & Welcome Events schedule for more details.
Freshmen and Undergraduate Transfer Students: Attend UT Orientation
All Freshmen and Undergraduate Transfer students are required to attend a UT Orientation program led by New Student Services. You will not be able to register for classes until you have attended UT Orientation. Visit the New Student Services website for more information on UT Orientation dates, and when and how to register for a session.
F-1 & J-1 students: If you will be arriving from outside of the U.S. (non-transfers), you may attend the UT Orientation session in August only. If you are already in the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status, you may attend UT Orientation in June, July or August.
Connect with the UT community
There are numerous international student organizations at UT that are eager to be in contact with new students and answer questions about life at UT. To access a list of these student organizations, visit the Dean of Students website and search by keywords such as “International."
For Students from China
Visit the Pre-Departure Orientation for Chinese Students website developed by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. This is an excellent resource that answers many questions about: academics, improving English, cultural matters, social life in the U.S., health & safety, and rights & responsibilities.