Living in the United States » Preparing for U.S. Study: A Checklist
- Links to More Information on U.S. Life
- Preparing for U.S. Study: A Checklist
- Questions and Answers: Cultural Concerns
- Questions and Answers: Maintaining Visa Status in the United States
- Tips on Planning Your Travel to the United States
- U.S. Life: Practical Matters
- U.S. Life: Your Rights, Health, and Safety
Preparing for U.S. Study: A Checklist
Use this list to check that you have taken care of all essential arrangements before you depart for the U.S.
Once letters of acceptance or rejection arrive, decide which university to attend, notify the admissions office of your decision, and complete and return any forms they require. Notify other universities that offer you admission that you will not be attending. Return any official forms that you will not use
If you are being sponsored by an organization, notify that organization of your plans. Stay in contact with your sponsoring organization, which can help you with predeparture arrangements.
Contact the nearest EducationUSA advising center for predeparture information and advice.
Upon receipt of your I-20 or DS-2019 form, pay the SEVIS fee and then apply to your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for a visa. Do this well in advance of your departure date. Application forms are available online.
Obtain passports for yourself and any family members who will accompany you. If you already have passports, check that they are valid for at least six months after your planned U.S. entry date.
Obtain certified copies of your secondary and postsecondary transcripts and gather any supporting details you may need to transfer course work (descriptions of courses, textbooks used, and so forth). Obtain English translated true copies of documents as appropriate.
Organize finances: get information on how to transfer funds to a U.S. bank and make sure you have funds for travel and arrival expenses. Buy traveler's checks to cover costs during your first month in the United States as well as U.S. currency for initial arrival expenses if possible. Consider obtaining a credit card that will work in the U.S., if possible.
Consider appointments with your physician, dentist, and eye care professional (care is likely to be much more expensive in the U.S.) Check on any immunizations required for U.S. entry or by your university and obtain these. Obtain copies of important medical records, X-rays, and prescriptions. Have prescriptions written in English in generic terms. Bring at least a month’s supply of your prescription medicines.
Request information about health insurance from your university. Obtain suitable insurance for yourself and any family members traveling with you or make plans to do this immediately upon arrival at the university. Obtain travel insurance that will cover any delays or cancellation or travel plans as well as accidents or health problems while you are traveling or soon after arrival. Consider baggage insurance if you expect to bring expensive or fragile items with you.
Make travel arrangements. It is advisable to arrive on campus a few days to one week before orientation and registration begin. Find out when your university’s student orientation programs are before finalizing travel plans. Contact the International Student Office (or similar office) at your university with details of your arrival plans.
Find out how to travel to your university from your U.S. point of entry; get information on best travel methods and estimated costs from your university’s International Student Office.
Finalize arrangements for housing with your university. Inquire about temporary housing, hotel, motel, or other arrangements that need to be made if arriving early or during the weekend.
Pack. Check that your luggage meets airline weight and size requirements and does not include any items prohibited by airline security or by U.S. customs authorities.
Reconfirm flight reservations seventy-two hours before your scheduled departure.