Pre-Arrival Information for Students
Things To Do Once You Have Been Admitted
- Check the expiration dates on your passport to make sure they are up-to-date.
- Carefully read your documents to make sure all information is correct.
- Each consular office has a different procedure to obtain a visa. Refer to the U.S. Department of State website for instructions.
- Applying for a visa can be challenging. Read our tips for a successful visa interview to help you prepare.
- You should plan on entering the United States no more than 30 days before the start of classes. Check the orientation dates and semester calendar to determine your arrival date.
- We recommend giving yourself enough time to accomplish the following: adjust to the time change, attend intake, settle living arrangements, and attend New International Student Orientation.
Register for International Students Orientation
The International Students and Scholars office (ISS) will communicate with you through your University of Arkansas email account (firstname.lastname@example.org). In your university email, you will receive a link to your personal arrival and orientation checklist through issLink. In this checklist, you will sign up for arrival services, access your pre-departure orientation through Blackboard, and develop your personal orientation schedule.
Try to attend an EducationUSA information session
- EducationUSA offers pre-departure orientations that will help you prepare for your time in the United States.
Center for Educational Access
- The Center for Educational Access facilitates accommodations for students with physical, sensory, psychological, and learning disabilities to ensure your access to the programs and activities of the University. You must register for their services. Please contact their office through email@example.com before your arrival to discuss the special needs that you have.
- If you will be under 18 years old when you arrive to the University of Arkansas, your parent or legal guardian MUST complete the Authorization for Treatment of a Minor form.
- Be sure to collect copies of your medical and dental records with an English translation. Also you will need to submit proof of immunization that include two immunizations of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) to the Student Health Center as soon as possible. Not having these submitted will prevent you from being able to register for classes. If you don’t have these immunizations, you should arrange to take these immunizations before you arrive to the University of Arkansas.
- A tuberculosis (T.B.). test will be conducted upon your arrival and it is required by Arkansas State. Your schedule to visit the Health Center for TB Test will be arranged for you on your Immigration Basics session day.
- All international students are required to have the UofA health insurance. The University of Arkansas provides all international students with a health insurance plan each semester for which you are enrolled in academic credits.
- Dental care and eye care is not included in the health insurance plan. We recommend you take care of any dental or eye care needs in your home country since dental and eye care is expensive in the United States.
International Drivers Licenses
- If you currently have a drivers license in your home country, we encourage you to purchase an "International Drivers License" and bring both documents with you to the United States. These documents will allow you to rent a car upon arrival to the United States and purchase automobile insurance; however, this license will not allow you to drive beyond 6 to 12 months after your arrival to the United States.
- If you want to drive in the United States for the full length of your academic program, you will need to pass the Arkansas State Drivers License exams, both written and driving, after your arrival. For information on obtaining, see our Guide to Obtaining an Arkansas Drivers' License .
How Am I Going To Get There?
The closest airport is Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport , its airport code is XNA.
- If you need transportation from the XNA airport to your destination near campus, the best way is using Jim's Shuttle. They offer a special rate for our international students during the orientation week. You must sign up 72 hours in advance of your arrival to receive this special rate. Please complete your issLink checklist to arrange transportation from the XNA airport to campus.
- You may also contact one of the student groups to see if they will meet you.
- Other ways to come to campus from the airport are through taxi (about $50USD) or airport shuttle (about $42USD).
Where Am I Going To Stay?
- Temporary Housing is available on a limited basis before the Summer, Fall and Spring semesters. Please see the Welcome Message from ISS office for more information. If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org about Temporary Housing.
- If you decide to not use temporary housing you are free to make arrangements on your own to stay in a hotel.
- If you have made a contract with University Housing, you will need to look at the orientation schedule to check when you can move in.
- If you will be under 18 years old when you arrive at the University of Arkansas, your parents or your legal guardian MUST complete the "Safety and Security Addendum" form that will be available at residence hall check-in. If a parent or legal guardian is not available at your residence hall check-in, then you will need to collect the form and fax and scan it to them to complete and return.
- There are several residence hall options for those wishing to live on campus. If you are a freshman (first-year student) and under 21 you MUST live on campus. On campus accommodations are arranged through University Housing .
- There are also apartments through the University that are offered for upper-class students.
- There are a variety of apartments available in the surrounding area that are near University Transit bus stops. You can contact apartment complexes on your own, use Off-Campus Student Services, or check out the Off-Campus Housing website to help you locate apartment complexes or roommates.
- When you sign a contract for an apartment, or anything else, it is a legally binding contract. DO NOT sign a contract or a lease unless you are sure you will live in the apartment. We highly recommend looking at your apartment unit before signing the lease/contract as otherwise you may have to stay there even if you don't like it. There are informative documents under "Resources" on the Off-Campus Connections website.
- Be wary of very cheap apartments as they may be of poor quality.
What Am I Going To Need?
- Check the What to Pack page for suggestions.
- Know baggage limitations: each airline has a specific guideline. Ask your travel agent for details.
Once you have registered for classes your student account will be billed along with any other room and board fees. Your student account must be paid or have a payment plan set up by the 5th day of classes at the start of each semester. For more information visit the Treasurer's Office page.
The University of Arkansas has partnered with Flywire to streamline the tuition payment process for our international students. With Flywire, you can pay from any country and any bank. You are offered excellent foreign exchange rates, allowing you to pay in your home currency (in most cases) and save a significant amount of money, as compared to traditional banks. You will also be able to track where your payment is in the transfer process via a student dashboard and an email confirmation will be sent to you when your payment is received by the school. Go to Tell us about your payment to begin the payment process.
Things To Do When I Get There
- Travel Documents:
- U of A Admission Letter
- Any other Important Document
- More information about what to expect at immigration and the port of entry .
- I-94 (this is given at the port of entry). Click here to learn more about the I-94 form.
- Contact Numbers
- Immigration Basics: All incoming F-1 and J-1 international students are required by U.S. immigration law to check in with the ISS Office. Immigration Basics is an hour long session that is offered at various times prior to the start of classes each semester.
- ELPT: If you need to take the English Language Proficiency Test after you arrive, check date and times with Testing Services .
- Every new International student to the University is expected to come to the International Orientation where important information is given regarding your studies here. (For graduate students, this is different from the Graduate Student Orientation which normally takes place after International Orientation. New Graduate Student Orientation )
- Class Registration: For undergraduate students, there will be a designated date for academic advising. You must attend the pre-academic advising session as well to fully understand the process, which usually arranged a day before. For graduate students, you will need to make an appointment to see your program adviser on your own. Visit Office of the Registrar site to learn more about registration.
- Complete Higher One information when you receive the packet in the mail.
- There are different banking options near campus and you can pick a bank of your choice.
- You will need your passport and another form of identification (usually your I-20 or DS-2019) to open a bank account.
- Different banks will have different fees regarding wire transfers, checking accounts, and debit cards. Make sure to do some research to see which bank will serve your needs the best.
- There may be a hold for:
- Check In/Intake Document Hold: Once you arrive at the University you must bring your documents to the International Students and Scholars (ISS) for processing.
- Required Advising: You MUST meet with an academic advisor before you can register for classes.
- Check with the health center to make sure you have your appropriate immunizations.
- You must have health insurance. If you do not have health insurance provided by the University please follow these instructions to request a waiver.
- Before seeking employment check your employment options based on the type of immigration status you have.
- Current On-Campus Employment Opportunities