Pre-Arrival Information for Students


We are delighted that you will be joining the international community at the University of Arkansas, which includes more than 1200 international students and scholars from more than 110+ countries.

Now that you have been admitted to the University of Arkansas for your academic program, there are steps you should take care of including applying for your student visa and plan for your arrival. 

1. Things To Do Once You Have Been Admitted

  • Make sure to log into your Application Portal to accept the offer of admission. You will also have the option to decline the offer of admission or to defer your admission to a different term. (If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact the International Admission Office .)
  • Check your admission notice for any additional items needed by the University, such as official transcripts.
  • Obtain your immigration document (I-20 or DS-2019) by following guidance by the International Admissions Office.
  • Check that your degree program and start term are correct.
  • Check the expiration dates on your passport to make sure they are up-to-date.
  • Pay SEVIS fee accordingly and apply for your F1 or J1 visa. You will need to bring a receipt for payment to your visa interview. Keep this receipt with you always, even after you have obtained your visa. You may need to present it again at the U.S. port of entry or future visa interviews.
  • After you receive your immigration documents and pay the SEVIS fee, you will apply for your visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country.
  • 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. See our tips for a successful visa interview and Visa Wait Times (opens new window) to help you prepare.

Plan your arrival

UAISS will prepare fun, educational orientation programs for international students. Plan and arrange your travel accordingly.

  • 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 Immigration Basics & International Orientation Welcome Day

  • As part of your orientation, you are required to attend one mandatory Immigration Basics session. You will check-in with ISS, meet with foreign student advisors and learn about important immigration information.
  • Orientation Welcome Day event will cover important topics to introduce helpful resources on- and off-campus for you to become a successful international student. 
  • Sign up for Immigration Basics and Welcome Day will be on your Application Portal.

Submit Medical Records

  • 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.
  • You will need to submit proof of immunization that include two immunizations of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) to the Student Health Center at 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. Be sure to collect copies of your medical and dental records with an English translation.
  • 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.

Health Insurance

  • 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.

COVID Updates

Attend an EducationUSA information session

EducationUSA offers pre-departure orientations that will help you prepare for your time in the United States.

Check UA 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 before your arrival to discuss the special needs that you have.

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 .

2. Arrange Your Arrival Services

The closest airport is Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport , its airport code is XNA.

  • UAISS provides limited assistance with arrival transportation. Please check Arrival Information Form for ISS on your Application Portal. 
  • The following website can be used to book transportation from XNA Airport: Ground Transportation
  • You may also contact one of the student groups (Registered Student Organizations) to see if they will meet you.

3. Arrange Your Housing

  • Temporary Housing is available on a limited basis before the Summer, Fall and Spring semesters. UAISS partners with Candlewood Suites for temporary housing. Please check Arrival Information Form for ISS on your Application Portal. 
  • 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.

On-Campus Housing

  • 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.
  •  If you are a freshman (first-year student) and under 21 you are required to live on campus. There are several residence hall options for those wishing to 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.

Off-Campus Housing

  • Transfer and graduate students are not required to live on campus.
  • 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 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. 
  • Be wary of very cheap apartments as they may be of poor quality.

4. Prepare Your Finances

Tuition Payment

  • 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.
  • As a student coming to the U.S. on a student visa status, you have demonstrated that you can finance your education. Before you arrive in Fayetteville, please determine how much funds you'd need for the first a few weeks upon arrival.

Social Security Number Application

  • If you have an on-campus job or UofA scholarship, the Nonresident Tax Team will meet with you to help you complete the required new employee paperwork. In order to be set up in Payroll you must meet with them. You will need to have your GLACIER profile completed and bring all of your original immigration documents to the meeting.
  • UAISS assists students to apply for the Social Security Number (SSN) usually during the 3rd week of the semester. Please wait for futher announcements after orientation week.
  • Those students who do not have on-campus job oppportunities are NOT eligible to apply for SSN.

5. Things To Do When I Get There

  • Travel Documents:
  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-20/DS-2019
  • 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

Cell Phones

Here is a list of Cell Phone Service Provider. More information will be available at orientation.


List of all Student Organizations

More Questions?

Contact us: