To-Do List for International Students
Congratulations! You are well on your way to your first class at the University of Idaho. There are just a few things to do before you can start. To help make your time here more productive and successful we've set up a to-do list to help you with those few things. Check back often to stay on track.
After being admitted to U of I, you will receive an e-mail from IT Help Central with your U of I username, activation code, and instructions about how to activate your account. At this time, you should also activate your U of I Outlook email address.
Quick Action Links:
- Set up your Vandal accounts now
- Set up your Duo Multifactor Authentication (MFA)
- Log in to your VandalWeb account
- Sign in to your VandalMail account
- Log in to your iVandal account
Note: Please check your U of I email account on a regular basis since this is the address where all U of I communication will be sent.
1: Admission & I-20/DS-2019
As an international student at University of Idaho, you will need to obtain an student visa to come to the US.
Once you have been accepted to the University of Idaho, you need to submit a valid passport and financial documents showing you have funding to pay for your education and are eligible for a student visa. Please refer to the Certificate of Financial Responsibility for further funding information.
Once your financial documents have been reviewed, you will be issued a Form I-20 (for F-1 visa sent electronically) or Form DS-2019 (for J-1 visa shipped to your address). These immigration documents are required to apply for a visa.
You can access and download your acceptance letter and, if an F-1 student, Form I-20 from your application portal. Once received, it is important to review your I-20 or DS-2019 for accuracy. If the information is correct, print the I-20 in color and add to your travel document file.
You are required to sign your I-20 and DS-2019 and present the document at your visa interview.
2: Submit SEVIS Form I-901 and your SEVIS I-901 Fee
Once you have your I-20 or DS-2019, you must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee before you can apply for a student visa or schedule your visa interview at your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
The SEVIS I-901 fee is a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) processing and maintenance charge; it is a mandatory fee (mandated by the U.S. Congress) that supports the people and automated system that ensures students and exchange visitors maintain their status while in the U.S.
3: Complete your DS-160 Visa Application
All prospective international students must complete a DS-160 to receive a non-immigrant visa.
Student Visa: Overview; How to Apply; Fees; Required Documentation; Spouses & Children
**Students from Canada and Bermuda are not required to apply for an F-1 Visa. They only require a valid I-20.
4: Schedule your Visa Interview
To schedule your interview, locate your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Wait times vary by country. Submit your visa application at the earliest date the consulate will accept it. Schedule your appointment as early as possible to account for delays.
F-1 student visa appointments can be scheduled and visas can be issued up to 120 in advance of your course of study start date.
Estimated Wait Time for a Student/Exchange Visitor Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate
5: Attend Visa Interview
Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:
- I-20 or DS-2019 issued by University of Idaho;
- Receipt of your SEVIS I-901 fee;
- Passport travel to the U.S. must be valid for at least six months beyond first day of classes.
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page;
- Application fee payment receipt, pay before your interview;
- Financial documents that demonstrate adequate funding to support your university and living costs in the U.S.;
- Transcripts, diplomas, degrees from schools you attended;
- 2x2 inch Photo, in case the photo upload fails with your Form DS-2019.
6: Notify University of Idaho Office of Admissions of the Results of your Visa Interview
Invitation to Idaho Tuition Waiver Scholarship
Once you are admitted to the University of Idaho, you are automatically considered for the Invitation to Idaho scholarship. If you qualify for this award, it will be posted to your VandalWeb account the Tuesday after an admission decision has been made.
Accept or decline your awards after considering the cost of attendance.
All full-time, first year students under 21 years of age are required to live on-campus during their first year. When you confirm your living plan, you'll also confirm your dining plan option. Information about on-campus housing and how to reserve your room can be found here.
Quick Action Links:
Schedule an e-meeting with your academic advisor. S/he will lift the hold on your account so that you can register for classes. All F-1 students must take a full-time course load with only one online course per semester.
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Travel Dates: Students should have housing reserved and arrive to campus at least 24 hours prior to the start of New Student Orientation.Read the International Student Housing Move-In Guide.
Students with an F-1 visa may enter the country up to 30 days before their official program start date, as listed on their Form I-20, but will need to arrange for lodging until on-campus move in begins. All students must report to the International Programs Office upon arrival.
Airport Option 1: Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport (PUW)
- Fewer than ten miles from campus;
- U of I’s Parking and Transportation Services typically offers a free shuttle from PUW to campus during the week prior to the first day of classes.
Once you have purchased your tickets to PUW and have your arrival day and time, request free airport pick-up by submitting a request online through U of I’s Parking & Transportation Services (PTS).
Airport Option 2: Lewiston Regional Airport (LWS)
- Over 30 miles away from Moscow in Lewiston, Idaho.
- A daily shuttle is available that must be reserved in advance online. Read more about the free shuttle from the Lewiston airport.
- Taxis are available and will be expensive.
Airport Option 3: Spokane International Airport (GEG)
- Over 80 miles from campus in Spokane, Washington. Most major airlines have service here, but an additional 1.5 hours of travel by bus to Moscow is required at additional cost.
- Daily shuttle service to and from the Spokane airport is offered by Northwestern Trailways every day of the year except Dec. 25. You must purchase a bus ticket prior to arrival. Book a shuttle through SMART Transit at 208-883-7747. The cost is $44 each way (as of August 2022).
- * Taxi service from this airport would be extraordinarily expensive and is not recommended.
For up-to-date information on regional transportation, visit PTS’s Regional Transit page
Travel Guidance: COVID-19
- For the most current guidance on International Travel Requirements and Recommendations, visit the CDC website.
U of I requires all international students to have health insurance during their in-person studies. Student Health Services will automatically enroll new international students in the U of I Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP); insurance coverage begins on the first day of the first semester. Insurance cards (proof of insurance) will be mailed to new students after the start of the semester and can also be accessed through the SHIP portal.
STRONGLY Recommended Immunizations
- COVID-19 (View ongoing ACIP vaccine recommendations as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves)
- Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
- Hepatitis B
- Meningococcal Disease (Meningitis)
U of I recommends vaccinations and/or screenings for certain vaccine-preventable diseases. Check with Student Health Services to view the complete list of recommendations and fast facts about benefits, risks and info about accessing vaccines.
New Student Orientation prepares you for your time at U of I, equips you with U of I resources, and connects you with fellow Vandals. It is the expectation of the University of Idaho that all new undergraduate students attend new student orientation.
Mandatory International Student Orientation is a required component of New Student Orientation week.
*Complete Virtual Pre-Arrival Modules in iVandal before International Student Orientation.
Travel Preparation: Due to the high volume of students who travel prior to the start of fall or spring semesters, luggage is sometimes delayed. To be sure you can clearly identify your luggage, please do the following:
- Tag your luggage on the outside with your name and with the delivery location for lost luggage:
International Programs Office
LLC Building #3
Moscow, ID 83844
- Include the same information INSIDE of each piece of your luggage: Your name and the information for delivery if your luggage is lost.
- Include this information on your carry-on luggage or bags.
- Keep important travel documents with you at all times, especially passports, I-20/DS-2019, and other documentation. See more complete list below.
- Take a photo of all of your luggage after you pack it and before you check any items at the airport. This will help you describe your luggage if it is delayed.
Required Documents: Prepare documents in a travel file that can be easily carried in your carry-on luggage, not in your checked bag. You need access to your visa documents at all times during transit.
- passport, I-20;
- original financial documentation (bank statement, CFR);
- valid U.S. entry visa;
- copy of immunization records;
- SEVIS I-901 payment receipt;
- Proof of Enrollment (U of I admissions letter, printout of full-time class enrollment, confirmation of housing reservation, receipt for tuition payment, etc.).
If you need confirmation of your previous SEVIS fee payment, visit the SEVIS fee payment page and select the option to “Check I-901 Status/Print Payment Confirmation.”
Make copies of:
- Medical records, if needed;
- certified birth certificate (may be required for Idaho driver’s license).
Remember to bring:
- eye glasses/contact lenses;
- favorite book;
- calculator/paint brushes; etc.
Recommended not to bring:
- 220V appliances.
Quick Action Links:
The university has provided an estimate of minimum expenses for nine months in your I-20, but actual expenses vary greatly according to tuition, fees, and number of courses taken by a given student. The university also reserves the right to make changes in tuition and fees at any time.
Students on F-1 and J-1 visas should have at least $4,000 in their possession upon arrival. We recommend that you bring as much of the amount as you are allowed to transfer. Please plan accordingly. Tuition and fee payments are due before classes begin.
Students are urged to have adequate financial means for their entire period of study, since there are few financial resources at the university.
Note: Please take extra care with any amount of currency that you may have on your person. Be sure to properly secure these items and your immigration documents while you are traveling. Do not put money or immigration documents in your luggage!
Consider setting up a Flywire Account to pay your tuition, fees and housing bill. This service will allow you to more easily pay your bill after you register for classes. Sometimes there are delays in transferring money from your home bank account and setting up a U.S. bank account. Delays in payments for your tuition and housing and can result in your classes being dropped.
It is important that you carefully plan and prepare for your first week(s) at U of I, before your classes begin. Plan before you arrive since you will have many things to get done before your first day of class.
Your VandalCard is your student ID for U of I. Once you’ve requested your VandalCard, it can be picked up in the Student Technology Center (TLC 128) if you are in Moscow, or the Idaho Water Center if you are in Boise.
New students will need to arrive in time for New Student Orientation. Learn more about new student orientation programming.
All international students must also attend the new international student orientation. This event takes place during the week before classes begin.
Pay your bill. All semester tuition, fees, residence hall and meal plan charges for on-campus housing, and health insurance must be paid at the Student Accounts Office, on VandalWeb or through wire transfer.
Monthly payment plans are available through Student Accounts. If you are unable to pay your balance in full, you are encouraged to set up a monthly payment plan through VandalWeb. Full payment or payment plan enrollment is required by the first day of the semester to avoid late fees.
Most scholarships require full-time enrollment (12 credits). Billing is generated after you have registered for your classes.
Quick Action Links:
International students are automatically enrolled in University of Idaho’s Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP).
At the University of Idaho, we all play a role in creating a safer and healthier campus community and supporting our Vandal family. The Think About It safety program for undergraduates will help you navigate challenging situations. Students will receive an email invitation in their VandalMail account detailing how to access Voices for Change.
Required Safety Program: Voices for Change for Undergraduates
- Residence Hall Move-In Day
- Students with an on-campus housing contract, can arrange to move in before the date listed. Email email@example.com to learn more details and submit an “early move-in request”.
- Mandatory: International Student Orientation: 8:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 9, 2023 (tentative)
- New Student Orientation
- First day of Spring 2023 classes: Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023