***Mandatory for all new International Students***
The International Student and Scholar Services provides orientation for all new international students and scholars at the U of U including graduates, undergraduates, exchange students and visiting scholars.
At orientation, you will learn about important resources available to you as a U student, have an opportunity to meet other local and international students, and discover Salt Lake City!
Fall 2019 Orientation Dates
Orientation will occur on each of the following days from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Mountain Standard Time. Please choose one day to attend:
Thursday, August 8
Friday, August 9
Monday, August 12
Tuesday, August 13
Wednesday, August 14
Thursday, August 15
The annual International Student Welcome Barbecue will take place on August 16 from 2:00-5:30 PM at the Union Building Patio. This event is open to all new international students/scholars and their families.
Make-up orientation is for students who have unavoidable scheduling conflicts that prevent them from coming to the regular orientation dates. The make-up orientation is a condensed version of the regular orientation, but it will still cover the information that you are required to know. To attend make-up orientation, you MUST register in advance, all make-up sessions will take place in Parlor A on the third floor of the Union building. The make-up orientation options are:
- Wednesday, August 21 from 1:30 PM - 5:00 PM
- Monday, August 26 from 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
- Friday, September 6 from 1:30 PM - 5:00 PM
- Thursday, September 19 from 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
***IMPORTANT: If you show up late to orientation, you will not be allowed to attend that day. You will have to come back on a different day. This is to show respect to the presenters and other students involved with orientation.***
- Check-In & light breakfast 8:00 AM – 8:45 AM
Saltair Room, A. Ray Olpin University Union
- DOORS CLOSE AT 8:45 AM
- ISSS Staff Welcome 9:00 AM – 9:15 AM
Saltair Room, A. Ray Olpin University Union
- Student Rights and Responsibilities Presentation 9:15 AM – 10:00 AM
Saltair Room, A. Ray Olpin University Union
- Immigration Presentation 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
- Saltair Room, A. Ray Olpin University Union
- American Classroom 11:00 AM – 11:50 PM
Saltair Room, A. Ray Olpin University Union
- Lunch 11:50 PM – 12:45 PM (Vegetarian option provided)
Saltair Room, A. Ray Olpin University Union
- Break-out Sessions 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Sessions will include:
- Campus Tour
- Immigration Document Check
- Information Fair with local and campus vendors
- Graduate students may check-out with an ISSS staff member or ambassador
- Undergraduate Students – Class Registration Workshop 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
- Undergraduate students may check-out with an ISSS staff member or ambassador
Note: Students must attend every event in order to successfully complete orientation. However, graduate students are NOT required to attend the Academic Advising Workshop at the end of the day.
- August 1, 2019 – Complete Orientation Registration and the Pre-Arrival Checklist
You must register by this date to be guaranteed a spot at orientation. If you register after the deadline, you may not be able to attend on the day you want. Completing the Pre-Arrival Checklist by this deadline will help to streamline your day of orientation. Here are the instructions to register and complete the Pre-Arrival Checklist.
- September 20, 2019 – Complete orientation
All new international students must complete the orientation requirements – attending an entire session of orientation and submitting a complete Orientation Check-In e-form – by this deadline. Students who fail to do this will receive a hold on their account, which will only be removed after they complete the requirements.
Note: Orientation takes place before each semester on specific days during the week(s) before classes begin. Information on upcoming orientation dates will be posted after the previous semester’s orientation has ended. If you require further information on future orientation dates, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Set up your UMail account
Your UMail account is your official University of Utah email. You will receive important messages from the University and the ISSS office about your immigration status, policy updates, scholarship opportunities, and more. To keep your private information protected, we will only send messages to this verified account. It is very important to check your UMail often throughout the week!
Your UMail address is uNID@utah.edu (if your uNID is u1234567, your Umail address will be email@example.com). Follow the instructions below to access your UMail and to set up mail forwarding to your personal email account.
- Go to umail.utah.edu
- Log in with your uNID (your student ID number) and password. Your password is your birthdate (MMDDYY). After you log in, you will be shown instructions on how to create a new unique password. Remember this password!
- If you have issues setting up your UMail, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
You may forward your UMail to another email account if you wish. However, you must still respond to University emails from your UMail address. Again, this is to help your personal information remain secure. To set up mail forwarding:
- Go to cis.utah.edu
- Log in with your uNID and password (the unique password that you created when you first accessed UMail)
- Locate the My UMail box and select UMail Settings
- Go to the Forwarding section
- Enter the email address you want to forward to, and then select Forward UMail
If you have issues setting up mail forward from your UMail, please contact email@example.com
Apply for a student visa and pay necessary fees
Complete the online visa applicationForm DS-160 and pay the $160 visa application fee. Be sure to print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview (the page with the barcode). You must upload a photo that fits the format explained in the Photograph Requirements, so be prepared for that.
In order to get your student visa, you must present proof of your I-901 SEVIS Fee payment at your visa interview. You can pay the SEVIS fee online using Form I-901. The current fee is $350 for F-1 visa applicants and $220 for J-1 visa applicants (fees updated June 24, 2019). Remember to print and keep the receipt as proof that you paid this fee. If you do not pay this fee in a timely manner, your SEVIS record may be terminated.
Be sure to factor visa wait times into your application process, as some locations can be very busy. You need to bring the documents listed below to your interview. You should also check with the embassy or consulate to determine if any additonal documents are required. Come prepared to your interview with:
- Visa application (DS-160) barcode page
- I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
- I-20 or DS-2019
- Valid Passport (valid for at least 6 months from the day you will begin classes at the U)
- Passport style photo which should be 5 X 5 cm (2 x 2 inches)
- Financial documents - you must prove the financial information on your I-20 is correct
- University of Utah acceptance letter from the admissions office
- Information on your degree program, and how you intend to use your degree when you return home
- Evidence of strong ties to your home country such as family, career, property, or educational obligations. Your visa may be denied if you can’t prove that you intend to return home after you finish studying in the U.S.
- At the consular officer’s discretion, you may also be asked for other information
Register for International Student Orientation & complete the Pre-Arrival Checklist
All new international students must complete the Pre-Arrival Checklist and register for one day of International Student Orientation. For instructions, visit the Register for Orientation tab.
Healthcare & Insurance
It is required that you have health insurance coverage during your entire stay in the U.S. As you may know, health care in the U.S. can be very expensive, and if you don’t have insurance, you may have to pay a lot of money if you get sick or injured. All international students on F and J visas will automatically be enrolled in the University of Utah Student Health Insurance Plan administered by United Healthcare.
If you already have a health insurance plan, you may be eligible to apply for a waiver. This waiver allows you to be excluded from the University’s health insurance plan if you already have insurance that is equivalent or better than the University’s insurance. You must apply for the waiver within a certain time period at the beginning of the semester. This requirement will not be waived automatically if you have existing insurance. Please be aware that most insurance plans purchased by students do not provide equivalent or better coverage, so we advise you to carefully review the coverage requirements before purchasing a non-University health insurance plan.
Vision and dental insurance is optional, but available. More information here.
Sponsored Students with valid financial support letters and proof of insurance purchased by their sponsor will be automatically waived from the University insurance plan. Utah Global and English Language Institute students’ health insurance is administered by their respective program offices. Please contact those offices with questions.
For a simple outline on insurance requirements, please see the Student Insurance Enrollment Flowchart.
You are required to submit documents that prove you have been immunized against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) diseases. If you have not been fully immunized yet, you can get your MMR vaccination shots at the Student Health Center on campus after you arrive. The cost for an MMR vaccination is usually covered by the University’s health insurance plan, which you are automatically enrolled in during your first semester (see section on insurance above).
If you have already been immunized, please submit your proof of immunizations before you arrive in the U.S. or as soon as possible after you arrive. Do this by clicking on the Patient Portal icon at www.studenthealth.utah.edu. Follow the directions carefully to create your account. Click on Immunization then enter your immunization dates. Then upload a scanned copy of your MMR immunization record on the Patient Portal on the Upload tab. Please call the Student Health Center at 801-581-6431 if you have difficulty creating an account.
You can show proof of immunity in ONE of the following ways:
- Two MMR vaccines given after you were one year of age and at least four weeks apart.
- Two separate dates for measles and mumps vaccine after your first birthday, (measles vaccines and mumps vaccines must be at least four weeks apart), and date of one rubella vaccine after your first birthday.
- Blood tests to show immunity to measles, mumps and rubella. (A copy of lab tests must be included).
- Documented dates of having had the disease, measles and mumps, and vaccination or blood test for rubella. (A copy of the blood test must be included and vaccination must be after your first birthday.)
Students who arrive on campus inadequately immunized will be given until the second Friday of their first semester to comply with this requirement. If you have not complied by this time, a hold will be placed on your University record until the requirement has been met. A “hold” means that you cannot register for classes or receive your transcripts until you complete the requirement.
You will also be subject to a Tuberculosis (TB) Risk Assessment. Please log in to your student health portal as explained above, select Forms, and complete the International Student TB Risk Assessment. You will then be contacted if you need to come into Student Health Center to complete further testing for this requirement.
For more information on the required health insurance and immunizations, contact the Student Health Center.
Again, healthcare costs in the U.S. can be very expensive, and some services may not be covered by your insurance. We recommend visiting with your doctors before you leave home to get any necessary prescriptions or procedures taken care of in advance. However, if you do need to visit the doctor while you are here, we have excellent medical facilities located conveniently on our campus.
Moving to a new country can be expensive. Luckily, Salt Lake City has a relatively low cost of living compared to other cities in the United States. A general estimate for the cost of tuition and living expenses can be found here.
Check the exchange rate between your country’s currency and the U.S. dollar to get an idea of how much money you may need.
It is a good idea to alert your bank in advance that you will be moving to Utah. Ask if there are any steps you need to take so that you can use your credit cards and access your accounts at all times. Some students have issues accessing their money from a foreign bank during their first few days in the U.S. It is best to inform your bank in advance to try to avoid this delay.
Scholarships can help decrease your expenses, and you can find a list of current U of U scholarships here. Please read through the qualifications carefully to make sure that you are eligible to apply as an international student. You can also search for private scholarships, but be careful to avoid scams that want to steal your money or information. If the scholarship sounds too good to be true or asks you for money, it may be a scam!
Register for classes
You can register for classes before you attend orientation. In fact, you are encouraged to, as some classes can fill up before the semester begins. You will be assigned an enrollment appointment, which is the day and time you can begin to register for classes. To view your assigned enrollment appointment:
- Log in to the Campus Information Services
- Select the Registration tile on your Student Homepage
- Select the View Your Registration Dates
For a detailed tutorial on finding your registration dates, click here.
The Schedule Builder tool can help you easily create a class schedule that fits your academic plan and availability. Access the Schedule Builder and tutorial here.
The Academic Advising Center is a great resource for navigating your academic journey at the U. Based on your class status, you may be required to meet with an academic advisor as part of the Mandatory Advising Program (MAP). You should meet regularly with an academic advisor for information on required general education courses, choosing a major or minor, and graduation requirements. At International Student Orientation, you will receive assistance registering for classes, if you haven’t already done so.
Your academic department may have a specific course plan that you need to follow. Contact your academic department directly for assistance in choosing your classes.
Set up your FERPA PIN
Student records at The University of Utah are governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and its implementing regulations. This means that your personal and acadmic information will only be given to you in person, unless you set up a PIN that gives access to a 3rd party. You must authorize the University of Utah to release your information to any 3rd party, such as a spouse, parent, or even yourself via the telephone or email. We cannot release your information to anyone else unless you tell us who is authorized to receive your information and you give that person access to your PIN. Also, if you call or email our office requesting your own information, we can only provide it if you give us the PIN you set up to prove that you are actually you and not someone pretending to be you!
To authorize a Release of Information and set up a FERPA PIN:
- Go to your CIS page http://cis.utah.edu
- Click on the icon at the top of the page with your name and uNID
- Click on the FERPA Consent to Release Form link on the left menu. It will be the second choice from the bottom.
- Read the Release Form.
- Select which campus departments you approve to release your information.
- Create a PIN to verify access.
- Create list of names and email addresses to which University agencies are authorized to share information.
Give your PIN to the individuals you've authorized to view your records. Your listed authorized individuals will need to provide an official government-issued ID, such as a valid driver's license or passport, your name, your uNID, and PIN to verify that you have authorized the University of Utah to release your records to them.
Selecting a phone plan may require some research. Some students choose to keep their current phone and purchase a SIM card that allows their phone to work in the U.S. Others choose to purchase a whole new phone after they arrive in the U.S. Check with other students and colleagues, particularly those from your home country, or post a question on the International Student Council Facebook page. At International Student Orientation, you will have the opportunity to meet with a cell phone service provider representative who can answer questions about cell phone plans in the U.S.
You can choose to live in an on-campus dormitory or in an off-campus apartment/house. Please visit our Housing page for information on these options. Our office does not arrange housing for international students.
What to pack
Carry all your important documents (I-20, passport, etc.), medications, toiletries, valuable items, and few extra pieces of clothing in your carry-on bag, just in case your checked luggage gets lost. It can sometimes take a couple of days to locate lost luggage, so it’s good to be prepared! To find out what items are allowed in a carry-on bag, contact the airline you intend to use or visit the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) website.
Salt Lake City experiences a variety of weather and temperatures throughout the year, from 20°F (-7°C) in the winter to 100°F (38°C) in the summer. In the summer, you will be OK with T-shirts, shorts, and sandals. Fall and spring can have a mixture of both warm and cold weather, so it is good to have a light jacket and sneakers or other closed-toe footwear. For the snowy winter you will need a heavy coat, warm boots, gloves, a hat, and other protective items. If you don’t have these items already, there are plenty of stores where you can purchase winter clothing after you arrive.
Also, keep in mind that Salt Lake City is an outdoor adventure destination! We are famous for our world-class mountain resorts and national parks that offer skiing, snowboarding, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, river rafting, and much more. If you have any active clothing or gear that you want to bring with you, we encourage you to do so. If not, you can still try all of these activities by renting or purchasing items at one of the many outdoor retailers in Utah, including our Campus Recreation rental shop.
You may also want to bring some traditional dress or items from your country for special occasions, such as our annual International Night.
Plan on buying most of your household items (small electrical appliances, bed sheets and towels, cooking and eating supplies) after you arrive. Walmart and Target are large stores where you can find anything you need, and you can access them easily on the TRAX light rail or bus. You can also find many used items for very cheap prices at thrift stores, such as Deseret Industries and Savers.
To help with feelings of homesickness, you may want to bring small items, foods, or photographs that remind you of home.
As stated in the Healthcare & Insurance section, be sure to bring your filled prescriptions, inhalers, and other necessary healthcare items with you.
Register for Orientation & Complete the Pre-Arrival Checklist
You must register for orientation by the deadline to be guaranteed a spot on the day of your choice.
- You will receive an email a few months before orientation with your University of Utah student ID number (uNID) and a Limited Access PIN. Have these two numbers accessible before you begin the registration process. If you are concerned that you have not received this email yet, please check your spam/junk mail. If you still cannot find the email, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Go to the iStart website
- Click on the Limited Services link in the Limited Services for Students & Scholars box.
- Input your University ID number, Date of Birth, and Limited Access PIN. Then select Login.
- Next, you will see a menu on the left side of the page. Select Session Sign-ups and then International Student Orientation.
- Choose an available date on the calendar. Make note of the date so that you remember it, then select Sign up.
- You will receive an email a few months before orientation with your University of Utah student ID number (uNID) and a Limited Access PIN. Have these two numbers accessible before you begin the checklist process. If you are concerned that you have not received this email yet, please contact us at email@example.com
- Go to the iStart website
- Click on the Limited Services link in the Limited Services for Students & Scholars box.
- Next, you will see a menu on the left side of the page. Select Pre-Arrival and then Orientation and Pre-Arrival.
Complete each item on the checklist and upload all necessary documents. Uploading the documents in advance will save you time at orientation.
At the Airport
Traveling to a new country can be stressful, especially when you don’t know what to expect at the border. Read through these guidelines for a smooth arrival process.
You cannot enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. When you arrive in the United States, you will have to pass through passport control and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The security at the U.S. border might be more strict than what you're used to. When you reach the border checkpoint in the airport, you should have the following items in your hand:
- Passport (valid for at least six months following your date of travel)
- I-20 or DS-2019
- I-901 SEVIS Fee Receipt
- Document with proof of funds to cover your education
- University of Utah admissions letter (printed)
An immigration officer may ask you some questions questions about what you will be doing in the U.S., where you will be living, how long you plan to stay, what you plan to do upon return to your home country and more.
Border patrol agents may ask to search your phone or electronic devices. This does not necessarily mean that you are in trouble. Stay calm and follow the agent's instructions. Sometimes they take extra time to search the devices, and you could be taken to a separate room while they search your electronics or ask you additional questions. These types of searches happen to U.S. citizens and international visitors, so there is no reason to panic. Just be patient, polite, and answer the agent's questions to the best of your ability.
If you are arriving with more than $10,000 USD in cash, traveler's checks or foreign currency, you must declare that on your U.S. customs declaration form, which you will receive either in the plane or in the airport after arriving (at some airports, the form can be submitted electronically at a kiosk). You will not have to pay import taxes or fees if you declare the money, but if you do not declare it and it is found upon inspection, U.S. Customs and Border Control can seize the money, so it is important to be honest when you declare your items.
It is your responsibility to arrange transportation from the airport. There are multiple ways to get from the airport to the University or another destination of your choice, including:
- Utah Taxi Cab: 801-682-2683
- Yellow Cab Utah: 801-521-2100
- Shuttle Bus
- Express Shuttle: 801-596-1600
- Super Shuttle: 800-258-3826
- Uber or Lyft (these services are not approved by the University
- TRAX Green Line public train begins at the airport. You will need to transfer to the Red Line Trax train to get to the University. One-way fare for the bus and train is $2.50. You must have exact change in American currency, as the operators do not carry change. See the TRAX map here.
- Rental car
- Friend or family member picks you up at the Passenger Pick Up area
If you would like to drive a car while in Utah, please review these guidelines about obtaining a driver’s license. Your SEVIS record must be activated before you can apply for a driver’s license. Your SEVIS record will be activated within the first two weeks of the semester. Please note that your SEVIS record cannot be activated until you have arrived in the U.S. and have completed document check-in process as part of orientation. To check if your SEVIS record has been activated or to request that it be activated early, you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond as soon as possible.
As a University of Utah student, you can use the UTA public transportation for no charge! Your student ID card (UCard) will be automatically activated during your first semester to allow you to easily use public transportation. To use the “tap on/tap off” system, simply hold your UCard on a card reader (pictured left) both when you begin AND end your journey. The card reader should make a chime sound and show a green light to indicate that your card is approved. “Tap on” when you board, “tap off” when you arrive at your destination.
It usually takes a day or two for your UCard to activate after you pick it up from the UCard office. If you “tap on” and it doesn’t work, you can tell the bus driver or train security guard that you just got your UCard and it hasn’t been activated yet. If it still doesn’t work after a couple of days, contact the UCard office. Remember to always tap your UCard before boarding UTA public transportation, as you can receive a fine if you do not.
You can get textbooks, discounted Apple tech products, and many other materials at the Campus Store.
Plan on buying most of your household items (small electrical appliances, bed sheets and towels, cooking and eating supplies) after you arrive. Walmart and Target are large stores where you can find anything you need, and you can access them easily on the TRAX light rail or bus.
Popular grocery stores near campus
Some international grocery stores and markets – recommended by international students!
All new international students are required to attend International Student Orientation during their first semester. Find the upcoming orientation dates on the Dates and Schedule tab.
Get your Ucard
Your Ucard is your student identification card. You can use your Ucard to access UTA public transportation, rent library materials, enter campus events, receive student discounts, and more. We recommend visiting the Ucard office after you register for classes, as this is how the Ucard office verifies that you are an actual student at the U. If you go to the Ucard office before you register for any classes, you may not be able to receive your Ucard until you do so.
It is free to get your first Ucard, but you will have to pay a replacement fee if you lose or damage it. You can get your photo taken at the Ucard office, or you can upload your photo in advance. You will have to show another form of photo ID (like your passport) when you go to pick up your Ucard.
We will talk about American classroom expectations and culture shock during orientation. It may take some time to adjust when you first arrive, and your first semester may be particularly challenging. That’s normal! As time goes on, you will become familiar with American culture, your English language skills will improve, and you will make friends. If after your first semester you are still struggling to adjust, please make an appointment with an ISSS advisor. They can tell you about additional resources and opportunities to help you feel supported, such as the University Counseling Centerand Student Success Advocates.
We encourage you to connect with other international students who have gone through, or are still going through, a similar cultural adjustment. The International Student Council and the International Student Ambassadors host several activities throughout the year that can help you meet friends from all over the world.
Tuition & Fees
International Students may pay their tuition, fees, and housing payments using Flywire. This is a simple, online payment option that helps you save money on bank fees and unfavorable exchange rates. Please pay attention to the Tuition Payment Deadlines. If you do not pay your tution by the deadline each semester, your classes will be dropped. Payment for any classes registered for after the tuition due date is due immediately. Unfortunately, international students are not eligible for federal financial aid (FAFSA).
For other important deadlines, including the last day to add and drop classes without a penalty, see the Academic Calendar.
This is not a comprehensive list of all the fees you may be required to pay. Look closely at your class schedule to see if there are any fees associated with the classes you selected. Graduate students may find fees associated with their academic program here. Scroll down on the page to find your program, and then select the option for Nonresident – Detailed Tuition & Fee Schedule. You should also contact your department directly to ask about any fees.
Other fees to be aware of:
- International Student Fee: $150 each semester
- Matriculation Fee: $125 one-time charge
- Student Success Fee: $30 (for undergraduates only)
Health and Safety Resources
As stated on the Before You Leave Home page, all new international students have to comply with two health requirements:
- Submit documents that prove you have received immunization shots for measles, mumps, and rubella diseases (MMR)
- Take a tuberculosis test if it is required, based on your country
- Salt Lake City is at a high altitude, and the climate is very dry. Be sure to drink lots of water to avoid headaches as you adjust to your new surroundings.
- It is exciting to start school in new country, but many students experience culture
shock within their first few months in the U.S. You may feel lonely, overwhelmed,
depressed, anxious, or a combination of these emotions. To help you adjust, we recommend
- Attend social events on campus. For students starting in the fall semester, download the U of U app to learn about Welcome Week activities. The Union Programming Council also provides many fun events throughout the year where you can meet new friends.
- Connect with other international students who may have experienced, or are still experiencing, culture shock. Join the International Student Council Facebook group to see all of the upcoming activities for international students during the semester.
- Practice self-care. Eat healthy foods, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and know your body’s limits. Studying is important, but be sure to take some time to do things that are relaxing and enjoyable to you.
We recommend becoming familiar with the following safety resources:
- ISSS Emergencies webpage: Information on what to do in case of a medical emergency, how to maintain your visa status if you suddenly need to go back home, and more.
- U Heads Up! app: This app provides a campus emergency response guide that you can reference in case of an emergency. If you see something unsafe happening on campus, you can send a photo and comment to the campus police. You will also receive notifications from our Campus Alert system if a safety emergency occurs on campus.
- SafeUT app: If you or someone you know is struggling with emotional crises, bullying, relationship problems, mental health, or suicide-related issues, this app can help you know what to do. You can anonymously submit your concerns through the app, and the licensed clinicians receiving your messages will respond to you. You can submit information about yourself or someone near you that you may be worried about, like a friend or roommate. We highly recommend downloading this app onto your phone. It is free and the information you submit will not be shared with anyone, except in emergency cases where an “active rescue” is necessary.
- Campus Police Safety Escorts: If you are on campus at night or early morning when it is dark, please take advantage of this service. A uniformed police officer will meet you anywhere on campus and escort you (either on foot or in a vehicle) to your dorm, car, or buildings on campus. This service is free and available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Call 801-581-2677 to request a safety escort.
Your New Campus
The University of Utah provides two campus wireless networks: UConnect and UGuest. UConnect is recommended for all students, faculty, and staff to use. UGuest is for temporary visitors to campus, but you can also use it as a student if UConnect isn’t working. You may also be able to connect to the eduroam network with your student login information from another university.
Get to know your new campus! The University of Utah spans nearly 1,800 acres (7.3 sq kilometers) and contains many buildings. You will become familiar with campus soon enough, but here are a few important buildings you should know right away:
- The Union: Food court, student events and activities, and an ISSS office in room 410
- Building 124: You may have immigration advising appointments with ISSS in this building
- Campus Store: Textbooks, University of Utah clothing and gear, school supplies, Apple tech products, Starbucks and other snacks
- Marriott Library: Study spaces, books and materials, computer labs
- Student Services Building: Tuition Office, International Admissions Office, Academic Advising Center, University Counseling Center, Testing Center, Office of the Registrar
All international students with an F-1 or J-1 student visa are required by federal law and University of Utah policy to report to the University upon arrival to the U.S. In order to comply with these regulations, University policy dictates that any student who does not complete the orientation requirements (attending one full day of International Student Orientation AND completing the Orientation Check-In e-form) will receive a hold on their University record, which will prevent the student from registering for classes and receiving their transcripts.
If a student fails to attend Orientation, they are at minimum required to submit the Orientation Check-In e-form to ISSS to fulfill the regulatory reporting requirements for their student visa. If the Orientation Check-In e-form is not completed within the first few weeks of the student's first semester, their visa may be terminated. It is important to note that even when the student completes the Orientation Check-In e-form, will still receive a hold on their record for not attending the in-person orientation session. Failure to fulfill either or both of these requirements is very serious, and deficiency of either one will result in the termination of the student's visa.
Students who do not complete the in-person orientation requirement receive a hold that will not be released until they attend the next available session of International Student Orientation. These sessions only take place on certain days the week before the official start date of spring, summer, and fall semesters.
An exception to this policy may be considered only in cases involving unusual or extenuating circumstances that would normally not be faced by other students. Students may petition that their orientation hold be temporarily removed for class registration purposes. In order for the petition to be considered, students must successfully prove that at least one of the following three cases applies to them:
- The student was unable to complete the orientation requirements due to a University of Utah or affiliate department error. The department in question must provide a letter explaining how their action or lack of action prevented the student from completing the orientation requirements. ISSS will contact the department in question to confirm that the information given by the student is complete and accurate.
- An urgent and unexpected emergency occurred which prevented the student from attending any of the offered orientation dates or completing the other orientation requirements. Emergencies must be related to the student's health, family, or travel situation. Verifying documentation of the emergency may be requested.
- Not having the hold temporarily removed will prevent the student from graduating with a University of Utah degree (Bachelor's, Master's, or PhD) during their planned last semester. Requests will only be considered if a student is attempting to register for their last semester before graduation, and can prove that they will not be able to graduate if they aren't able to register for a particular class(es) before they can complete the orientation requirements.
The STUDENT must verify on the form:
- They have submitted a Last Semester Notification e-form through iStart
- They have spoken with their academic advisor about this issue and cleared any additional registration holds
A Second Approver Form from the student's ACADEMIC ADVISOR is required to show:
- The student is attempting to register for their last semester before graduation
- The department cannot hold a spot for the student in the required class(es) they need to graduate
- By the time the student attends the next available orientation date and the hold is removed, it will be too late for the student to enroll in the required class(es)
- The student's graduation will be delayed as a result of not being able to enroll in the required class(es) before the hold is removed
If the student is able to provide adequate proof for one of the three cases listed above, the petition will be reviewed by ISSS. The student will be notified of a decision within three business days (not including University or office closure days) after the complete and accurate submission of this form. The student will receive an email to their UMail account notifying them of the decision.
If the petition is approved, the orientation hold will be released for one week (7 calendar days), starting at the time the student was notified of approval. There will be no extension or repetition of this 7-day period for any reason. Students will also be notified when the hold is placed back on their record.
It is strongly recommended that the student has met with their academic advisor and cleared any other registration holds before submitting this petition. Students should be prepared to immediately register for classes in the case that their petition is approved. The 7-day temporary release period will not be extended or repeated for any reason.
Students must be sure their class schedule meets the full-time study requirements for their visa, as required by the U.S. government and outlined in the Full Course of Study for F-1 Students policy and the Online Classes policy. If after they successfully register, a student drops enough credits to put them below the full-time study requirement, this may result in the termination of their visa.
A student may be granted a temporary hold removal only once during their time at the University of Utah.
If the petition is denied, the student will be notified. In most cases, the student will not be permitted to re-submit the petition.
Any questions regarding this policy may be directed to email@example.com
What is International Student Orientation, and who needs to attend it?
Orientation will teach you helpful information about immigration rules and campus resources, and it will also give you the opportunity to meet a lot of other new international students. For a detailed schedule of events, please visit our Dates & Schedules page. Keep in mind that every section of the orientation schedule is mandatory, and partial attendance will not satisfy the requirement.
The International Student Orientation is mandatory for all international students studying with an F-1 or J-1 student visa. This includes international freshman, returning students, transfer students, graduate students, Learning Abroad exchange students, and students returning to school after OPT or STEM OPT. Other campus orientations (New Student Orientation, Transfer Orientation, orientation by your academic department, etc.) will NOT satisfy the requirement to attend International Student Orientation. If you are unsure if this requirement applies to you, please see the answers below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
International Student Orientation is currently a free program provided by the International Student & Scholar Services office. If you have accidentally paid for the New Student Orientation for domestic students or another orientation on campus, please contact that office directly to request a refund.
Only students studying with an F-1 or J-1 student visa need to attend International Student Orientation. However, you may be required to attend a different orientation on campus. Please contact the Office of Orientation and Transition or your department advisor for more information. Exchange visitors with a J-1 visa have the option to attend a specific J-1 scholar orientation.
Maybe. Please send us an email so that we can confirm your specific situation. You may need to repeat orientation if:
- You have been unenrolled at the University of Utah for three consecutive semesters or more
- You have been on OPT or STEM OPT and are returning to take classes after three semesters or more
- Other various reasons
We require students to repeat orientation in certain cases because immigration laws and policies change frequently, and we want all students to have the most current information on how to maintain their visa status. If you have been enrolled at the University of Utah within the last three semesters, you don’t need to attend the physical orientation session, but you will still need to complete the Orientation Check-In e-form so that we can collect your most recent immigration documents and information. If this applies to you, we will email you instructions on how to complete this e-form.
A “sponsored student” is a student who has received a specific scholarship from their home government or another outside organization to study at the University of Utah. Sponsored students must complete the Interntational Student Orientation requirements. During the check-in process, you will be connected with the Sponsored Student Coordinator, who will be a great resource for you during your studies here. The ISSS office provides many different services to assist sponsored students. For more information about the Sponsored Student Program, please click here.
Yes, exchange students coming to the University of Utah for one or two semesters through the Learning Abroad program must attend the ISSS International Student Orientation, in addition to Learning Abroad’s new student orientation. You will attend two orientations so that you will be extra prepared for your studies at the U! For further questions, please contact your Learning Abroad advisor at email@example.com.
International Student Orientation Policies
We will host additional make-up orientation sessions for students who are unable to attend the regular orientation dates due to unavoidable circumstances. Make-up orientations occur only on specified dates and times during the first few weeks of the semester. Space is limited in these sessions, so you must register in advance. Make-up orientation registration usually opens after the regular registration closes. You will receive an email when the registration for make-up orientation opens, along with the available dates and times.
If you do not attend any of the orientation sessions, you will receive a hold on your University record. A “hold” prevents you from doing some things because you did not meet a certain requirement. The orientation hold will prevent you from registering for classes and receiving your transcripts. To remove the hold, you must attend the next available orientation date (which may be at the beginning of the next semester) and complete the Orientation Check-In e-form in a timely manner. Please try your best to make arrangements to attend orientation so that you do not get a hold. If you have an unavoidable conflict or if an emergency situation occurs that prevents you from attending orientation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible so we can help you find a solution.
To show respect to the other students and guest presenters, students will not be permitted to enter orientation after the check-in period has ended. This is also because the information we discuss at orientation is very important, and we don’t want any students to receive only partial information by joining the session late. If you do arrive late, you will be expected to attend a complete session of orientation on another day. No exeptions will be made. Please arrive early, and allow yourself extra time to travel in case of traffic issues, public transportation delays, bad weather, parking your car, getting lost, etc. These excuses will not be accepted, and will not permit you to enter late.
Registering for Orientation with iStart
You may not have a Limited Access PIN yet, or you may be entering your login information incorrectly. Be sure to include the “u” at the beginning of your student ID number and enter your birthdate correctly. If you continue to have trouble logging in, please email email@example.com with a detailed description of the problem and a screenshot or photo of the login page.
You must have a Limited Access PIN in order to log into iStart and register for orientation. Limited Access PINs are emailed to all new international students approximately 2-3 months prior to orientation. Please check both your personal email account and your Umail account, as well as the junk/spam folders in each account. If you are concerned that you have not received your PIN yet, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can still try to attend orientation even if you missed the registration deadline. A waiting list is created each day of orientation for those students who did not register in advance. Please arrive at the beginning of the daily check-in period to put your name on the waiting list. At the end of the check-in period, we will inform you if there is space for you to attend orientation that day. Keep in mind that it is NOT guaranteed that there will be a space available for you. If you aren’t able to attend any of the regular orientation days, you may still be able to register for a make-up orientation. Please see the Register for Orientation & Complete the Pre-Arrival Checklist page for instructions on how to do so.
Yes. Log into iStart Limited Services, then select the orientation date you registered for under the Session Sign Ups. You will then see an option to cancel your registration for that date. If there is still space available on another date, you may register for it just as you did when you registered the first time.
What should I bring, and where do I go?
You must bring the most current original versions of the following documents with you to orientation: passport, visa, I-20 or DS-2019, and a copy of your I-94. Please do not bring photocopies of your passport, visa, or I-20/DS-2019. A printed copy or screenshot of your I-94 is acceptable. We can also help you retrieve your electronic I-94 during orientation if you do not have the opportunity to print it beforehand. Please also remember to bring your address to orientation – the address for the apartment, house, or hotel where you will be sleeping that night.
Orientation will take place in the A. Ray Olpin University Union, commonly called the Union, on the University of Utah campus. The Union is accessible by car, campus shuttle, bus, and TRAX light rail system. The parking lot is located directly to the east of the Union, and the fee is $2.00 per hour. You may purchase your desired parking time from a grey kiosk in the parking lot using your license plate
number and credit card. Find more information and a parking payment tutorial here. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide parking validation or reimbursement for students during orientation.
We are happy to welcome family members to attend orientation with their student. However, due to space limitations, we can only allow a limited number of guests to attend. If you would like your family member(s) to join you at orientation, please let us know in advance so we can make the appropriate arrangements. Guests will have a specific seating at the back of the room to observe, but will not be permitted to sit at the table with their student. Friends or non-family guests may attend orientation only if there is space and with advance approval from the Orientation Coordinator. If you have dependents on an F-2 or J-2 visa, they are not required to attend this orientation.
You may register for classes as soon as the open enrollment period begins. This means that you can register for classes before you attend orientation! For enrollment dates and information, please contact the Office of the Registrar. If you are an undergraduate student, you may contact an academic advisor to learn about class options and the registration process. If you are a graduate student, you may contact your department advisor for registration assistance.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the system that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain your offical immigration record. As a new student, your SEVIS record should be active within the first few weeks of your first semester at the University of Utah.
Your SEVIS record will be activated only after you:
- Pay the I-901 fee (before you enter U.S.)
- Physically attend one full session of International Student Orientation (after you arrive in U.S.)
- Submit a complete Orientation Check-In e-form (you will do this during orientation)
If you fail to meet these requirements and your SEVIS record is not activated in a timely manner, your record may terminated and you may start accruing unlawful presence in the U.S. You will receive several emails reminding you to do these things, so be sure to check your email frequently!
Your SEVIS record must be activated before you can receive these documents. To check if your SEVIS record has been activated or to request that it be activated, you may email us at email@example.com
Early work authorization (EWA) is only for new F-1 students who need to start working at their on-campus job before the start of the semester. With ISSS office approval, new students may begin working in these positions as soon as 30 days before the official first day of class. The request for an Early Work Authorization approval letter can only be done after arriving in the U.S., since information from your required I-94 document is only available after passing through U.S. Customs at the airport. Without your I-94 information, your request will be denied. International students on an F-1 visa who would like to request EWA must complete an electronic form (e-form) through iStart and upload all requested documents.
Your SEVIS record must be activated before you can receive a Social Security Number. Once this has been done, you should follow the steps listed on this document. After you have completed the application and prepared the appropriate documents, you may go to the Social Security Office in downtown Salt Lake City to submit your application for a Social Security Number.
This can sometimes happen with transfer students who have not received their new I-20 from the admissions office. If you can’t bring your I-20 to orientation for this reason, you must complete the Orientation Check-In e-form on your own and upload a scanned copy of your I-20 as soon as you receive it. Uploading your I-20 is part of the orientation requirements you must complete to avoid getting a hold placed on your account. Please see these instructions on how to access the Orientation Check-In e-form.
If you are an undergraduate student, the best way to know if you should take a writing placement exam is to check with the Academic Advising Center and/or the Linguistics Department. Some classes require a placement exam score or other requirements in order to register. For information on the math placement test, please contact a math department advisor. If you are a graduate student, contact your department advisor for information on any prerequisites or exam scores that may be needed for your program.
You are always welcome and encouraged to meet with an ISSS advisor to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have, especially regarding immigration. Our trained advisors are here to help guide you through complicated policies and procedures so that you can have all the information you need to maintain your visa status. To make an appointment to speak with an advisor, please contact the ISSS office at 801-581-8876 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I be part of orientation as a current U of U student/staff or outside party?
The International Student Ambassadors play a big role in the life of a new international student by leading them through orientation, sharing resources and advice, and acting as their first guide to campus life. Current students, both international and domestic, may find more information and apply for the International Student Ambassador scholarship program here.
We love connecting new students with resources that will help them adjust to life at the U and in Salt Lake City. The Information Fair during orientation is a tabling event that allows groups to network with new students, and provide them with helpful information. On-campus departments may participate in the Information Fair at no cost. Outside businesses and other organizations may be subject to a vendor fee, which includes sponsorship recognition on various orientation materials. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to apply to be a vendor at the Information Fair, please email the ISSS Orientation Coordinator at email@example.com.
If you have questions about orientation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org