Before You Arrive
Accepted? Here's What Comes Next
We are so excited you've decided to join the DU community. International Student & Scholar Services is here for you as you prepare to move to Denver and begin your international education. On this page, you can explore checklists, resources, and tips for a smooth transition.
Before You Leave
Visit the International Students' Webpage
Well in advance of your departure, you'll want to spend some time exploring the international students' website. We offer a variety of information regarding what it's like to live in Denver and attend DU, which you may find useful as you prepare and pack for your trip.
Pay the SEVIS Fee
All F-1 and J-1 applicants are required to pay the SEVIS fee. The SEVIS fee is used to operate and maintain the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.
Make appointment for US visa
Make an appointment at a U.S. consular office or embassy to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa.
Citizens of Canada are exempt from this requirement. Citizens of Bermuda are typically exempt (see details).
Request copies of your immunization records
You'll need to prove that you've received the required vaccinations and immunizations in order to attend DU.
Speak to your doctor
You need to ensure that you have treatment set up for any conditions that will require management while you are in the U.S. Speak to your doctor to make a plan.
There is a range of housing options in Denver. Whether you're going to be living on campus or securing housing elsewhere, you need to ensure your living situation is confirmed before you leave your home country.
Book Airline Ticket to the U.S.
The Denver International Airport is the closest airport to DU. However, you can enter the U.S. via any U.S. port of entry. Denver International Airport does not need to be your first stop in the U.S.
You must arrive in the United States no later than the program start date listed on your Form I-20 or DS-2019. We strongly recommend you arrive several days early so you can settle into Denver and attend International Student Orientation.
You may enter no more than 30 days before the program start date printed on the I-20 or DS-2019. On Form I-20 page 1, the Program of Study section lists the Earliest Admission Date.
NOTE: Students who have an I-20 with the Form Issuance Reasons of Transfer Pending or Change of Educational Level are not subject to the 30-day rule and will not have an Earliest Admission Date listed on the I-20.
Arrange Transportation From Airport
You'll need a ride from the airport to your housing when you get to Denver. Taxis, ride-shares, and public transportation are all viable options.
Travelling to Denver and Arrival
Keep Your Immigration Documents on Hand
Keep your immigration documents (passport, U.S. visa, I-20/DS-2019, SEVIS fee receipt) with you at all times while traveling. Do not place your documents in checked baggage or in any location other than personal belongings that you will keep on your person.
Officer Should Stamp Your Passport
The officer at the airport will review your passport, I-20/DS-2019, and stamp a page of your passport with the date of entry, F-1 or J-1, and D/S (duration of status).
Report Your Arrival
Report your arrival in the United States by updating your address and emergency contact in myWeb and bringing your immigration documents to our office to be scanned.
Print Your Electronic Admission Record
Print your electronic admission record, I-94, at www.cbp.gov/i94.
What to Pack
When you pack, make sure you have the following items in your carry-on baggage or personal items:
- All documents that you will present at the port of entry.
- Basic toiletries and any medications.
- Food or snacks to have until you can purchase them from a dining hall or grocery store
- A credit card that will work in the US, or around $250 USD in cash. This is to get you through the first few days until you can open a bank account.
- Note: ISSS does not recommend carrying large amounts of cash when traveling.
- Mailing Your Belongings to Denver
In addition to the items listed above, we recommend you also pack:
- Clothing appropriate for the season
- See Denver's weather webpage for information on expected temperatures.
- It is always a good idea to wear layers in Denver.
- Sunscreen (we have 300 days of sunshine!)
- Water bottle (Denver is a high-altitude city)
- Comfortable walking shoes
The University of Denver does not provide the following items. You may want to consider buying them after you arrive, or using a service like Pack & Hold to reserve them here in Denver:
- Bedding (sheets, blankets, pillows)
- Cleaning supplies
- Dishes & cooking supplies
- School supplies
- Television, microwave, extension cords, & other electronics
If you will be living on-campus, please review the What to Bring page from Housing & Residential Education.
Mailing Your Belongings
If you are shipping items to Denver, make arrangements with a local shipping or storage company, or a trusted acquaintance already in Denver. Be sure to use a reliable carrier service (such as FedEx, UPS or DHL) that will ensure proper customs clearance and allow you to track the shipment. You should also consider purchasing insurance protection for your package, in case it is lost or damaged during transit.
The International House is unable to store boxes or other items for students over the summer because we do not have sufficient locked storage in our building.
PakMail is a local shipping company located next to the DU campus. International students can mail packages to their business location and pick them up after arrival in Denver. You can contact PakMail directly for more details: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What to Expect on Arrival
To legally enter the United States, you must pass through a Port of Entry. Typically, this will be at the first airport you arrive at in the U.S.
At the Port of Entry, a Customs and Border Protection officer will review your documents to admit you to the United States. Below is an image of the stamp that will be placed in your passport.
Once you have been allowed entry into the United States, review your immigration documents. If you notice any errors, notify an immigration officer immediately. Once you leave the Port of Entry, it can be difficult to correct errors on your documents.
Important Note: With a new emphasis on screening at the Port of Entry, your electronic devices (phone, tablets, computers) may be searched and you may be asked sensitive questions.
Please refer to American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Know Your Rights. Please also reach out to ISSS with any questions.
Documents You'll Need
- Be prepared to present the following documents at the Port of Entry:
- U.S. visa (unless visa exempt)
- Original I-20 or DS-2019
- I-901 SEVIS fee receipt printout
- University of Denver admission letter
- Financial documentation used to obtain I-20 or DS-2019
- Customs Declaration Form (this will be issued to you on the airplane by a flight attendant)
It is very important that you keep these documents in a secure location while traveling, such as your personal or carry-on bag. Do not place any personal documents in your checked luggage.
Your I-94 Admission Record
You will be assigned an I-94 admission number by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) upon entrance into the United States. You can retrieve your I-94 number from the CBP website. Please print a copy to keep with your immigration documents.