If you have already been accepted, please read the International Arrival Guide to answer many of your questions. Additionally, the International Student Checklists below will help you determine what you need to complete before arriving on campus. Select the checklist that is appropriate for your student type:
Applying for a Visa
Most foreign visitors are required to obtain a visa before entering the country and all students studying in the United States are required to have a visa.
Students and Scholars should view the Visa Application Process for more information.
Once you are admitted to Western New England University, the Admissions Office will issue you an initial I-20 or DS-2019 to use to apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas. Visas are usually issued up to 120 days before the program beginning date shown on the I-20 or DS-2019, but you cannot enter the United States more than 30 days before the reporting date.
When you are ready to apply for the visa, you must verify with the local consulate what procedures must be followed because documentation requirements and procedures may vary. In-person interviews are required. More information can be found on the Department of State’s websites here.
Generally, students are required to submit the following documents during their visa interview:
- Passport valid for travel to the United States - Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States.
- Non-immigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
- Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160.
- I-20: Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students – All students, their spouse and minor children if they intend to reside in the United States with the student, must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). Each person receives an individual Form I-20.
For more information, please see Study in the States for more information on applying for a visa.
International Student Orientation
We encourage all of our international students to attend SOAR if you are currently in the U.S. However, we realize this may not be possible so ISSS provides an orientation for all new international students. All international students are required to report to the university before classes begin to attend the International Student Orientation (ISO) and Document Check. ISO gives you essential information that assists in your success as a student at Western New England University. In addition to topics on U.S. culture, U.S. academic culture, a campus tour, a library tour, and social events, etc, we will also have sessions by other offices on campus that will help you in your journey. You also get the opportunity to meet other American students on campus that will serve as Peer Advisors. It is vital that you attend ISO. ISO is generally one week before classes begin.
You must also report to ISSS to comply with Document Check to ensure SEVIS compliance. You must bring your passport/visa and I-20/DS-2019 to Document Check so ISSS can verify everything is in order and your immigration status is not in jeopardy.
Participation in ISO is required.
- Undergraduate student orientation will be August 21 through August 27. Students should arrive no later than August 20. The schedule will be available soon.
- Graduate student orientation will be Thursday, September 21 (classes start on September 25). Students should arrive no later than September 20. The schedule will be available soon.
Curious about what to pack? See this list to guide you.
Airport pickup is available on designated dates, times, and at specific airports. Airport pickup is only possible from Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut.
ISSS will send out an Arrival Form to determine if we can pick you up from the airport. To take advantage of the university’s airport pickup service, return the form at least 3 weeks in advance of your arrival. Once the form is received, the staff will determine if they can pick you up from the airport.**
Instructions to get to the university from other airports are included in the International Arrival Guide.
**Even if you do not need airport pickup, please complete the form so the university is aware of your arrival date.
Paying Your Bill
Health Forms and Health Insurance
All new undergraduate students are required to complete the university’s health forms and have health insurance that complies with the university's requirements.
- All new undergraduate students should complete the Freshman or Transfer Student health form and return the form to Health Services at firstname.lastname@example.org BEFORE arriving on campus.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not consider coverage by insurance carriers outside of the United States or coverage by foreign National Health Service programs as comparable under a qualifying student health insurance program. All Western New England University undergraduate students are automatically enrolled in the university’s health insurance plan and the cost of the plan is applied to the student’s bill.
- Degree-seeking undergraduate students – if enrolled in over 9 credits, you must have insurance or waive the university’s policy with a comparable policy of your own.
- Exchange Students
- Full year students can purchase the university’s insurance or waive the university’s insurance if you have a U.S. based policy that is also comparable to the university's policy.
- One semester exchange students can purchase a specific university plan intended for one semester students or waive the university’s insurance if you have a U.S. based policy
- Graduate students – if enrolled in over 6 credits, you must have insurance or waive the university’s policy.
Student Health Insurance Plan Waiver
International students may be eligible to waive the Student Health Insurance Plan only if they have health insurance plans with American-based carriers which meet the Commonwealth of Massachusetts standards. Foreign-based policies do not meet Massachusetts standards.
Full year students starting in the Fall term waive their insurance by mid-September or be liable for the full charge. Students starting in the Spring term, must waive their insurance by late January for the charges to be removed. All returning students must waive their insurance each fall.
Massachusetts and Federal law requires all college students to show proof that they have health insurance coverage while they are attending a higher education institution in the Commonwealth. Even students who waive their insurance must show proof of comparable coverage.
U.S. Health Care System
The U.S. health care system is complex and very expensive. International students and scholars (and their dependent family members) must obtain adequate coverage while in the U.S. ISSS recommends that all students, scholars, and dependents have adequate health insurance coverage.
Please go here to learn more about the U.S. Health Care system.