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Checklist for International Students: Fall Semester in the US

3.25 minute read
"Are you an international student preparing to travel to the United States for the fall semester? Are you feeling unprepared for the move? Well, here you’ll find everything you need to know before moving to the US. There is a checklist of things you need to keep in mind before coming to the US."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jul 23, 2021
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Are you an international student preparing to travel to the United States for the fall semester? Are you feeling unprepared for the move? Well, here you’ll find everything you need to know before moving to the US. There is a checklist of things you need to keep in mind before coming to the US. 

How You Can Prepare for Moving to the US for Your International Study Experience 

Plan Your Funds and Expenses 

Before you apply for a US student visa, you need to make sure that you are financially sound enough to study in the US. International students are charged a premium tuition fee in US universities. Therefore, it is best to consider different scholarships and financial aid available before deciding to study abroad in the US. 

Gathering the Required Documents

Once you have determined that you are financially viable to move to the US, you need to gather all the required documents to apply for a student visa. You will require a letter of acceptance, also known as an enrollment letter from your preferred university, and a completed Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. Your student visa will take around 3 to 8 weeks to be processed. You will be required to attend an immigration interview carrying the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form
  • Application fee receipt
  • Photographs in a standardized size
  • Form I-20

Plan for Health Insurance and Accommodation 

The best time to plan for health insurance and accommodation is after completing your immigration interview. You can live either on-campus in dorms or try off-campus accommodations like private flats, etc when attending a college in the US. Initially, a majority of international students opt for student housing as it is an easy way to get integrated into the community and make friends. 

Living off-campus will require you to pay a security deposit upfront while also taking care of other expenses such as utilities, gas, water, etc. Health insurance is an essential part of studying abroad. 

Many US universities and colleges have specific rules regarding obtaining insurance. Therefore, it is best to check with your university to make sure you have all the relevant information to make an informed decision.

Setting Up Banking 

Moving to a new country means that you will be required to open a bank account to do most of your daily banking. As an international student, if you are receiving financial assistance, then it will be deposited in your bank account.

Therefore, you need to open a bank account in the US. However, it can prove difficult as requirements will be different for non-resident students in the US. You can ask your admissions officer or an international student office at your university for instructions regarding paying your tuition fees.

What Else Can International Students Do to Prepare for Their Move to the US?

The best thing international students can do before moving to the US is research about where they are going to be living in the US. It is best to find out more about your college campus, its residential area, and the neighborhood. This helps you find out essential services available closest to you, including supermarkets, clothing stores, public transportation stops, etc.

Apps like Venmo are popular in the US to track expenses between friends and to easily transfer money. It is best to save all your necessary documents in a Dropbox or Google Drive to avoid misplacement. It is also recommended that you have a list of any contacts who might help you settle down initially.

Many international students work part-time to support themselves during their study programs. If you have an F-1 Visa, then you are authorized to work on-campus for the first year of your study program. After that, you can take off-campus jobs through different options including Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT), and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

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