Pre-Arrival Information for Degree-Seeking International Students
Congratulations on your acceptance to UNCW! The Office of International Programs is here to help you with your F-1 student visa paperwork. If you've already completed the F-1 visa paperwork, see the Student Life section!
What is your international student visa status?
Choose the statement below that best describes your international student status.
- I need to TRANSFER my F-1 sponsorship to UNCW from my current U.S. university or institution.
- I need UNCW's F-1 visa sponsorship in order to study at UNCW.
- I want to CHANGE to UNCW's F-1 student sponsorship from another U.S. visa classification (e.g., H4, L2).
- I DO NOT NEED UNCW's F1 sponsorship since I have a visa status that allows me to study in the U.S. (e.g., U.S. permanent resident, H4, L2, TD, etc.).
If you are currently attending another institution in the United States as an F-1 student, you will need to transfer your F-1 status sponsorship in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) from your current school to UNCW to remain in lawful F-1 status. Students must obtain the new I-20 from UNCW before they commence studies at UNCW to remain in lawful F-1 status.
- Complete the Request to Transfer to UNCW form with your home university international student advisor; submit it to the UNCW Office of International Programs.
- Your home university international student advisor must transfer your F-1 SEVIS record from your current school to UNCW.
- Submit the completed International Student Data Form to the UNCW Office of International Programs.
- Submit proof of financial support to the UNCW Office of International Programs. Proof of financial support (bank statement or letter in English, no older than six months) must show that you have access to the amount listed below. If the funds are not in the student's name, the financial sponsor must also provide a letter that indicates he/she will sponsor the student. (Sample letter here.)
How Much Financial Support Must I Show?
If you need UNCW's F-1 visa sponsorship to study at UNCW, follow the steps below.
- Submit supporting documentation
- Receive I-20
- Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee
- Apply for Visa (excluding Canadian citizens)
- Enter the U.S.
- Check in with the Office of International Programs
Return the following documents to the UNCW Office of International Programs.
- International Student Data Form.
- Proof of financial support (bank statement or letter in English, no older than six months) showing that you have access to the amount listed below. If the funds are not in the student's name, the financial sponsor must also provide a letter that indicates he/she will sponsor the student. (Sample letter here.)
How Much Financial Support Must I Show?
Once you submit both the International Student Data Form and proof of financial support, an I-20 will be issued for you. The UNCW Office of International Programs will mail this I-20 to you so that you can begin the next steps: pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee (everyone), apply for an F-1 visa stamp (everyone except citizens of Canada), enter the U.S., and check-in with the Office of International Programs.
All students must complete U.S. government form I-901 and pay the fee associated with this application. You must show your I-901 receipt when you apply for your visa and when you enter the U.S. Information on the I-901 SEVIS Fee can be found here.
All students, except citizens of Canada, must apply for an F-1 visa stamp at the U.S. embassy outside of the U.S. if they do not already have a valid F-1 visa stamp in their passport.
- Apply for Visa - Apply for visa using the online form DS-160
- Schedule Visa Appointment - For specific instructions, use the U.S Embassy or Consulate website where you will be interviewed.
You may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days prior to the start date of your academic program, as listed in field #5 on the I-20. When you arrive in the U.S., the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staff will ask to see your passport, F-1 visa stamp (for everyone except citizens of Canada), I-20 form, proof of I-901 SEVIS fee payment, and financial documentation. The CBP officer will inspect your documents and then return them to you.
All students in F-1 status must attend a mandatory check-in at the Office of International Programs (Friday Annex) within one week of their arrival in Wilmington. This is a requirement of the Department of Homeland Security, thus failure to check in may jeopardize one's ability to remain legally in the U.S.
For check-in, please bring your passport and I-20 to the Office of International Programs. During this check-in, we will provide information on the various Welcome Events & Activities we have planned for you.
If you are currently in the U.S. in another visa classification (e.g., H4, L2) and want to change your status to that of F-1 student, you will need to speak with staff in the UNCW Office of International Programs about this process. Please call 910-962-3685 to make an appointment with an adviser. Please note that this process can take three to four months, so please contact us as early as possible.
If you do not require UNCW's F-1 visa sponsorship, then you do not have to submit anything to the Office of International Programs. We hope you have a great time at UNCW!