F-1 Degree-Seeking International Students: Planning Your Arrival at UNCW

Arrival Dates

International students are prohibited from entering the United States more than 30 days before the program start date identified on your I-20 immigration form. See the "Earliest Admission Date" under the Program of Study section on page 1 of your I-20.

Arriving in the United States at the Port of Entry

When you arrive in the U.S., the Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officer will ask to see your immigration documents. The CBP officer will inspect your documents and then return them to you.

It is important to keep your immigration documents with you as you travel. Do NOT check these with your baggage - if your baggage is lost, you will not have these items and you will not be able to enter the U.S.

Keep the following items with you as you travel:

  1. Your passport, valid at least six months into the future upon arrival, with a valid F-1 stamp
  2. Your valid form I-20
  3. Proof of financial support
  4. I-901 SEVIS Fee payment receipt

In addition, it is strongly recommended that you also travel with the following documentation in hand:

  • UNCW Acceptance Letter from the Admissions Office or the Graduate School
  • Name and contact information for UNCW OISS and your F-1 advisor
  • Address where you are living
    • If living on campus, the address is 601 S. College Rd. Wilmington, NC 28403.

For more information, visit the U.S. Department of State website and see the section on Entering the United States.

Transportation from ILM to UNCW

Please see the OISS Travel Information website for transportation options from ILM to UNCW. You can request a volunteer to pick you up by filling out the form located here.

Want to know what to expect and where to go when you arrive at ILM? Check out our video walk through of the ILM airport.

On-Campus Housing

On-campus housing will open on August 14th for the Fall 2021 semester.

Steps to Check-In

On your move-in day, you may go directly to your residence hall. Visit the Housing & Residence Life website to learn more about UNCW's move in procedures. Please email Housing@uncw.edu with questions about on-campus housing. See the UNCW Campus Map for directions to residence halls.

Housing staff will be available 24/7 (all day, every day) at your building check-in location after housing opens for the semester. Room keys are given when you check in with Housing.


Check-in locations


Where to Check-In

University Suites

Schwartz Hall

Seahawk Landing

Seahawk Landing Building 6 (Office)

Seahawk Village

Seahawk Village Clubhouse 

Seahawk Crossing

Seahawk Crossing Building 2

What to Pack

Check the UNCW Move-In page for a list of items you may want to bring with you. Be sure to bring plug adapters for your electronics.

Students living in on-campus housing can have items shipped to UNCW. However, packages are not delivered directly residence halls and students are responsible for transporting their packages from the UNCW Seahawk Mail Center, located in the Fisher University Union, to their on-campus housing. Please see the UNCW Seahawk Mail website for more information.

F-1 International Student Online Orientation

The International Student Orientation will be held on Monday, August 16th  You must register for the mandatory orientation by clicking here.

Upon arrival in the USA, you must complete the Immigration Check-In via Terra Dotta. 

Required OISS F-1 Immigration Check-In will include:

  • F-1 immigration regulations video
  • Submission of immigration documents (passport, visa stamp, I-94 record)