IMBA Pre-Arrival Requirements & Resources 

Apply for the Form I-20

The form I-20 is an immigration document required for international students to apply for the F-1 visa and attend classes at UNCW in lawful F-1 status. The I-20 must be kept current at all times during your studies at UNCW.

In order for OISS to issue an I-20, U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations require students to provide proof of financial support to cover the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses.

The cost of attendance for the IMBA program is listed below.

2022-2023 Cost of Attendance in USD
Attending Classes at UNCW September 2022 - December 2022 September 2022 - July 2023  February - July 2023 February - December 2023
4 months-OPT ineligible 11 months 6 months-OPT ineligible 11 months
Tuition & Fees $8482.50 $18850 $10,367.50 $10,367.50
Housing $3426 $9422 $5139 $9422
Meals $1616 $4444 $2424 $4444
Personal $560 $1540 $840 $1540
StudentBlue Health Insurance $1309 $2618 $1309 $2618
Total $15,393.50 $36,874 $20,079.50 $28,391.50

Note: Students who do not complete their theses by the end of the second fall semester will be subject to a per semester fee until the thesis is completed. Please see the IMBA website for more details.


Documents Required to Receive Your I-20:

  1. Copy of Passport Biographical Page

  2. Proof of Financial Support. Documents submitted must meet these requirements:

    • Dated no older than 6 months

    • The total amount of funding (bank statements/letters, scholarships, graduate student funding, etc.) you provide must equal or exceed the cost of attendance listed above.

    • Bank statement or letter from your bank must be in English and must include:
      • account holder's name
      • funds/balance currently available
      • currency in which the funds are displayed on the document(s)
      • If a bank statement or letter is not in the student's name, a Sponsorship Letter, signed and dated by the account holder(s), is also required.
    • Scholarship Award Letter, if applicable.
    • If you have been awarded an assistantship or other financial support from the IMBA program, follow the instructions in the I-20 application to send the F-1 Graduate Student Funding form to your graduate department advisor to complete.

  3. Please click the Apply Now button below to begin the I-20 application. You must login with your UNCW account credentials (username without ""). Your UNCW account information is provided in your UNCW acceptance letter.

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Apply for the F-1 Visa

Receive the Form I-20 Immigration Document from OISS

Once you complete the online I-20 application, a UNCW form I-20 immigration document will be issued to you within one to two weeks. After your I-20 is processed, the Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) will send your I-20 to you so that you can begin the next steps:

Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee (everyone)

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. More information is available on the I-901 SEVIS Fee website.

Apply for the F-1 Visa (everyone except citizens of Canada)

All students, except citizens of Canada, must apply for an F-1 visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside of the U.S. if they do not already have a valid F-1 visa stamp in their passport. It is recommended that you apply for the F-1 visa in your home country whenever possible.

  • Complete the online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160)
    • Documents required to complete the DS-160 include:

      • Passport
      • Travel itinerary, if you already have it
      • Dates of previous travel to the U.S.
      • Your SEVIS ID number listed on your form I-20
      • UNCW School Code: listed in the School Information section on page 1 of the I-20

  • Schedule a Visa Interview Appointment: Visa application processes vary by embassy. For specific instructions, check the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will be interviewed. You can check visa appointment wait times on the U.S. Department of State website.

  • Attend your Visa Interview
    • Documents to Take to Your Interview
      • Form I-20
      • UNCW Graduate School admissions letter
      • Proof of financial support - you may use same documents you submitted with your I-20 application.
      • I-901 SEVIS Fee payment receipt

    • Additional Documents
      • In addition to the required items above, you may also choose to bring additional documents as evidence that your stay in U.S. will be temporary and that you plan to return home at the end of your academic program. Additional documentation may include:
        • Proof of a residence in your home country
        • Family business in your home country
        • Spouse or children staying in home country
        • Please note: It is impossible to specify all of the documents you may need to provide at a visa interview appointment as applicants' circumstances vary greatly. Check the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will be interviewed for their specific requirements.

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Health Insurance Requirement

Health Insurance Requirement

All international students at UNCW are required to have health insurance. Every semester, students must enroll in or waive out (decline) the UNCW StudentBlue health insurance plan. To waive out, students are required to submit proof of their own health insurance. Documents submitted for the waiver must be in English with coverage amounts listed in U.S. dollars. You can request this documentation from your health insurance company if needed.

Your personal insurance must meet the following minimum requirements to qualify for a waiver:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per person per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Medical Evacuation coverage in the amount of $50,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

If a student does not waive out of the StudentBlue plan by the deadline, they will be automatically enrolled in the insurance plan and the fees will be charged to their student account. Please see the Student Health website for more information about StudentBlue and the waiver process.

OISS does not manage the StudentBlue health insurance enrollment or waiver process. Please contact Student Health directly with insurance-related questions.

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Off-Campus Housing Resources

Students are responsible for securing their own housing arrangements in Wilmington. Most graduate students choose to live off campus in apartment complexes near UNCW. Off-campus housing resources are available on the UNCW PERCH website.

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Enter the U.S. & Check-in with OISS

You may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days prior to the start date of your academic program. Please the "Earliest Admission Date" under the Program of Study section on page 1 of your I-20.

When you arrive in the U.S., the Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officer will ask to see your passport, F-1 visa stamp (for everyone except citizens of Canada), form I-20, proof of I-901 SEVIS fee payment, and financial documentation. The CBP officer will inspect your documents and then return them to you.

After arriving in the U.S., you must complete the OISS Check-In which is required to register your F-1 immigration record at UNCW. IMBA students will receive an email with instructions to complete the OISS Check-in a few weeks before your first day of classes at UNCW.

You will receive information from the Cameron School of Business on the required IMBA orientation.

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Studying Abroad & Maintaining your F-1 Visa Status

As an IMBA international student you have the option to study abroad during the IMBA program or remain at UNCW. Please note there are important immigration regulations to be aware of if you plan to study abroad and return to the United States in F-1 status to finish your IMBA program after your study abroad semester.

  • You cannot be out of the United States for more than 5 consecutive months on an F-1 visa or it will expire. If this happens, you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status without applying for a new I-20 and paying the I-901 SEVIS fee again. With a new I-20, you would have a new SEVIS record and new SEVIS ID.

  • In order to keep your F-1 record active while studying abroad, you either need to study abroad for less than 5 months or you need to re-enter the U.S. during your semester abroad. Please contact your OISS F-1 advisor before you study abroad to discuss your travel plans.

  • If you wish to return to the United States to finish your thesis and pursue off-campus employment (OPT or CPT), you must have at least one full academic year (fall and spring semester) in active F-1 status on your SEVIS record. You must be in the U.S. to apply for OPT.

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Extend your I-20 Program End Date

All F-1 students must keep their form I-20 current at all times during their program. The program end date on the I-20 cannot expire while you are in the U.S. in F-1 status. If you need to extend your I-20 program end date to complete your program, you must request a program extension at least one month before your I-20 expires.

Email your OISS F-1 advisor to request an extension if needed. You will need to provide new proof of financial support to cover tuition/fees and living expenses for the duration of the extension.

Note: Students who do not complete their theses by the end of the second fall semester will be subject to a per semester fee until the thesis is completed. Please see the IMBA website for more details.

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