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Plan to arrive at KU by your new student arrival date listed below. Prepare your finances and make your housing arrangements early as spaces may fill up. Meet with your doctor and complete the required health forms before you leave home and learn about the health insurance requirements at KU.

New Student Arrival Dates

ISS is currently planning the Spring 2021 orientation for you and we are excited for your arrival. As you make your travel plans, please be aware that COVID-19 prevention practices around the world may affect how early you should plan to arrive.

*You should arrive at KU by this date. If you will be in F-1 or J-1 status, you can enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before this date, which should be the same as your "Program Start Date" on your I-20 or DS-2019.

Admitted Term    Important Notes Recommended Arrival Dates
in the US for in-person classes
Orientation Begins

KU Classes Begin

Spring 2021 Spring 2021 is tentatively planned to continue in-person classes with expanded hybrid and online options.

All Students: January 13, 2021

Spring 2021 "You at KU - International" Orientation will be online. Orientation will begin on December 1st, when you will receive an email with instructions on how to access the online orientation course.

February 1, 2021

Summer 2021 Arrival in late-May: Exact date to be announced
Fall 2021 Arrival in early-August: Exact date to be announced

How Early Can I Arrive?

If you are in F-1 or J-1 status, you can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date (also listed on your I-20 or DS-2019). For spring 2021, please refer to our Spring 2021 FAQ tab for more information. 


How Late Can I Arrive?

For F-1/J-1 students, check the program start date on your I-20 ("Program of Study" section) / DS-2019 (item 3). You must arrive in the U.S. by this date. For spring 2021, please refer to our Spring 2021 FAQ tab for more information.


Graduate Students not in F-1/J-1 Status (ex. H-1B, H-4, J-2, E-2)

Readmitted Students

Edwards Campus Students

You may have questions about the COVID-19 pandemic and beginning your studies at KU. KU is excited for you to enroll with us for Spring 2021. This page will be updated as the situation evolves.

Register for KU Orientation:
Recommended Arrival Date in the U.S. for your first semester at KU:
Online KU Orientation Opens:
KU Spring Classes Begin:
Priority Deadline: November 29, 2020
Undergraduate Students: January 13, 2021
Graduate Students: January 13, 2021
December 1, 2020
February 1, 2021
Will KU have in-person classes for the Spring 2021 semester because of COVID-19?
KU is planning for in-person classes to continue in the spring with expanded hybrid and online options. We will have a hybrid model with in-person, hybrid, and online classes.
Can I still get an I-20 or DS-2019 for the upcoming semesters?
Yes! ISS is still issuing I-20s and DS-2019s for Spring, Summer, and Fall 2021 and we encourage you to apply for a visa and attend a visa interview as early as possible for you. Review the tab ‘Getting a Visa & Entering the U.S.’
I’m already in the U.S. What do I do?

If you are currently in the US in F-1 status and planning to attend KU as an F-1 student, please follow the instructions on the SEVIS Transfer Webpage.

If you are currently planning to change your immigration status, please refer to the Change of Status Webpage and contact an ISS immigration advisor as you consider your options.

If you are not going to stay in the US, consider the following before travelling:

  • Ability to get a return flight
    • Many airlines have significantly reduced flight options, especially internationally. You may have trouble getting a return flight.
  • Travel Restrictions to Enter the U.S. or Leave Country In
  • Quarantine Upon Return
    • If you will travel to Lawrence from outside of Kansas to begin classes, please see the Travel Quarantine Update on Watkins Health Services’ website to determine whether or not you will need to quarantine. (This section is located toward the bottom of the page. Please keep scrolling until you find it.) Because the infection rates can change rapidly, please continue to check the guidelines until after your date of arrival. Please see more details on our ISS COVID-19 Information webpage.
    • CDC’s Suggestions on Returning from International Travel
  • Expired visa
    • If your visa is expired, you will need to apply for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. Significant delays are expected.
  • Negative COVID-19 test results
    • We have heard some reports of negative tests results for COVID19 being required before travel is being allowed.
What about the Spring ‘You at KU-International’ orientation?
The Spring 2021 "You at KU - International" Orientation will be held primarily online. All new international undergraduate students, regardless of immigration status, and all new graduate students in F-1 or J-1 status are required to participate. Orientation will begin on December 1st, when you will receive an email with instructions on how to access the online orientation course. Students in the U.S. will also be required to complete check-ins with ISS and Watkins Health Services as part of the orientation program.
What if I am unable to arrive by my Arrival Date because of U.S. visa services being suspended or international travel restrictions?

We will try to accommodate a late arrival for all students who are delayed due to visa and travel restrictions. The current options we see possible at this time are as follows:

Undergraduate Students:
  1. Take Classes Online fully from abroad: You may decide that arriving in spring is not possible for you, but you'd like to start your studies online. For any reason, you may decide to take classes completely online for your first semester (Spring 2021). You would then plan to arrive on campus for the beginning of the summer or fall 2021 semester (arrival expected in late-May or mid-August).
    How do I let KU know that I've decided to take all online classes in Spring 2021?
    Complete the eForm, "Your Plans for Studying at KU" under the Get Started tab in iHawk
    What about my I-20? Will I need a new one?
    Yes. You will receive an I-20 for arrival in Summer or Fall 2021. You will not be able to use the Spring 2021 I-20 to enter the US. We will create a new I-20 for you and deliver it to you through the method you choose. We'll be in contact with you about the new I-20 processing once you've completed the "Your Plans for Studying at KU" eForm.
    How do I get enrolled?
    New International Student Orientation will be required for you. This will be held completely online. During this orientation, we will assist you with getting all of your holds removed so you can enroll in classes. We'll also assist you in getting enrolled for the spring semester. You will receive an email on December 1st with information allowing you to start this process.
  2. Arrive Late: You may choose to start classes online from abroad and plan to arrive on campus late. If you plan to do this, you would need to enroll in in-person and hybrid classes so that your in-person requirement for the I-20 is satisfied and arrive on campus as early as you can. We will assist you in enrolling during your online orientation sessions.
    How late can I arrive?
    The latest you can arrive in Lawrence for the Spring 2021 semester is February 26th.
    What about my I-20? Will I need a new one to arrive late?
    Yes. We will need to update your I-20 if you must arrive after the Program Start Date listed on your current I-20. Once you have received your visa and have booked your flight to Kansas, you must report your arrival plans in iHawk. We'll update your I-20 and provide you with a digital copy. We can only update your I-20 after you've received your visa and planned your flight. This prevents creation of multiple copies of your document.
  3. Admission Deferral: You may choose to defer your admission to another semester. In most cases, you are allowed to defer your admission up to one year. This means that if you were initially admitted to the spring semester, you may choose to defer your admission to summer 2021, fall 2021, or spring 2022. If you decide to defer your admission, please contact world@ku.edu and let them know. If you receive the iHawk eForms, please report your intent to defer within iHawk as well. You will receive an I-20 for the term you choose to defer to.
Graduate Students:
Graduate programs differ greatly and therefore your options greatly depend on your program. Please contact your department about your options. In general, your options may involve:
  1. Take Classes Online fully from abroad: If your program/department allows it, you may decide that arriving in spring is not possible for you. With approval from your department, you may decide to take classes completely online for your first semester (Spring 2021). You would then plan to arrive on campus for the beginning of the Summer or Fall 2021 semester (arrival expcected in late-May or early-August).
    How do I let KU know that I've decided to take all online classes in Spring 2021?
    Complete the eForm “Your Plans for Studying at KU” under the Get Started tab in iHawk
    What about my I-20? Will I need a new one?
    Yes. You will receive an I-20 for arrival in Summer or Fall 2021. You will not be able to use the Spring 2021 I-20 to enter the US. We will create a new I-20 for you and deliver it to you through the method you choose. We'll be in contact with you about the new I-20 processing once you've completed the "Your Plans for Studying at KU" eForm in iHawk.
    How do I get enrolled?
    You should discuss enrollment with your department. If you are in F-1 or J-1 status, new International Student Orientation will be required for you. This will be held completely online. During this orientation, we will assist you with getting all of your holds removed so you can get enrolled. We'll assist you in getting enrolled for the spring semester, but you should also coordinate this with your department. You will receive an email on December 1st with information allowing you to start this process.
    What about my Graduate Teaching/Research Assistantship or other departmental funding?
    If you were offered an assistantship or other departmental funding beginning in the spring 2021 semester, it is very important that you talk with your department before making any decisions. Most funding offers cannot be given to students who are studying from abroad. Please inform yourself of your options before making a decision.
  2. Late Arrival: If your program/department allows it, you may choose to start classes online from abroad and plan to arrive on campus late. If you plan to do this, you would need to enroll in in-person and hybrid classes so that your in-person requirement for the I-20 is satisfied and arrive on campus as early as you can. We will assist you in enrolling during your online orientation sessions.
    How late can I arrive?
    You need to check with your department for permission to arrive late. The latest ISS can issue an I-20 for is February 26th. Many departments may not be able to accommodate arrivals this late. It is very important you talk to your department to know IF you can arrive late and if so, how late.
    What about my I-20? Will I need a new one to arrive late?
    Yes. We will need to update your I-20 if you must arrive after the Program Start Date listed on your current I-20. Once you have received your visa and have booked your flight to Kansas, you must report your arrival plans by completing the “Your Plans for Studying at KU” eForm under the Get Started tab in iHawk. We'll update your I-20 and will provide you with a digital copy. We can only update your I-20 after you've received your visa and planned your flight. This prevents creation of multiple copies of your document.
    What about my Graduate Teaching/Research Assistantship or other departmental funding?
    If you were offered an assistantship or other departmental funding beginning in the spring 2021 semester, it is very important that you talk with your department before making any decisions. Your department will likely give you a late arrival deadline (probably mid-January) or encourage you to defer your admission and/or your assistantship. Most funding offers cannot be given to students who are studying from abroad, but you may be able to defer them. Please inform yourself of your options before making a decision.
  3. Admission Deferral: You may choose to defer your admission to another semester. In most cases, you are allowed to defer your admission up to one year. This means that if you were initially admitted to the spring semester, you may choose to defer your admission to summer 2021, fall 2021, or spring 2022. If you decide to defer your admission, please contact your department and let them know. If you receive the iHawk eForms, please also report your intent to defer within iHawk. You will receive an I-20 for the term you choose to defer to once your department has processed your deferral.
    What about my Graduate Teaching/Research Assistantship or other department funding?
    If you were offered an assistantship or other departmental funding beginning in the spring 2021 semester, it is very important that you talk with your department before making any decisions. You may be permitted to also defer your assistantship/funding offer, but this is dependent on availability and your department. Please inform yourself of your options before making a decision.

Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services

On July 14, the State Department announced Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services. These services will occur on an embassy by embassy basis. You will need to visit the embassy website directly to find out when they resume services. Unfortunately there is no central location on which embassies will resume services. Search in the "News & Event" section of the website. If there is no announcement of the embassy resuming services, then visa services are still suspended.

When should I apply for a visa?
All students who will need a visa in order to enter the U.S. to attend KU should monitor the U.S. Embassy where they will apply for a visa and secure an appointment as early as possible.

Learn more about applying for visas.

What should I expect at the U.S. airport when I enter the U.S.?
Airport and airline health and safety screening practices may vary. Check the website for the airports and airlines that will be a part of your trip to the U.S. when to travel to learn what you might encounter at each location.

Learn about the general processes you can expect at the U.S. airport.

Will I be quarantined or put into self-isolation after I arrive in the U.S. or in Kansas?
If you will travel to Lawrence from outside of Kansas to begin classes, please see the Travel Quarantine Update on Watkins Health Services’ website to determine whether or not you will need to quarantine. (This section is located toward the bottom of the page. Please keep scrolling until you find it.) Because the infection rates can change rapidly, please continue to check the guidelines until after your date of arrival. Please see more details on our ISS COVID-19 Information webpage.

This page was updated October 19, 2020.

Before you arrive in Lawrence you should set up your living arrangements. As a student at the University of Kansas, there are a few options to choose from. Choose what is best for you based on your needs and preferences. Whether you plan to live on campus or off campus, it is your responsibility to make housing arrangements. The International Support Services office does not make housing arrangements for you. We encourage you to set up your housing early, as options may become less available as the semester approaches.

The KU Department of Student Housing offers a variety of on-campus living options, including residence halls, private room with bath, suite with semi-private bath, scholarship halls, or on-campus apartments. If you plan to live on campus, please work directly with the Department of Student Housing. It is important to make your on-campus living arrangements early because availability may fill up quickly. Apply as early as possible for the best chance to get on-campus housing. To find the best on-campus living arrangement for your needs and to learn more about on-campus housing, please visit the KU Housing website.

NOTE: All on-campus housing options should be understood to be for the student only; there is no on-campus family housing for students.

Spring 2021:

KU intends to provide in-person classes in Spring 2021. If you choose to live off-campus, it is your responsibility to find off-campus accomodations. We would suggest doing this once you know for sure that you are able to travel to Kansas. Click here for tips on searching for off-campus housing.

Temporary Accommodation

If you need temporary housing before or during orientation or before you are able to move in to your residence hall, apartment, or home, Lawrence has a wide variety of hotels and motels available for short periods. Rates can vary greatly. Browse hotel options on the Unmistakably Lawrence webpage. When booking a hotel, mention that you are a new KU international student and you may receive a discount!

The hotel below has rooms starting at $45 + tax per night* and offers a 15% discount for all KU students.**

Super 8 (+001-785-842-5100)
801 Iowa St, Lawrence, KS 66049

*Rates subject to change

**You must identify yourself as a new student coming for orientation in order to receive the discount.

Required Health Documents

All international students are required to complete a Watkins Health Services Check-In after their arrival to Lawrence. Please prepare your Immunization History Form before your arrival and bring the completed form with you to KU. It can be downloaded in PDF form. It must be completed in English and signed by your doctor.


Watkins Health Services Center

Watkins Health Services (WHS) is located on campus, and provides high quality, affordable medical care to KU students through a team of dedicated professionals. WHS providers are experienced in the healthcare needs of international students. Learn more about KU’s Watkins Health Services.


Student Health Services Fee

A general health fee is added to your tuition to cover a variety of health services at Watkins Health Services. Special care may require additional charges, but the costs are usually lower than those charged by off-campus health services. Learn more about KU’s Watkins Health Services.


Required Health Insurance

Health Insurance coverage is mandatory for all international students who are in:

  • F-1 or F-2 status and enrolled in classes; or
  • J-1 or J-2 dependent status (regardless of enrollment) for the duration of their program

F-1, F-2, and J-1 students enrolling in classes receive the UnitedHealthcare StudentResources (UHCSR) insurance coverage automatically, regardless of their course load. The charge for insurance is added to the student tuition and fees bill.

KU UnitedHealthcare StudentResources Insurance Coverage

The KU UnitedHealthcare StudentResources (UHCSR) insurance coverage for students is a competitively-priced health insurance plan that meets the coverage requirements. You will be automatically billed for this coverage with your tuition. See below about the benefits of the KU Insurance, covering dependents, and possible waivers. Please read the requirements carefully before leaving your country.

NOTE: Because all J-1 Visitors are required to have health insurance for themselves and their J-2 dependents for the duration of their stay, regardless of enrollment, J-2s who enroll in KU classes are not automatically billed for the insurance.

Dependents

All F-1s and J-1s are allowed to add the KU health insurance for their dependents by contacting the International Insurance Coordinator at issinsurance@ku.edu. Dependents must be added to the insurance within 30 days of arriving, but it is safest to have insurance in place before they arrive.

Waivers

Most international students take the automatic KU insurance, but students who have an alternative insurance plan may request a waiver of the KU plan if their insurance documentation shows it meets or exceeds the Kansas Board of Regents Requirements. If the waiver is denied, the student will be required to take the KU insurance.

Insurance purchased elsewhere may or may not have the same benefits when used at KU Watkins Health Services Center, or pay for the required Check-In Clinic. Insurance waivers are due the first day of classes in fall and spring (summer deadline may be earlier).

More information about the Insurance Waiver can be found here

Benefits of using the KU UnitedHealthcare StudentResources insurance at KU Watkins Health Services Center:

  • There is no cost for your Check-in Clinic, required immunizations, or Tuberculosis (TB) test 1. For more information about the TB test, email health@ku.edu.
  • KU Watkins Health Services is a UHCSR Network Provider.
  • There is no extra cost for seeing a doctor or nurse practitioner.
  • Lab testing, x-rays, and generic prescription medicine are $5.
  • 100% coverage for sickness and injury.
  • See insurance policy for other costs and costs associated with off-campus providers.

For more information about KU insurance

Learn more about our insurance requirements, the cost and automatic billing process, and the KU health insurance plan; or email the ISS Insurance Coordinator at issinsurance@ku.edu.

Planning Finances & Bringing Money into the U.S.

Before you leave your country, you should plan for your finances. After you arrive to the U.S., you should set up a local bank account. Plan to electronically transfer funds from your home bank to your American bank account. It is very difficult to exchange money from your currency to United States dollars while in the U.S. and, even if it is possible, there may be a large fee. You should arrange to have enough money to cover at least your first month’s expenses AND your first semester of tuition, books, insurance, and housing.

Note:

  • DO NOT underestimate the amount of money needed.
  • DO NOT carry a large amount of cash with you.
  • KU cannot accept cash payment for tuition and fees.
  • Information on tuition payment can be found in the "Orientation" section of our website.

Bring your money to the United States in these forms:

  • U.S. dollar traveler's checks.
  • Have it electronically wired to your new American bank account.
  • Get a bank card from your home bank to withdraw cash from your account through an automatic teller machine (ATM).
  • KU now accepts VISA, with an additional charge of 2.85%.
  • Find more information regarding payment plans and options.

ATM Tips

ATMs are very common in Lawrence and are even located throughout campus. If you access your bank account through an ATM card, we recommend the tips below:

  • Make sure to contact your bank about any special procedures such as an international PIN number to access your account. Also notify them you will be using your card in the U.S.
  • ATM cards should be tied to a checking (not savings) account.
  • It is a good idea to give a family member access to your account at home in case of access problems or to add money to your home account.
 

Steps to KU


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