Important Information for New International Students with a F-1 (Student) Visa
BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME
APPLY FOR A STUDENT VISA
If you have not already read about the student visa (for example, via the U.S. Department of State Website), now is a good time to do so. You will not only learn many important details on the student visa, you will also learn what you must take to the Embassy after you pay the I-901 SEVIS fee, which should be the first thing that you do before scheduling and showing for an appointment at a U.S. Embassy. A good resourse to learn what the U.S. Consulates assess to determine if a student visa may be granted, visit the NAFSA: Association of International Educators Website.
If a visa is issued, it will be marked “University of Detroit Mercy.” If you enter the U.S. using the I-20 for the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), you are expected to report to the International Services Office no later than (and up to 30 days before) by the date as indicated at item #5 on page one of your I-20. You will also be expected to attend the Program for which your I-20 was issued for at least one semester.
ARRANGE FOR HOUSING
University-sponsored housing is only available on the McNichols Campus, and we can only house admitted students. If you plan to live on the UDM McNichols Campus, you are strongly advised to make arrangements for housing before you arrive. Applications for housing should be submitted online for the Fall (September) Term no later than July 14; for the Winter (January) Term, no later than December 1; and for the May Term, no later than April 7. All applications will be processed and students who submit a residence hall contract will be expected to live in the halls for the academic year. If you have questions about on-campus housing before your arrival to UDM, contact the International Admissions Counselor. If you plan to move into your dorm on campus prior to the date as indicated at item #5 on page one of your I-20, let your admissions counselor know in as much advanced time as possible so that your housing on campus may be ready for your arrival. For frequently asked questions about living on the McNichols Campus, visit here.
For frequently asked questions about what a Residence Hall dorm room is furnished with and what you must supply, visit here. As for the temperature throughout the year, in general, be prepared for changeable weather. You will need some lightweight clothing for summer (@ June 20th to September 22nd) since the weather is usually quite warm (22-23 degrees Celsius). Winters (@ December 21st to March 20th) can be quite cold, around 0 degrees Celsius or below. During this season, you will need a warm coat or jacket as well as boots, a hat, and gloves. Spring (@ March 20th to June 20th) and fall (@ September 22nd to December 21st) are generally cool so it is a good idea to have a light jacket or a sweater for these seasons. For additional weather details and forecasts, visit visitdetroit.com.
While UDM cannot and does not endorse off-campus housing, if you plan to or need to seek off-campus housing (perhaps because you have family coming to the U.S. with you), you may wish to search for local places to stay before searching for an appartment or house to rent.
MAKE FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS
You need to bring enough money to cover at least your first semester’s expenses. Using the financial charts, locate the chart that refers to your Program of Choice and bring half the TOTAL amount. Use traveler’s checks for your living expense amount; either traveler’s checks or a bank check (preferably issued by a U.S. bank in your country) for your tuition amount. If you plan to live on campus and to purchase food at the UDM dining facilities, plan to have some cash available to pay per diem for food and housing before your semester begins: September 6 for Fall, January 7 for Winter, and May 7 for spring/summer. Student athletes may contact your coach for additional details.
When you attend the International Student Orientation (which is usually a day or so after the scheduled report date to the University; item #5 on page 1 of the I-20), you will be shown how to open a bank account while attending UDM. Finally, wiring money to the U.S. before you arrive is discouraged as it may cause difficulties or delays.
A WORD ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE AND TB TESTING
Please do not buy health insurance in your country for use in the U.S. International students must enroll in the University’s health insurance plan unless they qualify for one of the following exceptions: 1) insurance sponsored by the government of Canada, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or UAE; 2) insurance through a spouse’s U.S. employer. There are no other exceptions. For further details, visit the UDM Health Center Website. The University requires all international students have a TB skin test performed at the University Health Center when they arrive on campus.
PLAN FOR YOUR TRAVEL TO UDM
You must arrive in the U.S. no later than the date on which you are expected to report to the school (item #5 on your I-20). You may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before your reporting date. Again, if you plan to move into your dorm on campus prior to the date as indicated at item #5 on page one of your I-20, let your admissions counselor know in as much advanced time as possible so that your housing on campus may be ready for your arrival.
Carry your I-20, your passport, and your airline ticket together when you travel. On the plane, you will be given an I-94 (Admission/Departure) card to fill out. When you enter the U.S., the customs officer will stamp the I-94 card with the date and place of entry and return the card to you. The card will be marked “D/S” (duration of status), which means that, as long as you do not violate the terms of your F-1 status, you may remain in the U.S. until your program is completed. The inspector will also stamp page 1 of your I-20 and return the document to you.
If you have not yet taken the time to review the EducationUSA Website, now is a good time to review it. Try to arrange for someone to meet you at the airport when you arrive. If no one is available, the most convenient way to get to campus is by taxi or shuttle service. Depending on which Port of Entry you use to enter the U.S., staff at the airport can provide you information on transportation services leaving the airport. If you will be arriving at the Detroit Metro Airport, here is information on their transportation services. Finally, never ride in any car not clearly marked with a company name or with the word Taxi or Cab.
ARRIVING ON CAMPUS
The first thing to do when you arrive on campus is to report to the International Services Office (ISO). The ISO is located on the ground floor of the Reno Hall Building on the McNichols Campus. You may report to the ISO between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. For a map of the McNichols Campus and directions, click here. Bring your I-20, passport, and I-94 card (which will be either stapled to the I-20 or in your passport). We will photocopy your immigration documents and take your picture for our records. You will sign up for the University’s required health insurance plan (if needed), and you will be given information about the International Student Orientation, as well as a reservation for the English proficiency test (the ACT Compass ESL test) if you must still be assessed for proficiency.
ENGLISH PROFICIENCY TESTING AND PLACEMENT
A major purpose of the ISO is to assess your English proficiency level to ensure as best we can that you will have no unnecessary difficulty in your academic coursework due to poor English comprehension and conversational abilities. Therefore, we expect you to either show satisfactory English language proficiency according to the criteria established by our University as indicated on UDM's Website, or we provide the required English proficiency testing via the ACT Compass ESL test.
If you submitted documentation to the admissions counselor prior to receiving your I-20 that indicated you met one of the criteria outlined on the UDM Website or, if you bring passing TOEFL or IELTS scores to the Campus with you when you report to ISO, you will be immediately allowed to meet with an academic advisor to register for academic coursework. Otherwise, we will provide you the required English proficiency testing via the ACT Compass ESL test and register you according to the test results.
ORIENTATION TO THE UNITED STATES
During your first days on campus, the ISO sponsors an International Student Orientation (including lunch) and information session that all new international students are required to attend. Not only will the ISO organize additional recreational and educational activities each semester for your benefit, you may also review one of several PDF's created by EducationUSA to provide you further information on living and studying in the U.S.
MAINTAINING YOUR STATUS
Before you come to the United States and commence your education at UDM, you should take some time to become familiar with what you will have to do to maintain your immigration status. In short, to maintain your F-1 status, you will be required to enroll in a full course of study throughout your program. A full course of study is defined as 12 credit hours for undergraduate (Bachelor’s degree and post-degree) students and 9 credit hours for graduate (Master’s or doctoral degree) students. You must be enrolled full-time in the Fall (September) and Winter (January) Terms each academic year. Summer is normally a vacation term. However, if you begin your studies in May, you must be full-time that summer only. You will receive detailed information on this and other immigration requirements at the orientation session.
Students who are informed are not likely to experience significant difficulties with immigration requirements. Please remember that the staff at the International Services Office will be available to provide information and assistance to you throughout your stay at UDM. In the meantime, if you should have any questions, please call, fax, or e-mail our staff below.
Disclaimer: Any and all non-UDM Websites on this Site are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by UDM.
We are looking forward to seeing you at University of Detroit Mercy!
International Services Office
- Amanda Dentler, Director
- Megan Featherstone, Assistant Director and Foreign Student Advisor
- Michael Morgan, Coordinator American Language and Culture Program
- Jaime Yung, Assistant Coordinator American Language and Culture Program
- Shamika D. Adams-Morgan, Office Assistant
- Steven Coddington, Assistant Director of Admissions and International Admissions Counselor