Information for New Students in F-1 Status

Congratulations on your recent acceptance to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. We look forward to seeing all of you on campus this coming semester. The web page is designed to help you achieve the necessary tasks required to come to the United States as a student. We have tried to present a reasonably detailed summary of the steps required and where applicable have provided links to fully detailed descriptions of the process.

This page offers descriptions of the process of coming to UH Hilo specifically for students who have (or will obtain) an F-1 Student Visa. Please see the links on our home page if you are in another status.

If you are an F-1 Transfer Student this information AND the information at this link pertain to you. Please review both to get a thorough understanding of your status at UH Hilo.

Where You Are Now:

At this point in your journey of coming to UH Hilo you should have:

  • sent in evidence of financial support to the Admissions office
  • received an Admissions packet from the University including information on such topics as Housing and Orientation
  • received your Form I - 20 ("Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status - For Academic and Language Students" ) from the University

If for some reason you have not sent or received one of the above items please contact the Admissions Office.

Where Do You Go From Here:

Once you have your Form I - 20 from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, you can begin completing the following major tasks:

  1. Obtain a US Student Visa
  2. Enter the USA
  3. Join the "UH - Hilo International Student Servicest" Facebook Page
  4. Attend the "Required Check-in and Immigration Meeting for New International Students in F-1 Status" at UH - Hilo
  5. Acquaint Yourself with Hilo

Obtaining a US Student Visa

If you are coming from any country besides Canada you will have to follow these steps for obtaining a US Visa (Canadians click here for information about coming to the US).

  1. Pay the SEVIS Fee (after you have your Form I - 20)
  2. Schedule an appointment at the US Consulate Nearest to you - To find the nearest consulate click here. For a detailed description of the application process click here.
  3. Go to your schedule Visa appointment to apply for your Visa - At this appointment you will need the following documents:
    • Passport (valid at least six months into the future)
    • Certificate of Eligibility (Form I - 20)
    • Proof of admission to UH - Hilo
    • Evidence of Financial Support
    • Visa Application Forms and Fees
    • SEVIS Fee Receipt
    • Any other documents required by your specific consulate (please visit their specific web site for these requirements)

Transfer students who have been accepted to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo must:

Entering the USA

Once you have obtained your US Student you will be able to gain admittance into the United States.

  • If you are entering the US for a NEW program you MAY NOT enter the US sooner than 30 days before the begin date on you Form I - 20 (Item 5 on your Form I-20)

When traveling you should be prepared to present the following documents upon request by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer:

  1. Passport with Nonimmigrant Visa (F1)
  2. Form I - 20
  3. Evidence of Financial Support

Note: Never check your travel documents in your baggage; have them readily available at all times.

If you are traveling by aircraft, the flight attendants on board will distribute CF-6059 Customs Declaration Forms and Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record for immigration, before you land at your initial point-of-entry in the U.S. Complete these forms on the aircraft and submit them to the appropriate CBP Officer upon your arrival, remember to write your name exactly as it appears on your passport. If you do not understand a form, ask the flight attendant for assistance. Click here for detailed instructions on filling out a I-94.

Check out this video message for students planning on studying in the U.S.

Special Instructions for Canadian Students

Canadian students are not required to obtain a student visa to enter the United States for studies. However, Canadian students must still be able to present the following to the Customs and Border Protection Officer:

  1. Form I - 20 issued by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
  2. Proof of Financial Support
  3. Evidence of Canadian Citizenship (Passport)
  4. SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt

Ensure that you are processed at the border with the proper student designation and that you receive an I-94 reflecting that designation. DO NOT ENTER THE UNITED STATES AS A TOURIST!

Join the "UH - Hilo International Student Services" Facebook Page

This Facebook page will serve as one of two primary contact points between you and our office, the other being your university ( email address. Information that is important to your stay at UH - Hilo will be communicated via Facebook (and your email account), along with information about events and activities. If you are already on Facebook, please visit our Facebook page and click the "Like" icon. If you are not on Facebook yet, visit Facebook to set up a free account and then visit our page and click the "Like" icon.


Attend the 'Required Check-in and Immigration Meeting for New International Students in F-1 Status'

ALL New and Transfer students in F-1 Status must attend this event. It is an important meeting in which topics regarding maintaining your status and complying with federal regulations will be discussed.

For the Fall 2011 Semester this event is scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, August 17, 2011. 8:30 am - 11:30 am, at Campus Center Room 307
  • The staff from International Student Services and the Center for Global Education & Exchange will present information about F-1 immigration regulations, life at UH Hilo, health issues, social activities and more.  You will meet with other new international students and learn how to make a successful transition to your college life here.

Acquaint Yourself With Hilo and Meet New People

There is a great deal of information about Hilo throughout the UH - Hilo website as well as on the internet in general. Please visit the following link for some tips on getting around. Getting Around.

International Student Services realizes that it is often difficult for students to transition to a new environment and make new friends. To help facilitate your ability to create connections with fellow students and get to know others who are going through the same transition, make sure you attend orientation, our Facebook page, and join the International Student Association and other student clubs and organizations. Through our Facebook page you will be able to use our discussion board to chat with current students, meet other incoming students, and communicate with our office regarding any questions you may have about transitioning to life in Hilo.

Questions or Problems

If you have any questions regarding the information presented on this page or experience any complications in the process outlined here feel free to contact us. Our contact information can be found at the top of the page in the contact box to the left. It is our goal to make the transition to UH - Hilo as smooth as possible. We look forward to seeing you in person soon.