From Getting a Visa to Arriving at UNCSA
UNCSA welcomes students from abroad who wish to study here. There are several key steps we can help guide you through from getting your student visa to arriving on campus.
Obtaining a Student Visa
You will need a student visa (F-1 visa) to enroll at UNCSA. Here are the steps to obtain a student visa. The earliest an F-1 visa can be issued is 90 days before the date of departure that is on your I-20.
Step 1: Apply for your visa at the consular office that has jurisdiction over your home country.
- Pay the I-901 fee before you apply for your visa (www.fmjifee.com)
- Provide the consular officer your I-20, I-901 fee receipt, valid passport, and letter of admissions from UNCSA. Consular offices differ in procedure and fees. Contact your consular office for details. Some consulate offices are requiring interviews prior to issuing an F‐1 visa. Please make an appointment as soon as possible to have an interview done if your country requires it.
The consular will look for evidence that you plan to depart the U.S. after completing your studies and evidence that you have an existing permanent residence in your home country. The consular evaluates your I-20 for specific item like:
- That it has been filled out completely and properly by the DSO. That it appears to be genuine.
- The purpose for the I‐20 (Items 3‐5).
- The estimates of your expenses and proof of your means of covering them (Items 7‐8).
- Actual acceptance in a full course of study and reporting date (Item 5) The level of English necessary to pursue your course of study (Item 6) Any relevant remarks (Item 9).
Step 2: If your visa is approved, the consular office will place an F-1 visa stamp on your passport noting the period of validity and the number of entries allowed.
Keep the I‐20 and other materials given to you by the consulate to present to the INS officer at the U.S. Port of Entry.
Arriving in the United States
When you arrive at your initial port of entry to the U.S., you should have the following documents with you:
- Form I-20 issued by UNC School of the Arts
- Passport that is valid for AT LEAST six months beyond the date of your initial entry F-1 stamp in your passport. If you do not have the F-1 visa stamp in your passport, the likelihood that you will be denied entry to the U.S. is very high.
- Printed I-94. Your travel document will be stamped with a CBP admission stamp. Print a paper copy of your I-94 as instructed below.
You will be admitted into the country as an F-1student. The I-20 will be stamped by the immigration official to reflect your student status. Ensure the proper visa status is stamped on your I-20. The I-94 will be electronic and your travel document will be stamped with a CBP admission stamp. Please print a copy of the I-94 (record of admission) for verification. Go to www.cbp.gov/I94 to print a copy.
If you do not have your I-20 with you when you arrive at a U.S. port of entry, you will most likely be admitted into the country. However, you will be given Form I-515A and instructed to send in all necessary documentation to an office in Washington D.C.
Traveling to UNC School of the Arts
The Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTI) is the airport located nearest to Winston- Salem, NC. It is located approximately 30 minutes away in Greensboro, NC. There are taxi and area shuttle services available at the airport.
Please keep in mind that you are making an entry to the U.S. at a very busy time of the year in terms of processing for customs and immigration. There is always a chance that you will be delayed and will not be able to make your connecting flight.
Meeting with Designated School Officials
All new international students are required to meet in person with either Designated School Officials (Clyde Howell or Sheeler Lawson) in the Office of Admissions no more than 2 days after their arrival on campus. The Admissions Office is located in the Welcome Center.
When you come to the office, please bring the following documents with you so that photocopies can be made for your student file:
- Visa Stamp in passport (exception: Canadian students will not have a visa stamp) Form I-20
- Printed I-94 (see instructions on Initial Port of Entry document)
- Cell phone information
- Current U.S. address
Before Enrolling in Classes
Before enrolling in classes at UNCSA, you will need to take the CELT test and submit your health forms and Insurance information.
Comprehensive English Language Test (CELT)
All undergraduate and graduate international students whose first language is not English will be required to take the Comprehensive English Language Test. Information about the test date, time and location will be emailed to you.
Health Insurance and Health/Immunization Form
All international students attending on F-1 visas are required to have health insurance that meets U.S. federal requirements. Health insurance is offered through the university and will be billed to the student's account upon acceptance. The policy provided by UNCSA is by semester and will be added to your UNCSA bill. Bills are emailed out the second week of July to your uncsa email account. All students have access to the medical and health services provided by the on-campus Student Health Services.
All students must submit required Health Service forms using the Student Health Portal. North Carolina state health regulations require all international students to receive a tuberculin test upon arrival at UNCSA. The test is administered in the United States and will be given by the UNCSA Student Health Services Department.
Governmental websites for international students
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services web page has information about visa classifications, citizenship, laws and regulations. There are also many forms available for you to print and send to the respective government agencies.
Social security numbers are an important part of identification that Americans use for opening bank accounts, purchasing cell phones or renting apartments. As an international student you will not likely have a social security number. As an international student you will need a social security number if you choose to work on- or off-campus. If you are interested in accepting employment, please see the International Student Coordinator or Designated School Official for more information.
As a non-resident, you are required to file taxes with the International Revenue Service (IRS), even if you were not employed. This form is called 8843. If you have been employed in the U.S. as an F-1 student, in addition to the 8843, you will also file 1040-EZ form which is for your income tax return. International Student Services holds a tax seminar for international students prior to the April 15 deadline for filing taxes. However, this seminar does not replace professional advice, and you are advised to use a professional tax service to assist in your filing process. You may also call 1-800-829-1040 to speak with an IRS representative. Be sure to tell the representative that you are a non-resident for tax purposes.