Your first month in the U.S. will be much more satisfying if you plan ahead. If you have not already done so, visit the U.S. educational advising center in your city, country, or region. Most advising centers offer helpful pre-departure orientations for new international students. They are typically more accessible than the U.S. consulate.
What to bring?
Do not check the following documents in your baggage. If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will be unable to present the documents at your port of entry. As a result, you may not be able to enter the United States
- Your passport, valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay;
- SEVIS Form I-20.
- Evidence of financial resources;
- Evidence of student status, such as recent tuition receipts and transcripts;
- Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797
- Name and contact information for your “Designated School Official”, including a 24-hour emergency contact number at the school. Bring with you to the United States any important documents that relate to your academic, medical, or legal history.
- ALL INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO BRING HEALTH AND IMMUNIZATION RECORDS.FOR DETAILED INFORMATION, CLICK HERE
YOU MUST ALSO BRING PERSONAL DOCUMENTS THAT YOU MIGHT NEED DURING YOUR STAY IN THE U.S. SUCH AS:
- Official transcripts from secondary schools, colleges or universities (“official” means that they must have a stamp, seal, and/or signature.)
- Medical and dental records, including certificates of immunizations and vaccinations
Information and medical conditions or treatments, prescriptions for medication (including the generic and brand names), eyeglasses, and a copy of your Medical Insurance policy if you already have one.
- Marriage certificates (if applicable)
- Birth certificates for children (if applicable)
- If possible, bring one document of identification at least one year old.
Obtain English translations of these documents and have the translations certified by a U.S. educational advising center or a U.S. consulate or embassy. Retain photocopies of all original documents for your records.
Kearney's climate varies from quite warm to very cold.
However, in order to keep travel simple, try to bring as little as possible, and to have a comfortable trip; you can purchase cold weather gear after you arrive. You are less likely to lose luggage if you follow the baggage limitations of the international airlines.
You may find, however, that bringing certain items from home will help you to feel more comfortable in your new surroundings. Do bring traditional wear and a few artifacts from your country, as there will be opportunities for you to share your traditions and culture during events and programs.
Before the term begins you will pay for local transportation, possibly several nights of lodging off campus, and meals. Once on campus, your expenses will include:
- Tuition and fees for the first term
- Books and supplies
- Housing deposits and rent
- Health-insurance premiums
- Clothing appropriate for the Nebraska climate
- Household items
- Bicycle (Kearney has limited and expensive public transportation. Plan on purchasing a bicycle for local transportation around campus and the community.)
Do not carry a large sum of cash. Traveler’s checks are a safer way to carry money.
With regard to your financial responsibility, you will be asked at various times during your program of study at UNK to provide evidence of financial support. When you apply for a visa, you are asked to prove your ability to pay. You must be able to continue to provide this information in the event you are required to have a new I-20 issued, you make special requests of the university, or you make application to INS for certain benefits.
- Arrange for your flight as soon as you know your report date. Information is enclosed about travel arrangements and accommodations. Do not take a taxi unless you are in Kearney. Ask the cost of the trip before getting into the taxi. Shuttle vans are available from the Lincoln and Omaha airports. Direct flights to Kearney are available through the United Airline Shuttle flights from Denver.
- Once you reach UNK, visit International Student Services as soon as possible. The ISS office and other UNK offices are open Monday through Friday with office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a lunch break sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Plan ahead, so that you know where to go if you arrive at night or on the weekend.
- You can expect to experience fatigue and other physical symptoms due to long-distance travel and time changes. Be well rested at the start of your trip and take care of details in advance. Eat lightly and drink plenty of water the day before you travel. Prepare for changes in temperature by wearing several layers of clothing that can be removed or added as needed. Keep your passport, travel documents, and money with you at all times. Keep important papers in your carry-on luggage, with photocopies in your other luggage. Label your baggage inside and out with your name and both your home and U.S. addresses and telephone numbers. Use the address and phone numbers of ISS, if necessary. To prevent inconveniences in the case of lost luggage, keep in your carry-on luggage all of the items you would need for one night’s emergency stay in a hotel.
- Toward the end of your flight, the airline personnel will give you several forms to complete for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and U.S. Customs. One of these forms will be an I-94 card. Read the questions on this card carefully before you fill in the blanks and do not loose this card – it is an important INS document, along with your I-20 and passport. It is forbidden to bring certain items into the United States (for example fruits, vegetables, drugs, firearms). You will be asked to report the value of the things you are bringing into the U.S. Simply follow the directions of the forms. If necessary, ask the flight attendant for clarifications.
- Present your passport, visa, I-20, I-94, and evidence of financial support to the U.S. immigration officer at the airport. (Make sure you have your I-94 after this inspection.) After questioning you about your plans in the United States, the immigration officer will decide how long you will be allowed to stay (F-1 visa’s are marked with a D/S, which means duration of status). After this, you will be directed to the Customs Service for inspection of your baggage.
For further assistance with the immigration process you can go to: