Pre-Arrival Information


Upon Acceptance to an Academic Program, you will receive an I-20 or a DS-2019

  • Review your UofL I-20 or DS-2019 for accuracy (name must be identical to your passport).
  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee.
  • Ensure your passport validity, passport should be valid at all times (six months into the future).
  • Make a Visa Appointment. Students from some countries are not required to obtain a visa. However, the SEVIS I-901 Fee must be paid and must travel with an I-20, I-901 SEVIS receipt, and proof of financials).
  • Prepare and go for the Student Visa Interview.

After the Visa Interview

  • Review your visa for accuracy (information must be identical to your passport and I-20 or DS-2019).
  • Please complete the International Online Orientation - Check email for other important events.
  • Make airline reservations and travel arrangements-plan to arrive a week earlier than what is listed on your I-20 or DS-2019 in order to attend the getting connected and resource fair event and find suitable housing (You may arrive in the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019).
  • Make Housing arrangements. You can also consider the Global Village Themed LLC as an option for on-campus housing. To apply for the Global Village LLC, click here. Note that there is limited space for the Global Village LLC. So act fast!
  • Make airport pick up arrangements (Information below).
  • Get prescription medications you may need with a copy of your doctor’s prescription.
  • Put your I-20 or DS-2019, I-901 SEVIS receipt fee, financial documents, passport, and ISSS Handbook in your carry-on luggage.
  • Log into ULink to make a password for your University accounts.
  • Log into UL email.
  • Contact your Academic Advisor.
  • Register for classes.

Always Hand-Carry Your Important Documents!

Keep the following documents on your person at all times during travel to the US: passport, visa, I-20, or DS-2019, I-901 fee payment, class schedule if you have registered. Keep copies of your documents in a separate location. You should also pack a change of clothes in a carry-on in case your luggage is misplaced or even lost by the airlines. 

Upon Arrival

  • Scan your visa, I-94 and current local address to the ISSS service account. Print your I-94 Admission Number at:
  • You can make an appointment to check-in in-person with ISSS by emailing the ISSS service account
  • Update your mailing address in the ULink. Do NOT change your home address-your home address should remain your home address in your foreign country.
  • Contact your advisor in your Department for an advising appointment.
  • Register for classes through ULink and visit the Registrar's Office for advising information.
  • Get your UofL ID card: Cardinal Card.
  • Pay tuition and health insurance fee: Bursar's Office.
  • Maintain all your immigration documents, DO NOT discard them.
  • Complete the mandatory on-line orientation. The orientation link will be sent to your UofL email account.
  • Attend Mandatory International Student Orientation- Check your email for important dates and location.

Visa Issues

1. What if my visa is denied? 

Please notify International Student & Scholar Services if your visa is denied or you have decided not to attend UofL. Regrettably, we are unable to reverse a visa denial. If you wish to defer admission, you must first get permission from your department.

2. What if my visa arrives after my start date listed on my I-20 or DS-2019? 

You must first receive permission from your department to arrive after the start of your program. The department will need to give you a letter to show to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for late arrival. 

3. What if my visa expires after I enter the United States?

A visa is only a permission to enter the United States. When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means, you may stay as long as you are a full time student even if the visa in your passport expires while you are in the United States. An F-1 student must depart within 60 days of their program completion and a J-1 students must depart within 30 days of their program completion regardless of what is listed on your I-20/DS2019. Please maintain contact with the International Student and Scholar Services for questions or concerns.

Arriving in Louisville

  • Immunizations

It is recommended before departing for the United States, that you obtain your immunization records for BCG (if applicable), smallpox, tetanus/diphtheria, typhoid, measles, mumps, rubella, oral polio, and a history of any positive TB skin testing. This will help you if you need medical care while in the United States. You may also wish to bring copies of your medical records with you in case you are hospitalized or need medical treatment while you are in the United States. If you are on medication, be sure to bring an adequate supply with you. In order to provide a safe and healthy environment for your academic success, UofL has implemented a vaccination requirement for first-time undergraduate freshman. Upper-level undergraduate and Graduate students do not need to have immunizations to attend UofL. You can find more information at:

  • Pack for Warm and Cold Weather

Louisville has a four season climate. Bring appropriate winter clothing, as the temperature in Louisville can drop below 10 degrees Celsius, and summer temperatures average around 37 degrees Celsius. Dress for class is casual. However, you may want to bring a few formal outfits for special events or traditional clothes for international celebrations.  

Travel from the Airport to the University of Louisville

Louisville International Airport is approximately 8 miles/13 kilometers from campus. To better assist in facilitating your arrival,  please click on the following website for more information on transportation from the airport.

There are options such as a taxi or a Uber ride from the airport to campus costing approximately $20. Many student organizations, such as the Organization Assisting & Serving International Students & Scholars (OASIS), will also provide arrival assistance. For more information, please visit

If you need any other assistance with travel from the airport to campus, please email the ISSS service account.