Pre-Arrival Information


Once you have received approval for an Exchange Visitor Program, a Form DS-2019 will be issued to you.

  • Review your UofL 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 you must travel with a DS-2019, I-901 SEVIS receipt, and proof of financials.
  • Prepare and go for the Student Visa Interview.
  • Due to the prevalence of fraudulent I-901 fee charge-back practices in certain countries, SEVP is currently unable to accept credit card payments made on behalf of students or exchange visitors from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Kenya: The I-901 fee must be paid by cashier’s check, money order or Western Union Transfer.

After the Visa Interview

  • Review your visa for accuracy (information must be identical to your passport and I-20 or DS-2019).
  • Make airline reservations and travel arrangements-plan to arrive a week earlier than what is listed on your 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 DS-2019).
  • Make Housing arrangements on-campus or off-campus.
  • Make airport pick-up arrangements (Information below).
  • Get prescription medications you may need with a copy of your doctor’s prescription.
  • Put your DS-2019, I-901 SEVIS receipt fee, financial documents, passport, and ISSS Handbook in your carry-on luggage.
  • Create a ULink to make a password for your University accounts. (To obtain instructions to sponsor an unpaid exchange visitor or non-registered student for a University computer account, click here).
  • Log into UL email.
  • Contact your department.

Always Hand-Carry Your Important Documents!

Keep the following documents on your person at all times during travel to the US: passport, visa, and DS-2019. 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

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 DS-2019? 

You must first receive permission from your department to arrive after the start of your program. Please contact your department. Upon approval, an updated DS-2019 will be issued.

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 J-1 Visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your Exchange Visitor status. That means you may stay as long as you are maintaining your status as a J-1 Visa holder, even if the visa in your passport expires while you are in the United States. A J-1 Exchange Visitor must depart within the 30 days grace period upon their program completion regardless of what is listed on your 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. 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. If you will be arriving in Louisville between the hours of 10:00am – 3:00pm, Monday – Friday, you can email your name, student id number, housing address or hotel information in Louisville, and your flight information (time, date and flight number of arrival). A representative from UofL’s International Center will pick you up at the airport for free and take you to your housing destination. (Due to COVID, the ISSS office is unable to operate in picking up students currently. The below options are available 24-hours a day).

You can also take a taxi or a Uber ride from the airport to campus costing approximately $20. Many student organizations help students with transportation pickups. Arrival assistance is also provided by Organization Assisting & Serving International Students & Scholars (OASIS). For more information, please visit If you need any other assistance with travel from the airport to campus, please email the ISSS service account.