Two international students smile at international orientation.

International Orientation & Check-in

The University of Cincinnati looks forward to the arrival of all of our new students.


Before you arrive

Before you come to the United States, you need to complete the following tasks:

The online orientation provides you with important information that will help prepare you for living and studying in the US. You can access the online orientation any time prior to your first day of classes at UC.


Travel to Cincinnati

Before you leave, shop around for airfare, taking note of baggage regulations, price, and other amenities before selecting an airline.

  1. Purchase a ticket at least one month before you are supposed to arrive in the U.S.
  2. If you are sponsored by the government or a private organization, communicate your travel arrangements to your sponsors and check in before and after arrival.
  3. Make sure that your flight schedule allows enough time between connecting flights.
  1. Arrive for your flight at least 3 hours before departure.
  2. Travel with your passport, visa, and I-20/DS-2019 in your carry-on luggage.
  3. Keep other important items in your carry-on, like prescription eyeglasses, a bilingual dictionary, medication, or a change of clothes.
  4. Bring enough money for unexpected expenses or events, such as a missed flight. Keep this money hidden!
  5. Be prepared to go through US customs after you arrive in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security website has a great description of what you will expect during this process.

Arrange for a family member, friend, or supervisor to meet you at the airport if you can. If not, you can use the Airport Executive Shuttle following the pre-arrival checklist instructions in iBearcatsGlobal.

Once you arrive on campus, try to get familiar with the area. UC International has many resources to help you when you first get here, like temporary housing (if you're waiting to get into an apartment), transportation options, and more!

UC International offers a free ride to campus for new international students when they first arrive. The service is provided by Airport Executive Shuttle.

You must reserve a ride in advance using the form available in the iBearcatsGlobal pre-arrival checklist.


Immigration check-in

Once you arrive in Cincinnati, you are required to complete the “Immigration Review” and “Registering for Events” sections of the pre-arrival checklist in iBearcatsGlobal.

You must arrive in Cincinnati in time to complete these processes and to attend other required events before classes begin. The earliest you may enter the U.S. is 30 days before the start date on your I-20/DS-2019.

When should I arrive in the U.S.? (Summer + Fall Semester 2022)

You must arrive in Cincinnati in time to complete the immigration review and to attend other required events before classes begin. The earliest you may enter the U.S. is 30 days before the start date on your I-20 / DS-2019.

  • Summer Semester 2022: Classes begin on May 9, 2022. The recommended arrival date for international students is May 1, 2022 or before.
  • Fall Semester 2022: Classes begin on August 22, 2022. The recommended arrival date for international students is August 14, 2022 or before. When you will arrive is related to whether or not you will live in on-campus housing.

If you will be living in university housing

  •  Students must be fully vaccinated for COVID according to guidelines established by the University and the U.S. government. In addition, you must produce a negative COVID test within 24 hours of boarding your plane. Please read the COVID Guidelines for Arrival for more details.
  • Plan to arrive on August 14, 2022
    • You can move into your housing unit on Saturday, August 13 without an additional housing cost. However, you will be required to complete an Early Arrival Form that will be posted on the Housing website in late June. 
    • If necessary, you can apply for early arrival housing August 10-12, 2022  understanding:
      • You will be charged a nightly fee (usually around $40/night) 
      • Parents cannot stay with you in your room
      • Sheets and linens are not provided
      • Halls will have limited staff
      • Meal plans will not be in effect
  • Arriving before August 14 requires completion of the Early Arrival Form. If you plan to arrive before August 10, 2022, you will need to make your own arrangements for accommodations at local hotels.  
  • Best practice would be to arrive and move into housing on Saturday, August 13 to account for any unexpected travel delays and ensure that students will be ready for their orientation activities that start on Monday, August 15.

If you will be living off campus

Students with off-campus housing can arrive up to 30 days in advance of your I-20 or DS-2019 start date. Temporary accommodations cannot be provided by the University.

  • Students must be fully vaccinated for COVID according to guidelines established by the University and the U.S. government. In addition, you must produce a negative COVID test within 24 hours of boarding your plane.
  • Please read the COVID Guidelines for Arrival for the full quarantine and testing information.

You will use personal information and copies of the following immigration documents to complete the Immigration Review in iBearcatsGlobal:

  • your passport
  • your I-94 record (download online)
  • your I-20/DS-2019
  • any previous immigration documents you may have, such as:
    • I-20 or DS-2019 forms
    • Work permits
    • I-797 approval notices or receipts
  • You will be scheduled for mandatory events like health screenings, orientations, and onboarding. 

One of your mandatory events is a health screening at University Health Services (UHS). You will receive a letter and immunization record sheet in the packet that contains your I-20 / DS-2019. Make sure you:

  • Read the letter and have your healthcare provider complete the immunization record sheet.
  • Receive any required immunizations before you arrive in the United States.
  • Upload the form to Med+Proctor and bring the form with you to your health screening. Instructions will be emailed to you.
  • Complete your pre-arrival checklist in iBearcatsGlobal to receive instructions on making a health screening appointment upon arrival.
  • Complete an eform providing person information. 
  • Call University Health Services at 513-556-2564 to schedule your health screening once you are in Cincinnati.
  • Attend your health screening appointment.

COVID Guidelines for Arrival

Please see the university's public health website for guidelines concerning travel, vaccination requirements, COVID-19 testing, and quarantine.


Orientation Schedule

Fall 2022

New Undergraduate Student Orientation 

New Student Orientation registration is available after a student confirms their admission.

  • New Student Orientation is also called Bearcat Bound Orientation (BBO). BBO for international students will take place on August 15-17, 2022.
  • International undergraduate students are required to attend a virtual Bearcat Bound Orientation to learn about academic advising and the course registration process earlier in the summer.
  • At these sessions, you will learn how to schedule an appointment with your academic advisor where you will register for your first semester schedule of classes.
  • All students are required to register and attend both the Virtual Advising Prep Session and BBO in August.

Welcome Week events occur the week of August 14 - 21, 2022. See the Welcome Week website for more details.

Wednesday, August 17 | Welcome Event for Graduate Students
12:30 - 2:30pm | TUC Great Hall

Join UC International and IPALs for this high energy welcome event. You will be connected to other new students and our campus community in a fun and engaging way.

Thursday, August 18 | UC International Services Virtual Panel Presentation
Join the UC International Services’ Virtual Panel Discussion for essential information regarding immigration advising and international student services and support. We will answer questions relating to your immigration status, connect you to campus, community resources and events that will help you thrive at UC. This session is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. 

Virtual breakout sessions following panel presentation

  • Employment
  • Tips for Academic Success

Thursday, August 18 | "Team Pursuit" Welcome Event for Undergraduates
1:00pm - 3:00pm | TUC Great Hall

Join UC International and the IPALs in this high energy welcome event. Your group will compete in a series of challenges, submitting fun videos, photos, text, and/or trivia responses through a smartphone app. The challenges require teamwork, communication skills, problem solving, creativity, and strategizing to succeed. The team that completes the most challenges wins! We promise fun and a chance to make new friends.

Friday, August 19 | Onboarding for Graduate Assistants (I-9 Employment Verification)
9:00am - 4:00pm | UC International, 7148 Edwards Center One

Sunday, August 21 | IPALs Soccer & Sno-Cones
11:00am - 2:00pm | Sheakley Lawn

Enjoy a sno-cone and play soccer with new friends!