International
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 Semester 2021)

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.

If you will be living in university housing
Students with a Spring 2021 housing contract can move into UC quarantine housing as early as April 28, 2021. You will not be charged a housing fee, and will be moved to your permanent assignments once the quarantine period is over or on May 10, 2021. hose residing on-campus who will be arriving earlier than 04/28/2021 can be accommodated, but you will need to make a reservation with University Housing prior to your arrival. Early arrivals may have to pay an additional fee.

  • Students will need to self-quarantine for 7-10 days upon arrival. Please read the COVID Guidelines for Arrival for the full quarantine and testing information. 
  • Meal plans will not take effect until May 6, 2021. 
  • 24-hour residential staff support is available at 513-208-7298.
  • If you have trouble navigating campus or need urgent assistance, contact Public Safety at 513-556-1111.

If you will be living off campus
Students with off-campus housing will need to self-quarantine in their apartment or home until the beginning of in-person or hybrid instruction.

  • Please read the COVID Guidelines for Arrival for the full quarantine and testing information.
  • Since classes begin on May 10, 2021, the recommended arrival date for international students is April 28, 2021 or before.

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 an appointment date for your health screening.
  • Attend your health screening appointment.

If you do not complete the health screening, you are in violation of your student immigration status.

COVID Guidelines for Arrival

Please follow the latest CDC guidelines on testing, quarantine and isolation after high-risk travel. Please note that these guidelines and the below information is subject to change.

  • UC will continue to require quarantine of all returning international travelers, regardless of country of origin, since air travel, especially on long trips, is sufficiently high risk to warrant quarantine, even if they are from a level 1 country.
  • All returning students must download the COVID Check App and fill out the brief symptom checker every day.
  • Upon arrival, please quarantine and stay home for 7 full days after travel. UC will offer highly sensitive PCR Testing on or about day 5 of the 7-day quarantine. (Tests can be done days 5-8 depending on testing center schedule.) This testing will be offered in the UHS Testing Center (Uptown West Campus). This testing is available by appointment only by calling (513) 556-2564. The PCR test is covered by the UC Student Health Insurance policy once the new calendar year has started January 1, 2021. You should plan your arrival accordingly.
  • If you test positive, isolate yourself to protect others. The COVID Check team will be in touch with you with further instructions and information.
  • If you test negative, you will be released from quarantine after 7 full days (so on day 8).
  • If you choose not to be tested, your quarantine will last for 10 full days, and you will be released on day 11.
  • Proof of negative test prior to travel will not be accepted as a reason to waive quarantine, since air travel is identified as high risk by the CDC.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
  • Always follow state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel, upon arrival.

If you will be living in university housing, you will be able to quarantine on campus. Those who will not be living on-campus must self-quarantine in your apartment or home. To report your arrival and start the quarantine process, you must download the UC COVID Check app.

Quarantined students will be allowed to leave residences for approved essential reasons:

  • Obtain an ID
  • Obtain a phone
  • Obtain a computer
  • Obtain a bank account
  • Obtain food, medicine, clothing, living essentials such as toothpaste, soap, etc.
  • Obtain room essentials such a bedding, hangers, dishes, etc.
  • Attend Covid testing
  • Go to a medical or legal appointment
  • Complete immigration or visa requirements required by the university or Department of Homeland Security

Since UC will have online-only academics until January 25, recommended arrival date for international students can be as late as January 11, 2021, in order to pursue in-person or hybrid instruction to start on January 25. (Note: There may be specialized programs that seek an exception, so please check with your program of study.)  


Orientation Schedule

New Undergraduate Student Orientation 
May 6, 9 - 12pm EST

  • You will receive instructions from the Orientation office about this virtual event.

UC International Services' New International Student Welcome
May 7, 8:30am EST

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic all welcome events will be online. Watch our Welcome video.
  • 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 newly admitted undergraduate and graduate students. 
    • You have the option to join bonus breakout sessions afterward about On-Campus Employment and Strategies for Effective Online Learning.

New Undergraduate Student Orientation 

New Student Orientation registration will open on March 1.

  • New Student Orientation is also called Bearcats Bound Orientation (BBO).
  • International undergraduate students are required to attend a Virtual Bearcat Bound Orientation to learn about academic advising and the course registration process.
  • 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.

UC International Services' New International Student Welcome
May 7, 8:30am EST

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic all welcome events will be online. Watch our Welcome video.
  • 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 newly admitted undergraduate and graduate students. 
    • You have the option to join bonus breakout sessions afterward about On-Campus Employment and Strategies for Effective Online Learning.

Onboarding for Graduate Assistants (I-9 Employment Verification)

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic all onboarding for graduate assistants will be conducted online. You will receive further instructions about onboarding when you complete the Immigration Review section of the pre-arrival checklist.