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.? (Fall 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
Information regarding university housing is forthcoming.

  • Students who are not fully vaccinated 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.

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 August 23, 2021, the recommended arrival date for international students is August 13, 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


Orientation Schedule

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
August 16, 8:30am EST

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic all welcome events will be online.
  • 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 Employment Onboarding and Tips for Academic Success.

Onboarding for Graduate Assistants (I-9 Employment Verification)
August 20, time TBD

  • You will receive further instructions about onboarding when you complete the Immigration Review section of the pre-arrival checklist.