Rice Unconventional Wisdom

IPREP Staff 2018   

I-PREP 2018

(International - Preparation and Regulatory Education Program)  

(updated as of 7/17/2018) 


What is I-PREP? 

I-PREP is a required check-in and orientation program for all new international undergraduate and exchange students. Students will review immigration regulations, complete the check-in process, and have time to shop for bedding, purchase a cell phone, and set up a bank account. 

I-PREP will take place August 10 - 12, 2018
We recommend you arrive in Houston on Thursday, August 9, 2018  

All international students will be charged an I-PREP fee of $195 on their first student bill, whether or not they attend. Any student unable to attend must notify OISS in advance and schedule a make-up session. Unfortunately, those students who do not attend I-PREP will be unable to register for classes during O-Week.    


2018 Health Insurance Information  

Meningitis vaccine requirement: All new undergraduates (including transfers) under the age of 22 must complete the meningitis vaccine requirement 10 days prior to moving on campusRice must have received evidence of vaccination no later than August 1st.  Students who fail to meet this requirement will not be allowed to move into on-campus housing. For more information about the requirement, please visit the Student Health website.

Health Data Form: All new students are required to submit a completed Health Data Form. Please direct inquiries regarding the Health Data Form or vaccination requirements to Student Health at (713) 348-4966 or hlsv@rice.edu.

Health Insurance Enrollment: All Rice F-1 and J-1 international students must purchase health insurance from one of the following providers:     

  1. Aetna (Rice's Student Health Insurance Plan)    
  2. SAS (Rice's Approved Alternate Health Insurance Plan for Internationals) 
    • $1,433/year
    • Step 1: Go to the SAS website to complete the SAS Insurance Enrollment Form (click here)
    • Step 2: Submit your premium payment online by credit card (a mail-in version is also available for payment by check)
    • Step 3: Upon successful submission, you will see a confirmation page to print out for your records.
Helpful Resources:
OISS student health insurance website - more information and resources for general health insurance
Rice Student Health Insurance - details about enrollment/waivers/how to use your health insurance
CVS clinic price list for vaccinations (Aetna/SAS plan coverage only effective 8/15/2018)
Emergency insurance patch (8/11-8/14)  - does not cover pre-existing conditions, routine medical exams including vaccinations, etc 

Arrival into Houston

  Immigration Documents: Make sure to pack your I-20/DS-2019 and passport in your carry-on luggage so you can access them when needed. You will be asked to present your immigration documents when traveling to the USA.

U.S. Port of Entry: When the U.S. Port of Entry immigration officer stamps your passport with an entry stamp, it should include the following:    

    1. Date and location of your arrival 
    2. Visa type (F-1 or J-1 visa)  
    3. "D/S", which stands for Duration of Status  
Please take a moment to review your entry stamp for accuracy. If it does not have the correct information, please let the officer know that your entry stamp is incorrect.    

Transportation to the Hilton Hotel: Taxis from the airport to the Hilton Houston Plaza/Medical Center Hostel cost approximately $70. If you share with another Rice student, the cost will be cheaper. Super Shuttle service cost is approximately $30-$35 and a reservation is required. Use code OWLS1 for a 10% discount! Uber cost is around $30-$40. For alternative transportation methods visit the OISS Pre-Arrival Webpage: http://oiss.rice.edu/prearrivalinfo.  

Do not come directly to Rice University, since your living space will not be available until O-Week (August 12th).  

Transportation during I-PREP: OISS will provide Rice University shuttles to all I-PREP activities, as well as to Target, cell phone stores, and restaurants during the I-PREP program. (Your hotel is located close to Chase Bank which will be convenient for setting up a bank account.) Rice University will also provide shuttles from the hotel to campus for O-Week on Sunday, August 12th.

Hilton Hotel

Hilton Hotel Reservations for I-PREP 2018: 

Hotel: Hilton Houston Plaza/Medical Center 6633 Travis Street, Houston, TX 77030-1308, USA; TEL: +1-713-313-4000; FAX: +1-713-313-4660. All transportation to and from I-PREP events will take place from the Hilton.

Dates: Thursday, August 9 - Sunday, August 12, 2018

Rates: $139 + tax per day - single room
$69.50 + tax per day - double room

  • Rates are exclusively for I-PREP students and families, and will be only valid for reservations made by July 9, 2018
  • Students who choose to share a room will be matched with a roommate of the same gender

Reservations: The reservation process is different for family members and students. Students staying with family members should register through the Family option.

Check-in: Begins at 3:00pm. Hotel will hold luggage for guests arriving before 3:00pm

  • Payment will be required at check-in for students for the duration of their stay (August 9-12). Credit card or cash will be accepted. ID (Passport) is also required at check-in. There is an ATM on-site and a Chase Bank within walking distance.
  • Family members are not required to submit payment at check-in as a credit card is required to hold their room. ID required at check-in.
  • An I-PREP Welcome Packet including an I-PREP schedule will be given to students at check-in. 

 Meals: Some meals will be provided during the I-PREP program. There will be transportation provided by Rice for all other meals to loval restaurants. It can be helpful to have money available for these meals. 

  • Breakfast buffet from 6:30am - 10:00am (Monday - Friday) and from 6:30am - 11:00am (weekends) at the Garden Court Restaurant is included for 2 guests per room.
  • Lunch for students only on Friday, August 10
  • Dinner for students only Thursday, August 9, and Saturday, August 11

Amenities: The Hilton included the following amenities: 

  • ATM Machine
  • Free Wi-Fi for I-PREP guests
  • Pool
  • Fitness Center
  • Limited shuttle services within 3 miles


Immigration Check-in & I-PREP Orientation Times, Procedures & Locations  

Part 1: Check-in: During Check-in you will provide OISS with your original immigration documents, as well as the copies, and attend a visa compliance session. The entire process takes approximately 1.5 hours. 

Check-in Times and Location:

Friday, August 10

Buses will leave the Hilton Hotel at the following times (subject to change):
Family/Last Names beginning with letters: A-J & All Exchange Students, 9:00 a.m.
Family/Last Names beginning with letters: K-Z, 9:15 a.m.

 Location: Rayzor Hall Foyer  

You must bring originals and 1 copy of all immigration documents to check-in:**

  1. Passport ID page & expiration page
  2. I-94 card information (can be printed from http://www.cbp.gov/i94)
  3. I-20 or DS-2019 (make sure you have signed at the bottom of the 1st page in blue ink before making the copy)
  4. Visa stamp

You will first complete arrival paperwork, then meet with an OISS advisor for a mandatory visa compliance session, and then submit completed arrival paperwork for compliance verification.

** If necessary, I-PREP students will be able to make copies on-campus before the check-in.  

 Orientation 2010

Part 2: I-PREP Orientation: All undergraduate international students must also attend the I-PREP orientation session. 


I-PREP Orientation Time and Location:

Friday, August 10
12:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Lunch and dinner will be included
Sewall Hall, Room 301

Exchange students must attend an additional Exchange Visitor meeting prior to I-PREP
Friday, August 10, 11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. 
Sewall Hall, Room 309


Part 3: Shuttle Service: On Saturday, August 11th, there will be shuttle service during the day to the Hilton Hotel, Rice Village (for cell phone purchase and a great place to go for lunch and dinner), and Target (store that has bedding, school supplies). We will also provide shuttles from the hotel to campus for College Move-in Day on Sunday, August 12th.

 Rice Shuttle


Part 4: College Move-in: College Move-in Day will take place on Sunday, August 12. We will provide shuttles from the hotel to campus. Please see the I-PREP schedule for further details. Students are not permitted to move into their dormitory before Sunday, August 12.    


Frequently Asked Questions 

  • When should I arrive?
    • We recommend arriving in Houston on Thursday, August 9th.
  • Do I have to stay at the Hilton Hotel?
    • No, but there there will be many activities taking place at the hotel and transportation to and from activities will start at the Hilton Hotel. In addition, this is a great time to meet with other international students starting here at Rice at the same time you are!
  • Will I have free time during I-PREP?
    • You will have some free time on Saturday, August 11th.  Saturday, August 11th is the day to take care of getting a bank account and a cell phone, shopping, and preparing for O-Week. There is an I-PREP dinner that night which you will want to attend.
  • What are the goals of I-PREP?
    • The purpose for I-PREP is quite different than O-Week. The principal goals are:
      • To review immigration regulations and legal information
      • Allow time to complete the mandatory OISS Check-in process
      • Build community between students and OISS
      • Understand the role of OISS and how the Office can support students during their studies at Rice University
      • To rest, settle in, and go shopping before O-Week               


Useful Documents and Other Material 


For more information about I-PREP and arrival to Houston, please review the information above.
If you have further questions, contact OISS at oiss@rice.edu