Rice Unconventional Wisdom

IPP 2017 Group   

iPREP 2017

(international - Preparation and Regulatory Education Program)  

(updated as of 7/28/2017) 

 What is iPREP?

iPREP 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. 

iPREP will take place August 11 - 12, 2017
We recommend you arrive in Houston on Thursday, August 10, 2017  

All international students will be charged an iPREP fee of $180 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 iPREP will be unable to register for classes during O-Week.    


Important Pre-Arrival Reminders:  

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 campus. Rice must have received evidence of vaccination no later than August 1st.

For more information on vaccine requirements, please visit the Student Health website. There you will also find the required 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) 
    • $1,312/year
    • Step 1: Enroll and Pay online (sas-mn.com)
    • Step 2: Submit waiver online (studenthealthinsurance.rice.edu)
    • Important! If you enroll in the SAS plan and do not apply for a waiver, you will be auto-enrolled in the Aetna plan and charged for Aetna for the whole year in your student bill.
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 8/15/2017)
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 Marriott hotel: When you arrive in Houston, you can take a taxi from the airport to the Marriott Hotel (6580 Fannin Street, Houston, TX  77030) for iPREP. Taxis are approximately $70 - but you can always share with another Rice student! For alternative transportation methods visit the Pre-Arrival page.  

Do not come directly to Rice University, since your living space will not be available until you complete iPREP Orientation.   

Marriott Hotel

Hotel reservations:

 Houston Marriott Medical Center
 6580 Fannin Street, Houston, TX  77030, USA, 
TEL:  713-796-0080     

Dates: Check-in Thursday, August 10th; Check-out Sunday, August 13th.

iPREP Rates: $139 + tax/per day for an individual room. If you choose to share with another iPREP student, your cost will be $69.50 + tax per day. If you would like to make reservations for dates outside of August 10-13, please contact the hotel directly for their best available rates.  

Making reservations:  In order to make reservations for Thursday, August 10th - Sunday, August 13th, please complete an online survey by clicking here. The deadline for reserving your room is Thursday, July 13, 2017. After July 13th you will not be able to reserve a spot at the hotel for the iPREP price. You may choose to have your own room, or share with another iPREP student. If you choose to share, we will match you with a roommate of the same gender. 

Family Members: Any family members who would like to reserve a room at the hotel should contact Marriott Reservations directly at 1-888-236-2427 or click here to make a reservation online.  



The Marriott Hotel provides you with a complimentary hot breakfast each morning.  Transportation will be provided to dinner on Thursday, August 10th but you will have to pay for dinner on your own.  Lunch will be provided on Friday, August 11th and dinner will be provided on Saturday, August 12th. For all other meals, you can use the hotel shuttle service and go to Rice Village, which has many different restaurants to choose from.



Immigration Check-in & iPREP 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. Click here for presentation slides.

Check-in Times and Location:

Friday, August 11

Buses will leave the Marriott Hotel at the following times:
Family/Last Names beginning with letters: A-E & All Exchange Students, 9:30 a.m.
Family/Last Names beginning with letters: F-J, 9:45 a.m.

Family/Last Names beginning with letters: K-L, 10:00 a.m.
Family/Last Names beginning with letters: M-S, 10:10 a.m.

Family/Last Names beginning with letters: T-W, 10:20 a.m.
Family/Last Names beginning with letters: X-Z, 10:30 a.m.

 Location: Lovett Hall, Entrance A & Sewall Hall  

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.

Breakfast tacos will be served at Check-in. 

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

 Orientation 2010

Part 2: iPREP Orientation: All undergraduate international students must also attend the iPREP orientation session. 


iPREP Orientation Time and Location:

Friday, August 11
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 iPREP
Friday, August 11, 11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. 
Sewall Hall, Room 309


Part 3: Shuttle Service: On Saturday, August 12th, there will be shuttle service during the day to the Marriott 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 provides shuttles from the hotel to campus for College Move-in Day on Sunday, August 13th.

 Rice Shuttle


Part 4: College Move-in: College Move-in Day will take place on Sunday, August 13. We will provide shuttles from the hotel to campus. Please see the iPREP schedule for further details. Students are not permitted to move into their dormitory before Sunday, August 13.


  Frequently Asked Questions

  • When should I arrive?
    • We recommend arriving in Houston on Thursday, August 10th.
  • Do I have to stay at the Marriott Hotel?
    • No, but there there will be many activities taking place at the hotel and transportation to and from activities will start at the Marriott 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 iPREP?
    • You will have some free time on Saturday, August 12th.  Saturday, August 12th is the day to take care of getting a bank account and a cell phone, shopping, and preparing for O-Week. There is a iPREP dinner that night which you will want to attend.
  • What are the goals of iPREP?
    • The purpose for iPREP 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 iPREP and arrival to Houston, please review the information above.
If you have further questions, contact OISS at oiss@rice.edu