Rice Unconventional Wisdom

Graduate International Orientation (GIO) 2018

(updated as of 8/7/2018)  

 What is GIO and for whom is the Graduate International Orientation?

Graduate International Orientation (GIO) is a mandatory orientation program for all new international graduate (*non-MBA) and graduate exchange students. Students will review immigration regulations, graduate specific policies, and programs geared specifically to support the international graduate population. *Please note that MBA has a special session designed for MBA international students that will take place during the international immersion week.

Graduate International Orientation will take place August 13 - 14, 2018
We recommend you arrive in Houston by August 11, 2018

Any student unable to attend must notify OISS in advance and schedule a make-up session. Unfortunately, those students who do not attend will have a hold placed on their student record that will block them from registration until check-in and orientation requirements are met.    

Important Pre-Arrival Reminders:   

Health Data Form: For 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) 
    • $2,682/year (doctoral students may be eligible for the doctoral subsidy)
    • Step 1: Enroll online (studenthealthinsurance.rice.edu)
    • Step 2: Pay via Rice student bill
  2. SAS (Rice's Approved Alternate Health Insurance Plan for Internationals) 
    • $1,433/year
    • Step 1: Go to 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.
For more information about Health Insurance Plans, please see the OISS student health insurance website    
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 from Airport

The following are options for transportation to Rice from the airport:
Graduate Airport Pick up—Arrival hospitality program offered to new international graduate students arriving for the Fall semester.
Super Shuttle—estimated cost of $30
 Taxi—estimated cost of $60
 RCSSA (Rice Chinese Students & Scholars Association) Airport Pick-Up Program—send your name and flight information to Ricejieji@gmail.com

Immigration Check-in & 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.

Preferred Check-in Times and Location:

Thursday, August 9 - 9:30am - 4:00pm

Friday, August 10 - 12:30pm - 4:00pm

 Location: Lovett Hall, Entrance A

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 needed, OISS will make copies before the check-in.  


Part 2: Required Orientation for new international graduate students will be Monday and Tuesday, August 13 and 14, 8:15am to 2:00pm. Attendance both days are required.

(MBA students are not required to attend this orientation) 

Graduate International Orientation Time and Location:

Monday, August 13
8:15am - 2:00pm.
Breakfast and lunch will be included
Herzstein and Keck Hall, meet at Lovett Hall to check-in

Tuesday, August 14
8:15am - 2:00pm.
Breakfast and lunch will be included
Herzstein and Keck Hall, meet at Lovett Hall to check-in


  Useful Documents and Other Material


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