Undergraduate International Orientation
August 16 - 18, 2024

(updated as of 04/05/2024)

Welcome to Rice University!

We can't wait to meet you in August!

What is UIO?

Undergraduate International Orientation (UIO) is a mandatory orientation program from August 16 - 18 for students coming to Rice on F-1 and J-1 visas. The program will cover F-1 and J-1 visa regulations, the role of OISS, and how we can support you during your time at Rice. If you are on another visa type, or pending U.S. Permanent Residency, you will only need to attend an OISS Document and Check-in appointment. If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident living abroad and are looking for a connection with students from abroad, we will be having an event the first two weeks of school to welcome you! Please be on the lookout for more information.

What is the UIO Schedule?

Coming soon!

Over the summer, new and transfer international students will be invited to monthly Zoom calls (May – August). F-1 and J-1 students must also complete an online orientation program prior to arriving on-campus. In addition, approximately every two weeks, our Program Director for International Undergraduates (Marjorie) will be sending out emails to new Rice students with important updates.

How do I plan for arrival in the U.S.?

Applying for the F-1/J-1 Visa

Undergraduate exchange students will need a J-1 visa.

• Pay SEVIS fee at www.FMJfee.com (one-time fee of $350 for F visa applicants or $220 for J visa applicants)
• Apply for your F-1 or J-1 student visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy. Please visit the consulate/embassy’s website for details regarding the documents you need to show and visa wait times. Please note that F-1 students are generally not eligible to apply for a visa more than 120 days before their I-20 start date. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study.html

Note for Canadian citizens: Learn more about the Canadian citizen visa exemption at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/citizens-of-canada-and-bermuda.html

What to Bring

Carry-on luggage:
• Original passport
• Original I-20 or DS-2019
• Electronics
• Some cash

Checked luggage:
• Basic toiletries (e.g. toothbrush, toothpaste)
• Summer clothes; temperatures will be around 36°C.
• Sweater or light jacket. It gets cold inside - lots of air conditioning!
• An umbrella and possibly rain boots; it rains in Houston often.
• Small items from home to decorate/remind you of family.
• Adapters for U.S. plugs.

Entering the U.S./Customs and Border Protection

A visa does not guarantee admission to the US, but it acts as a permission slip for arriving at the port of entry. The final decision is always in the hands of the CBP officer at the POE you make it to. The Port of Entry (POE) is the place where you enter the U.S., such as an international airport, seaport, or land-border checkpoint. A CBP officer is a Customs and Border Protection Officer who checks your documents, asks questions, and ensures you are properly authorized to enter the United States. They are found at every U.S. POE and have a guide to act in the best interest of the US. A Primary Inspection Booth is where CBP officers check and interview non-U.S. citizens, asking questions about your purpose of entering the U.S., school, and education. The inspection usually lasts from under 5 minutes to a maximum of 10 minutes. If the CBP officer is not convinced with your answers or cannot verify a specific document, you will be sent for a secondary inspection. If the CBP officer is convinced with your answers and your documents pass, they will grant you entry to the U.S.

Getting to Rice from airport

See pre-arrival information “Traveling to the U.S.” at https://oiss.rice.edu/prearrivalinfo.

UIO Advisors

The UIO Advisors consist of international undergraduate students that will serve as your guides during your first few days at Rice, and will be leading you through your UIO experience. All of them are excellent students, superior leaders, and wonderful company!

To learn more about your UIO Advisors, please visit https://oiss.rice.edu/uiostaff.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions

Is UIO mandatory?

Yes, for all F-1 and J-1 visa students.

Is there a cost for UIO?

Yes, a fee of $395 will be charged to your student account. UIO is for F-1 and J-1 students only. If you are on another visa type and charged, please email oiss@rice.edu and we will work to get the charge removed from your account.

When do I need to arrive in Houston?

Friday, August 16th, between 8:00am and 12:00pm, you will move to your residential college for UIO. You can arrive up to 30 days before the program start date on your I-20/DS-2019 but will not be able to move in to your residential college until Friday, August 16. For information on local hotels, please visit: https://success.rice.edu/parents-family/new-families-orientation/hotels.

Where can I find a hotel that will allow me to make a reservation since I am under 21 years old?

Hilton Houston Plaza/Medical Center is happy to assist you with your reservation and it is within walking distance of Rice.

Please use the following booking link:
Booking Link: https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/hi/reservation/book.htm?ctyhocn=HOUMCHF&corporateCode=2777536&from=lnrlink
Hotel: Hilton Houston Plaza/Medical Center
Company Name: Rice University

Contact Information:
t: +1 713 313 4618 I f: +1 713 313 4650
6633 Travis Street I Houston, TX 77030 I USA
hilton.com I houstonplaza.hilton.com

What is the process for ordering linens through https://www.ocm.com/ric/dorm-life/bedding and have them shipped to my college?

Visit https://www.ocm.com/ric/dorm-life/bedding, select “Ship to Campus” instead of “Residential Address” and use the following address:
Your full name
Student Success Initiatives
6100 Main Street MS 536
Houston, TX 77005

For more information on Residence Hall Linens, please see https://success.rice.edu/first-year-programs/o-week/residence-hall-linens

If you have questions about this service, please email oweek@rice.edu

I understand I have to send my high school transcripts to Rice – where do I send them and if I have questions, who do I contact?

High school transcripts are submitted to the Office of Admission. To send them on or if you have questions, please email admission@rice.edu or riceapps@rice.edu.

For questions, contact Marjorie Cerejo at marjorie@rice.edu.