Undergraduate International Orientation

(updated as of 05/04/2021)

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 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 connection with students from abroad, we will be having an event the first two weeks of school to welcome you! Be on the lookout for additional information.

Where can I get the latest updates on arrival and Rice's COVID-19 policies?

While Rice is still coordinating the specifics of the Fall 2021 semester, we recommend that you stay in touch and read emails coming from OISS, the Dean of Undergraduates, and other Rice offices carefully as we are still in a time when things fluctuate. We will always do our best to keep you updated as changes occur.

• Rice Coronavirus page: Updates on Rice policies and other information related to COVID-19 is posted at https://coronavirus.rice.edu
• OISS COVID-19 FAQ page: Updates on immigration regulations due to COVID-19 are posted at https://oiss.rice.edu/covid19
• Pre-Arrival Packet: If you have not yet done so, please make sure to download your OISS pre-arrival packet at https://bit.ly/oiss-welcome
• O-Week: For more on Rice’s undergraduate orientation program and general student arrival information, please visit https://success.rice.edu/first-year-programs/o-week
• Read your emails from OISS, Dean of Undergraduates, and other offices at Rice

What is the UIO Schedule?

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 Senior Manager (Jenny) will be sending out emails to new Rice students with important updates.

During O-Week, there will be several international student breakout meetings, a shopping shuttle to get supplies, as well as free time to open up a bank account and get a U.S. cell phone. Please continue to read your emails for the most up-to-date information.

For general information on banking and cell phones and other important information about living in the U.S., please go to: https://oiss.rice.edu/usliving.

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

Applying for the F-1/J-1 Visa

Unless you are Canadian, you need a U.S. F-1 visa to enter the U.S. 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

What to Bring

Carry-on luggage:
• Original passport
• Original (and most recent) I-20 for F visa students
• CBP letter printed out for F-1 visa students (see below)
• Electronics
• Cash
• COVID-19 supplies: face mask, hand sanitizer, etc.

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

F-1 students should print out the most recent CBP letter in http://bit.ly/oiss-welcome prior to travelling to the U.S.

Upon arrival, anyone (including U.S. citizens) is subject to having their electronic devices searched and social media accounts viewed by Customs & Border Patrol (CBP).

Ensure the Officer at CBP stamps your passport as F-1 "D/S" when you arrive if you are on the F-1 visa. If you are on another visa, make sure you receive the correct stamp as well.

Getting to Rice from airport

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

UIO Student Staff

The UIO Student Staff consists of three current 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 Student Staff, please visit https://oiss.rice.edu/uiostaff.

Student Videos

Videos from Summer 2020

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 $75 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?
O-Week starts on Sunday, August 15. You will want to confirm your arrival time with your residential college as there are designated move-in times. For more information on move-in, please see: https://success.rice.edu/first-year-programs/o-week/getting-rice.

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 Sunday, August 15. For information on local hotels, please visit: https://success.rice.edu/parents-family/new-families-orientation/hotels.

For questions, contact Jenny Brydon at jenny@rice.edu.