Information for International Students
Here we provide information for international students. Topics discussed here are ...
Applying for Admission
All International students are required to complete the online application form. Peruse our website for general requirements for admission to the program and the application procedure along with requires documents please refer to the application procedures and protocols outlined
Getting the student VISA
After being sent an acceptance letter by the program the student is required to confirm his/her decision to join the program in order to process the I-20 ( Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant F-1 Student Status). You must make sure all the documents (like financial-support is not receiving a graduate assistantship) required by the enrollment services have been mailed in time so that a delay in the processing may be avoided.
On receiving the I-20 or the DS-2019 (for J-1 exchange visitor visa or for students required to use J-1 visa) you should schedule an appointment with the US embassy in order to apply for the US visa.
Note: The procedure for application for visa might differ depending on the country of residence. It is recommended that you go through the procedure in detail for your country while you are waiting for the I-20 to arrive. Please read the necessary regional information.
Most applications for initial F and J visas require an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. In order to make an appointment with the US consulate you will require the SEVIS number on the I-20 (or DS-2019) form (and of course a valid passport). Check the Department of State website at http://usembassy.state.gov regarding current procedures, required forms, and operating hours. Some applications may require additional security clearances that may take 2-4 months for completion. Please schedule for an appointment as early as possible to accommodate for any such delays.
Note: Please carefully review the required documents for the Student visa application and interview and the visa application forms (after determining the required forms for your category) here.
If you are denied a visa, you may request the reason for denial in writing from the visa officer. Please contact the department with this information so that we may better advise you on your situation. If you decide NOT to attend MBET, please return the unused I-20 or DS-2019 to the office of enrollment services- UTMB.
If you need more information, please read about applying for a non-immigrant student visa.
Special Note for Canadian Citizens
Canadian citizens are not required to have an entry visa for the U.S., so a visa application at the U.S. Embassy is not needed. However, inspection by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer is essential in order for Canadian citizens to be admitted to the U.S. in valid student status. Therefore it is necessary that you carry all your financial and other supporting documents with you when entering the United States. At the port of entry you must present your I-20 or DS-2019 (together with all supporting documents) and your passport or valid driver's license. The inspecting officer will process your form I-20 or DS-2019 and return it to you with an I-94 arrival-departure card. Both of the documents will be stamped by CBP and should be marked F-1 or J-1 and D/S (for Duration of Status).
Note: Once your passport is stamped, please ensure that all the details on the stamp are accurate, especially the VISA-type (F-1 or J-1). Trust us, mistakes do happen!
Arriving in the USA
So now you have your visa stamped in your passport, you are ready to fly/drive across into the US. Hurray!
Please book your tickets for travel well in advance, since all schools begin around the same time in Fall and there is usually a huge rush of international travel during the months of July to September. Be sure that when you travel you have the following documents readily accessible:
- Your I-20 or DS-2019 visa document (which the visa issuance officer should return to you).
- The supporting documentation including financial documents, that you used for your visa application and appointment.
- Your valid passport.
- I-901 receipt for payment of SEVIS fee.
Note: These documents are extremely important since they legitimize your presence in the United States. You should keep them in a safe and secure place in your carry-on luggage or on your person.
When you arrive in the United States, your documents will be scrutinized and processed by a staff member of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) at the port of entry (This need not be Houston, this will usually be the airport that you alight at when your flight first enters the United States). Your passport will be returned to you along with:
- An I-94 card (Arrival/Departure Record).
- The I-20 or the DS-2019 form.
All visitors to the U.S. entering with a visa will be subject to the newly-implemented US-VISIT program, an entry/exit system. Upon your arrival at an airport or seaport, you will have two fingerprints scanned by an inkless device and a digital photograph taken.
Preparation for Arrival
Each international student should have at least $2,500 (U.S.) in available funds upon arrival at UTMB, because the student must secure housing, have funds for other essentials, and pay registration tuition and fees. Please carry sufficient change to make phone calls at the airport and/or to use the luggage carrier carts.
You do not need to bring any winter clothes when you first arrive here in Galveston.
Contacts: Please make sure you have on you at all times, an address book with all emergency contact information.
Be prepared for it. You will have to face the culture difference sooner or later. Contact the International Student Organization in case you are anxious to get in touch with your compatriots.
Travel & Housing
The closest International Airport to UTMB is Bush Intercontinental Airport (code: IAH) at Houston, texas (about 45 miles( hour and half travel time) from Galveston ). If your port of entry is not Houston, you may consider flying to the Houston Hobby domestic airport (code: HOU) which is closer to Galveston and UTMB. Transportation on arrival: The program will arrange for a student (your student contact) to pick you up from the airport. In case of an emergency or in the rare possibility that there is no one to pick you up at the airport you may use one of the following options to get to UTMB. (Please note that there is no public transport system connecting UTMB to the airport)
The Galveston Limousine is your best alternative. You may call and schedule a pick up in advance or call them upon arrival from the airport and wait at one of their scheduled pick up stops outside the airport terminals. Visit their website for information about pickups for Hobby Airport or for pickup at Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Hotels & Motels
Between the time of acceptance to the program and your arrival at UTMB we expect you to have made arrangements for your stay in Galveston. In case this wasn’t done or if you need to check into a hotel before arriving at UTMB, you may use the following
New student Orientation at UTMB
Most international students begin their studies in the fall semester. All new students who begin in the fall are required to attend the "All Schools Orientation" program usually held during the third or fourth week of August. International students must also attend a special "International Student Orientation" which is usually held on the Thursday following the "All Schools Orientation." You will be bombarded with emails regarding the schedule and venues for this program. This will be your first and almost a unique chance to socialize with students from all departments and schools in UTMB. Topics include maintenance of US immigration status, applying for a US Social Security number and Texas Driver’s license, visits abroad and re-entry, and other issues relating to living in the Galveston community.
Those international students who will be Graduate Assistants will receive an email from the Office of Diversity and International Affairs, and must provide a completed "Tax Data Sheet" and copies of their passport biographical, expiration, and (if possible) visa page before arrival on campus. Immediately upon arrival all new F-1 students must visit the Office of Enrollment Services, Ashbel Smith Hall (Old Red), Room 1.206. During this visit copies will be made of their I-20 and passport, and they will be enrolled in the required student health insurance plan.
During the "International Student Orientation" the student employees will complete an I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) form and will receive important information about maintaining legal immigration status and general orientation to the campus and community. Approximately one week after the "International Student Orientation," international student employees will be required to visit the Office of Diversity and International Affairs to sign IRS Form W-4 and/or Form 8233. The signed forms will be forwarded to the Payroll Office and used to ensure the international students receive the correct tax exemptions. International student employees will also be required to attend a "New Employee Orientation" within two weeks of arriving on campus.
New students who arrive at any other time, and who will be Graduate Assistants or otherwise work on campus, must attend the Office of Diversity and International Affairs Orientation Program for international students and scholars. Visit the office in Rebecca Sealy Hospital 1.120 or call (409) 747-8823 to be scheduled to attend this orientation session. Students who will not work on campus are also encouraged to attend this informative session.
Check out the UTMB Student Services New Student Orientation page.
Living in Galveston
Visit the Housing Information Page.
UTMB apartments, being the cheapest and closest accommodation you can get at UTMB are in great demand. You are advised to apply as early as possible if you want to be considered there. Visit the On-campus Housing Page (dorms and apartments).
If you decide to live off-campus but prefer staying close to the campus (face it, you don’t have a car as soon as you arrive in Galveston) the following is the link to housing outside of UTMB but within a few blocks of the campus. Note that these places are usually preferred by most international Graduate students.
Read more about Galveston Student Life.
Also please feel free to contact any of the officers of the International Students Organization
- Graduate Assistant: Abhisek Mukherjee
- Graduate Assistant: Efrain Siller
- Graduate Assistant: Charles Scherer
- Graduate Assistant: Debashish Sahu
- Graduate Assistant: Sai Hari Gandham
Q. How can I have my I-20 express mailed to my home?
Q. I do not have a U.S. contact for express mailing. May I use a credit card or federal express account number to have my documents sent to my home.
Q. I am in the U.S. in visa category other than F or J, and I am NOT interested in obtaining a visa document from UTMB. Do I still need to complete financial certificate?
A. Students that plan to study at UTMB under immigration documents issued by another college/university or employer must complete the Office of International Affairs “Pre-Arrival Data Sheet” and provide copies of their US immigration documents well in advance of beginning their program of studies. In most cases such individuals must change to a UTMB F-or J-status if they plan to work on the UTMB campus as Graduate Assistants or in another capacity
Q. Once I submit my application, how soon will I be notified?
Q. If I have attended an institution in the US, is TOEFL required?
Q. What items are needed for my application to be complete?
Q. May the application fee be waived or deferred?
Q. I am currently an international student on visa. However, I will have permanent resident alien status at the beginning of the term. Do I apply as an international student now?
Q. Do I need to submit financial verification papers with the application?
Q. What documents are required by Office of Enrollment Services in order to issue an I-20 document?
A. Visit the international student requirements for admission. The financial support statement is required only if you are not receiving assistantship from the department.
Q. What documents are required by Office of Diversity and International Affairs to issue a DS-20 document for a J-student classification?
A. Please note that most students are provided with F-student documents. J-documents are provided only when: a) the student is already enrolled in J-student status at another university in the US, b) the student’s sponsor is a US or foreign government agency, or an international agency that receives funding from the US, and the sponsor requires the J-visa status, c) the student is a participant in an established exchange program with UTMB. Documents required include:
Q. What types of documents are appropriate for verifying sufficient funds on the financial certificate?
A. Enrollment Services will accept a bank statement or other document from a financial institution as verification of funds. Also, on that form, students may indicate if they have someone sponsoring them (parent, other relative, etc.). For an estimate of the required financial support refer http://www.utmb.edu/enrollmentservices/prospect/F-isaInformation.html
Q. What if I don’t have funds and am expecting a graduate assistantship from UTMB? Do I still need to fill out the financial certificate?
A. No. If you are receiving a graduate assistantship that will be noted in your acceptance letter and that will serve as sufficient documentation of financial support.
Q. When will I receive my immigration documents?
A. Once you have been accepted to a program at UTMB and you have accepted UTMB’s offer, you will be contacted by Enrollment Services if additional documents are needed to process your I-20. I-20 Processing will begin as soon as these documents are made available to the enrollment services.
Q. How can I speed up the processing of my immigration document?
A. You can ensure that all required documents are received by Enrollment Services as early as possible. If you encounter any difficulties obtaining the documents, you should contact Enrollment Services immediately to see if any special considerations can be made.
Q. How can I get more information about the visa process?
A. Please visit the web site of the US Department of State
Q. For additional questions such as changing visa categories or transferring from another institution to UTMB if you are already on a F-or J-visa status please contact the office of Diversity and International Affairs (409-747-8823 ) or the Office of Enrollment Services (409-772-).