What to do NOW
If you plan to study at UWM on an F-1 student visa, we will issue you an I-20, a U.S. government document necessary for your F-1 visa application. Your I-20 indicates the school you are attending, level of education, area of study, expected graduation date and information on how you will finance your education.
After you are admitted to UWM, our office must have the following documentation in order to issue your I-20:
Proof of Funding: In order to receive your I-20, you must show that you have sufficient funding to support your studies for one academic year. Your proof of funding must be enough to cover tuition, room and board and health insurance. If you have not yet submitted your proof of funding, please email it to us at email@example.com.
SEVIS transfer: If you are planning to attend UWM directly after studying at another U.S. institution (either as a transfer student or if you are moving from one level of study to another) you will need to arrange to have your SEVIS record transferred. Please fill out the first page of this form and give it to the Designated School Official (DSO) at your previous institution to complete. Your DSO will then return it to our office.
If this is your first time studying in the U.S., or you have returned to your home country after studying in the U.S., you will not need to transfer your SEVIS record.
SEVIS Fee Payment
If you will be an F-1 or J-1 student for the first time, you will need to pay the SEVIS fee before your visa interview. When paying your SEVIS fee, please have your I-20 on-hand. Complete the I-901 form online, enter your credit card information and submit the form electronically. Print out a receipt and then call the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your country to make an appointment for your visa interview.
Please note, sometimes students who are not new students will still need to pay the SEVIS fee. Who does and does not need to pay the SEVIS fee?
If applying for an F-1 student visa for the first time, you must have a personal interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This interview will most likely be conducted in English and will last about one or two minutes. You must be prepared because this interview will determine whether or not you are granted a visa.
To obtain a student visa, you must demonstrate to the official:
- that you are a prepared student with an educational plan
- that you have the financial resources to study for at least one year in the U.S.
- that you have strong ties to your home country
- that you will be returning to your home country after you have completed your studies
For a list of documents you will need to bring to your visa interview, please visit the U.S. Department of State website on Student Visas.
A Few Tips for the Visa Application Process:
- DO NOT wait until the last minute! Apply for your F-1 or J-1 student visa as soon as possible. It can take several weeks to get a visa appointment, depending on which country you live in.
- When filling out forms, always refer to the information as it is stated on your I-20 (i.e. the spelling of your name).
How to Prepare and Organize Materials for Your Visa Interview
- Dress neatly and/or professionally.
- Be prepared to inform the U.S. Consulate official about your educational goals. The official may want to know your major and why you chose it, what is important about that specific major to your future career opportunities, your graduate school plans, and why having a degree from abroad, specifically UWM, will enhance your education.
- Be prepared to inform the official about where and how you learned English and/or why you wish to study more English in the U.S.
Make sure that all of your paperwork needed for the interview is well organized. Group all appropriate papers together, such as: (1) your cover letter, (2) UWM documents, (3) academic credentials, (4) financial documents, and (5) all documents stating your ties to your home country.
Arrange for Housing
At UWM, all undergraduate new freshmen are required to live on campus and are therefore automatically assigned and guaranteed housing in one of the campus residence halls. Many undergraduate upperclassman and graduate students also decide to live on campus. Non-freshmen are not automatically assigned housing and will need to submit an application to the housing department if they would like to live on campus. For more information about on-campus housing, please visit the UWM University Housing website.
Because of international student orientation and placement testing, many international students must arrive in the U.S. before the residence halls are open for move-in. International students are eligible to apply for early arrival so they can move into the residence halls before they are officially open to all students. To apply for early arrival, you will need to fill out this form and return it to the UWM University Housing Office by either fax or mail. It is wise to complete this form well in advance of the beginning fo the semester, about a month before.
Although new freshman are required to live on campus, many other students including undergraduate upperclassmen and graduate students choose to live off campus. The UWM Neighborhood Housing Office assists students in finding safe, quality off-campus housing and roommates. If you would like to live off campus in an apartment or house, this would be a great place to start.
What to Bring to UWM
UWM on-campus rooms are furnished but do not include basic necessities like bed linens and cookware. Most off-campus apartments will not be furnished. You should begin thinking about what you will need to bring with you from your home country and what you will purchase when you arrive in Milwaukee.
Items you will need to bring with you:
- Passport with Student Visa
- Final transcripts, if you have been admitted on the condition that you provide final transcripts
- Documents showing financial support for visa
Items you may bring with you or buy in Milwaukee: Comfortable clothing
- Warmer clothing for winter (winter coat, hat, gloves, scarf, winter boots)
- Book bag or backpack
- Alarm clock
- Traveler's checks
- Credit card
- Umbrella and/or raincoat
- Professional/Formal Attire
- School Supplies
- Highlighter, pens, pencils
- Tape, thumbtacks, rubber bands, paper clips, stapler, staples
- Dictionary and thesaurus
- Pencil sharpener
- Computer, printer, flash drive
- Medical records for existing illnesses, especially allergies
- Prescription medicines, as required
- Cold medicines, aspirin, vitamins, antacids, ointments
- Toiletries (razor, brush, comb, toothbrush, nail clippers, tweezers, deodorant, soap, etc.)
- Extra pair of contact lenses and/or glasses
- Hair care products
- Pillow, sheets, blankets, towels, and washcloths
- Bedspread or comforter
- Small refrigerator (All residence halls have communal kitchens with a refrigerator and microwave. Also, Cambridge Commons does not allow small refrigerators because one is already provided for the entire suite)
- Laundry basket or sack
- Power strip (must be bought in the U.S.)
- Study Lamp (must have metal shade if you are living in the residence halls or Kenilworth Square Apartments)
- Favorite books and posters
- MP3 player
- Favorite CDs
- Musical instruments
- Sewing kit
- Sports/recreational equipment (tennis racket, tennis shoes, etc.)
- Throw rugs
- Traditional national clothing
- Picture album of your family and friends
- Telephone calling card
- Cooking/kitchen equipment
- Special spices/foods from home
What NOT to Bring:
- Weapons of any kind
- Space heaters
- Irreplaceable valuables
Each semester, ISSS sells a limited number of "Dorm-In-A-Box" packages. These packages include basic goods to help you ease into your new home. Packages vary from semester to semester but they generally include items such as: bed sheets, a pillow, a blanket, a mattress pad, an alarm clock, a surge protector, a laundry hamper, hangers, plates, a bowl, a cup and dinnerware utensils. These packages are particularly useful for international students who are unable to bring many personal items with them on the airplane. Dorm rooms do not come with bed linens and many students like the peace of mind that comes with knowing they will be able to sleep with sheets, a blanket, and a pillow their first night in the U.S.
If you would like more information about purchasing a "Dorm-In-A-Box", please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Payment of tuition, fees and any charges that appear on your PAWS account can be done online through your PAWS account or at the Bursar Office. You may also wire your bank account in your home country to the Bursar Office, by contacting them at 414-229-4914.
Included in your tuition costs are mandatory/segregated fees. These fees go to support certain student services like the Norris Health Center, UPASS, B.O.S.S., the Klotsche Center and many more resources offered by UWM.
For exact tuition and fees information and more information on mandatory/segregated fees, due dates, payment methods and much more, please visit the Bursar Office website.