Orientation is an exciting time and may be one of your first visits to USF's Tampa Campus. Please review this information in preparation for your arrival.
Getting Your Non-Immigrant Visa
International Services provides detailed instructions on applying for a non-immigrant Visa.
Entering the U.S.
Students should carry their passport with visa stamp and Form I-20 or DS-2019 in their carry-on luggage on the airplane. Students will be given a WHITE arrival card (I-94) on the airplane that needs to be completed for the port-of-entry process. Information on the I-94 should be written clearly and match the information on the passport. The inspection officer should put a BLUE & RED stamp on the I-94 that includes the date of arrival, the visa status (F-1 or J-1) AND "D/S". This refers to the duration of status/stay that is needed for the student to complete the academic program. For current government guidelines, see the US Department of Homeland Security websites: Arriving in the United States and Arrival Procedures for Students or Exchange Visitors.
Personal Items to Bring With You
Your Pre-Arrival Homework will include a detailed list of recommendations of what you should bring with you.
It is strongly recommend that you bring at least $3,000 in U.S. traveler's checks to cover expenses during your first four weeks in the U.S. This $3,000 does not include tuition and fees, which must be paid before the start of classes. Foreign currency can typically be exchanged at local banks, but foreign checks require 4-6 weeks to clear the bank.
Arrange Travel to Tampa International Airport (TPA)
There are several smaller airports in the Tampa Bay area; however, we recommend that you coordinate your travel itinerary to Tampa International Airport (TPA). TPA is located approximately 19 miles from the University of South Florida – Tampa campus.
While students are responsible for their own transportation from the airport, we offer several options and recommendations. Some student organizations provide free airport pick up with advanced notification. We will provide additional details in your Pre-Arrival Homework.
If you prefer to arrange for your own transportation, shuttle services and taxis are available from the baggage claim area. Tampa International Airport offers additional information regarding your ground transportation options upon arrival to the U.S.
Housing / Temporary Housing Options
If you will be arriving to the US before you can move into your residence hall, we recommend staying at a nearby hotel. You can use information from Bing or Google search engines to find a nearby hotel that meets your specific needs. Major roadways close to campus are Bruce B Downs Boulevard (Blvd.), Fletcher Avenue (Ave.) and Fowler Avenue (Ave.). When making a reservation, be sure to ask about a discounted rate for USF students and families.
Once you open a bank account, you may wire money from your bank at home directly to your bank account in the United States. Wire transfers typically take 24-48 hours to complete. The USF Federal Credit Union (USFFCU) offers many services and competitive rates for USF students. USFFCU is the only bank located on the USF campus, and has the only on-campus ATMs. You can become a member of the USF Federal Credit Union during your Orientation or Glo-Bull Beginnings program.
If you have not submitted the Student Health Insurance Compliance Form, you must do so prior to the start of the semester. Florida state law requires all international students to have medical insurance while attending USF. Medical insurance is available through Student Health Services. Please visit the Student Health Services website for the required forms.
All new students to USF are required to submit a signed copy of the official USF Medical History form and submit immunization documentation for the following: (2) Measles; Rubella; Hepatitis B or waiver; Meningitis or waiver if not living on-campus.
Tuberculosis Screening is required for all International Students and U.S. born students residing at an address outside the U.S. at the time of application.
What to Bring to Orientation
Please bring the following items with you to your Orientation session. You may have already completed some of these items prior to Orientation or some may not apply to you. Please contact us if you have any questions.
- A government-issued photo ID (i.e. passport)
- Your NetID, password and University ID #
- Your immunization, insurance and medical history information
- $10 for your USF ID Card & completed application
- Any forms you need to submit to campus offices
- Your official transcripts to International Admissions
- A copy of your unofficial transcript (if you have them)
- Your academic advising form (INTO students only)
- Spending money for USF apparel
- A jacket or sweater
- An umbrella - just in case!
Please remember that attendance is mandatory. Failure to attend all portions of the Orientation will result in a hold on your course registration. Leaving Orientation to move in to your residence hall or apartment is also not allowed. Also, a friend or family member may not attend Orientation in your place - you must be present.
Academic Advising and Course Registration
Advising will include a college overview, introduction of your curriculum outline/plan and course registration.
International Admissions Office
Students with questions regarding their admission to USF should contact the International Undergraduate Admissions Office.
USF Office of Orientation
Please contact the Office of Orientation with any questions regarding your Orientation session.
Additional Immigration and Pre-Arrival Information
More information on immigration, your visa and other pre-arrival is available from International Services. We encourage you to look over the information provided to ensure a smooth entry into the United States and transition to USF.