Welcome to NC State University! This webpage will provide you with some important information to help you prepare for your stay at NC State University. Please contact us if you have further questions after reading this material. The Office of International Services (OIS) provides many services for the University’s international students, scholars, and their families including advice on immigration-related matters, orientation programs, and English and cross-cultural programs for students, scholars, and spouses.
We look forward to meeting you upon your arrival!
OIS has hosted a number of virtual pre-arrival sessions with campus partners like the Graduate School, Undergraduate Admissions, Academic Advising Programs & Services, and Student Health Services. Topics covered include admissions, immigration, academic resources at NC State, travel to the U.S., and health insurance and required vaccinations. Past sessions can be viewed on our Packing Up webpage.
If you will be arriving late (on or after the first day of classes) please know that our experience shows that late-arriving students have a difficult time catching up academically and a stressful time settling in. This may adversely affect your grades and jeopardize your F-1 or J-1 status. Culturally and academically, it is expected that students attend all classes, arrive on campus and participate in Orientation activities, and are present and in attendance for the start of the semester.
OIS cannot give students “permission” to arrive late or write a letter (or update the SEVIS record) indicating a later program start date or late arrival date. Although the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Inspector at the US airport might permit you to enter if you arrive a week past your Program Start Date, we strongly recommend that you do everything to arrive on time. If your visa is not approved on time or you will arrive at NC State after August 27, 2021, you must defer your admission.
If you plan to arrive after August 16, 2021 (but on or before August 27, 2021), new graduate students must notify and request permission from your academic department; new undergraduate students should consult with their academic advisors.
If you request a letter from your department, in general, a scanned and printed image of the letter should be sufficient and should state the following:
- How late the department is willing to let you start the semester.
- That you are pre-registered for full-time enrollment and that you will be able to catch up with your classes.
- If applicable, that your late arrival will not negatively impact your eligibility for and ability to do your graduate assistantship (TA/RA position).
Upon arrival to NC State University, you must check-in with OIS.
Late arriving students are required to maintain full-time enrollment throughout the semester (no reduced course loads will be approved for students who are not able to find the right classes or are unable to catch up or are likely to make a poor grade) and new students should be prepared to attend classes while settling in since orientation services are no longer offered after classes begin. The New International Student Orientation Fee is charged to all new international students regardless of the date of arrival or whether or not any services are utilized.
Once you are issued an I-20 or DS-2019 from Admissions, you can apply for a student visa to facilitate your travel to the U.S. This page offers a brief overview of how to apply for a student visa. However, your closest U.S. embassy is the best source of information about the visa application process.
For newly admitted students, please pay special attention to relevant COVID-19 impacts, which may include embassy closures or delays.
NC State requires students to complete their immunization requirements before arriving on campus. To ensure compliance with North Carolina immunization laws, all students must submit information about their health history and an immunization record to NC State’s Student Health Services via HealthyPack Portal.
For immunization-related questions, please contact the Immunizations Coordinator through the HealthyPack Portal. You can find more information about Immunization Requirements on the Student Health Services website.
All international students on F-1 and J-1 visas are required to maintain health insurance throughout the duration of their status. The UNC System has a health insurance plan available for purchase for all degree-seeking international students, regardless of semester credit hour level.
Please note: Students on Teaching and Research Assistantships will be provided NC State health insurance through the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP) which satisfies the health insurance requirement.
OIS has a number of resources that address COVID-19 policies related to international travel. Please review our Travel During COVID webpage as well as the New Student section of the OIS COVID-19 FAQ page. NC State follows all recommendations and requirements issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
OIS has worked with partners in Student Health Services and University Housing to create self-quarantine guidelines to provide guidance on how and where to self-quarantine for students who will be required to do so.
Once you have your Unity ID and password, you can register for courses in MyPack Portal. Consult with your Academic Advisor or Director of Graduate Program (DGP) for advice on course load and requirements. Note that you may see an “advising hold” when you attempt to register for classes if your academic department or academic program requires you to consult with your academic advisor before registering. If you are not sure who your advisor is, graduate students can locate contact information for the Director of Graduate Programs (DGP) here and undergraduate students can identify who their academic advisor is here.
Keep in mind that all international students are required to be enrolled at full-time status. The Student Services Center provides more detailed information on how to register for classes on their website.
NC State University Housing is owned and managed by the university. The cost of on-campus housing is usually comparable to off-campus housing and comes with several benefits. The University Housing Office provides comfortable housing in residence hall communities at reasonable prices. Several residence halls, such as Alexander Hall and Turlington Hall, pair American and international students as roommates. Residence halls also offer unique cross-cultural programs such as ethnic dinners, lectures, and cultural events. E.S. King Village is NC State’s student family housing complex. The main goal of E.S. King Village is to provide a safe, well-maintained, comfortable living environment with reasonable rental rates.
Please note that NC State University has a requirement that first-year undergraduate students live in on-campus housing. This requirement will remain in place for the 2021-2022 academic year but an appeals process exists and has been adapted for the unique circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can learn more about the appeals process here.
Raleigh is a rapidly developing city and securing affordable off-campus housing may be a challenge due to the current demand and expense of rental units. Therefore it is important to try and secure accommodations as early as possible. These accommodation options can include rooms in private residences, private apartments, apartments shared by multiple (2-4) occupants, and more. It is reasonable to expect off-campus housing to cost between $250 to $800 per month depending on the number of people sharing the expenses. When looking for housing make sure to consider whether or not the price includes utilities (water, sewer, electricity, gas, internet, etc.) which could increase your monthly costs.
A signed lease (contract) and a security deposit, usually one month’s rent, are also required for most off-campus housing. In addition, utility companies may require an advance deposit to activate their services. Please note that a lease is a legally binding document. Lawyers at NC State’s Student Legal Services can review your lease for free before you sign it to make sure everything is in proper order. More information about your rights as a tenant leasing an apartment can be found on Student Legal Services website. If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NC State University now also provides information about off-campus housing options, including a roommate search portal and suggested resources when considering an off-campus apartment.
OIS does not handle student accounts. Students are billed for tuition and fees by the University Cashier’s Office. Please visit the Cashier’s Office website for information on payment options. If you have a question about your account or payment, please contact the Cashier’s Office directly at email@example.com. Please note that Fall 2021 tuition and fee billing will take place on July 8, 2021.
All new international students are charged a one-time International Orientation Fee, which will be automatically added to your Student Account. This mandatory fee covers the costs of developing and facilitating International Orientation, as well as programs and events for international students throughout your time at NC State.
The Port of Entry is the first city in which you arrive in the United States. You will be asked to show your immigration documents to be given permission to enter the country.
You will need to carry the following documents with you in your carry-on bag, NOT in your checked bags:
- Valid Passport With Your F-1 Or J-1 Visa
- I-20 or DS-2019 Form
- Supporting documentation that you showed to the United States Embassy to obtain your visa.
You Have Arrived is a short video produced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that explains what to expect at the Port of Entry. Please note that international students are not eligible to use the Global Entry system. Our office also provides additional information on immigration and travel on our website.
If you need assistance locating your baggage or transportation when you arrive at the Raleigh Durham (RDU) airport, please visit the information desk located in the baggage claim area of both terminals. The RDU information desks are staffed daily and their staff will be happy to assist you.
NC State is approximately 15 miles (24 km) from the airport. Ample transportation is still available from RDU International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic and airport staff continue to update their transportation webpage with transportation providers that are permitted to serve RDU International Airport. Available shared transportation services include shuttles and taxis as well as shared ride services like Uber and Lyft. If you plan to book a taxi or shuttle, OIS recommends that you reserve your airport transportation BEFORE you leave your home country to ensure that your chosen transportation method will be available upon arrival to Raleigh.
The RDU information desks referenced above have courtesy phones for airport customer use if you are required to call your transportation service once you have your luggage and are ready to be picked up.
Whether you are an incoming undergraduate or graduate student, you will be required to participate in orientation events. More information about OIS Orientation events can be found on the Orientation Schedule webpage.
ALL STUDENTS MUST CHECK IN WITH OIS as soon as possible after arriving in the United States. This is a requirement to maintain your immigration status.
Check-In is required by law for all new international students so that we may meet you and have a record of your arrival. At Check-In we will make copies of your immigration documents and provide useful information and a check list to help you accomplish important tasks upon your arrival to NC State.