Welcome to FIU!
We are very happy you will be joining our university community soon.
As you prepare to travel to the United States, please read the information below to make sure everything is in order before your arrival. Also, keep in mind that you should be in close contact with your Fulbright officer (in your country or in the US) and your FIU host department/faculty at all times since they may have information specifically related to your scholarship or program and your role at the university respectively.
We hope to see you soon!
Before You Arrive in the U.S
- Get informed about the exchange visitor program
Access the U.S. Department of State Welcome Brochure to learn about the program and get useful information as you prepare to travel to the United States.
- Pay SEVIS I-901 fee
If you are entering the U.S. for the first time on a J-1 visa, you must pay the SEVIS Fee.
- When you receive your DS-2019 visit the FMJFEE site to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee online or to get information about other payment options.
- Print your receipt as proof of payment.
- Obtain a J-1 Visa
Schedule an appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country to apply for a J-1 visa. You will need to have these docuemnts with you at ther time of your interview:
- Your DS-2019 issued by your agency sponsor or FIU
- Passport (must be valid at least 6 months into the future)
- Financial documents to prove the availability of funds to support your education (includes bank letter, sponsor’s letter, etc.).
- Proof of payment of SEVIS I-901 Fee (see above)
- Please see your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for other requirements.
WHEN YOU ENTER THE COUNTRY, MAKE SURE YOU USE YOUR J-1 VISA.
- Arrange your housing
Please make sure you have reserached housing options and you have made arrangements before your arrival.
Off-Campus Housing Information
For information about off-campus housing, please check
Many websites to search for rentals in the local community exist. FIU is not responsible in any way for the accuracy or availability of information on such sites and ISSS is not recommending or endorsing any of these companies but merely giving examples of the type of information that is available online. Please use caution when giving out personal information or payment to avoid internet scams, identity theft, and fraud.
When searching by zip code, keep in mind that zip codes for areas near the Modesto A. Maidique Campus include 33172 and 33174; zip codes for areas near the Biscayne Bay Campus include 33181 and 33160.
If you will be renting an apartment/room while you are in Miami, you may be required to pay a security deposit plus your first two months’ rent before you move in. Be prepared financially for a large initial payment for housing.
If you arrive before your On Campus Check In time or have not secured housing before your arrival, you may need to stay in a hotel. Average hotel rates per night run from $105 – $160 and they may not be in easy walking distance to campus. It is a good idea to make reservations before you arrive. Please see the listing of hotels near each campus.
- Prepare for travel
- The primary airport is Miami International Airport (MIA).
- Students at the Biscayne Bay Campus may also want to consider Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).
IMPORTANT: FIU has several campuses. Please determine which of the FIU Campuses you are going to before you arrive.
When to arrive?
- You should arrive before the semester begins but, remember that you may NOT enter the United States more than 30 days prior to the start of classes.
- Exchange Visitors should check with their academic department for any arrival requirement that the department may have.
What to bring to the U.S.?
In your carry-on luggage:
- Immigration Documents: Make sure to take all your immigration documents ( DS-2019, valid passport with J-1 visa stamp, and original financial documents) and that they are packed in an accessible place. Do not pack these documents in your checked luggage.
- A change of clothes and essentials in case your luggage is lost or delayed
- Medication you may need right away
- Contact information for someone in the U.S. and for FIU
Other things to consider
- Place clear labels with your name and address both inside and outside each piece of luggage.
- Make several copies of your important documents and pack them in different places in case one bag is lost.
- Consider pre-arranging your transportation from the airport (see Arrival in the U.S. below).
Arrival in the U.S
- Arriving at a U.S. Port of Entry (Immigration and Customs)
Please have the following documents ready:
- Passport with your J-1 Visa Stamp
- FIU DS-2019
- It is also recommended that you carry with you:
- Evidence of financial resources
- Paper receipt of SEVIS I-901 Fee
- Contact information of the FIU ISSS Office (24/7 Phone Number: 304-348-2421)
IMPORTANT: Make sure your passport is stamped J-1 (according to your visa) and length of stay is indicated as “D/S” (duration of status) instead of a specific expiration date.
You MUST NOT enter the U.S. using a B-1/B-2 visa or W-T (Visa Waiver)
- Transportation from the airport (taxis and shared shuttle rides)
IMPORTANT: FIU has several campuses. Please determine which campus you are going to before you arrive. Refer to the list of all FIU Campuses on FIU’s main site.
For airport-specific transportation information please visit:
You may also reserve a Super Shuttle (shared van service) prior to your arrival.
Arrival at FIU
- 1. Check in with the International Student & Scholar Services Office (ISSS)
The Office of International Student and Scholar Services at FIU welcomes you and requires that you check in with us so that we can have your information on file. This is a courtesy check in that FIU provides so that we can be in contact if needed.
IF YOU ARE A J-1 FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR (researcher, short term, specialist, non degree student researcher) you must have the following documents ready:
- Valid passport
- J-1 visa stamped into passport
- Form I-94 Arrival Record (an electronic form that you must access online after arriving in the U.S.). Enter your information to retrieve your I-94 record and then print it out
- Local U.S. Address (PO Boxes are not acceptable)
- Foreign Address
- Name and Phone # for an Emergency Contact
- Proof of health Insurannce for the duration of your stay (if your health insurance is paid by FIU provide proof that this is the case -letter from program/print out of requisition, etc).
Access the J-1 SCHOLAR CHECK IN AREA
You will not be able to check in without ALL the above documents.
You must check-in within 15 days of your program start date.
If your visa sponsor is an entity other than FIU, please contact them upon your arrival and they will give you specific instructions for check-in. Please stop by the ISSS office on campus to introduce yourself and make sure you are entered on the university records.
- 2. Attend all required and mandatory Exchange Visitor Sessions
ISSS International Student Sessions: You will be notified of the date, time, and location of these sessions.
- 3. Accessing University Systems/ Your FIU One Card
Your FIU host department/faculty will process your access to all university systems.Once your access to university systems has been granted by your host department you will be able to obtain your Universuty One Card.
- This card will be your student ID and can be used for a variety of purposes.
- It can be linked to a Checking Account (with Wells Fargo Bank) if you wish.
- You will need to bring identification to the Card Office on campus.
- For more information, visit Shop FIU.
- 4. Set Up your FIU Account and e-mail address
- 5. Money, Banking, and Driver's License
You will need to bring some money with you for your immediate expenses upon arrival. These will include temporary and permanent housing, food, transportation, utility deposits, and miscellaneous expenses. We recommend that you bring with you at least $3,000 for yourself; if you are accompanied by dependents, you will need more. If you are relying on funding from FIU, you will not receive a check for several weeks after you arrive, so you cannot depend on your salary to pay these immediate arrival expenses. Miami banks usually require several business days before checks drawn on U.S. banks will be paid, and checks drawn on foreign banks will take even longer. Therefore, you should bring the funds for your arrival expenses in cash. Please open a bank account immediately for your cash and also for any checks you may be carrying. Banks located on or near the FIU Modesto A. Maidique campus include:
It is not advisable for you to carry large sums of money with you. We recommend that you open a bank account as soon as possible.
FIU has partnerships with the following banks (although you may join any bank):
State of Florida Driver License and ID Card:
You will need a Florida driver’s license to drive in the state and the U.S. There is often a delay in your eligibility to apply for a driver license; therefore, it is advised to secure your international driver’s license before departing your home country. This will temporarily permit you to drive and allow you time to get your Florida license. If you do not need to drive, it is recommended that you get a Florida ID card. For more information, please visit: http://www.dmvflorida.org/drivers-license-nc.shtml
ALL J-1 exchange visitors must comply with the mandatory health insurance regulation. This health insurance coverage may be included in your Fulbright grant. To learn more visit our Medical Insurance page.