ISS: International Student Services handles all issues related to your immigration status.
COE: The Certificate of Eligibility is issued by your sponsoring school that provides information on your program of study. A COE may be for F-1 student status (“Form I-20”) or J-1 student status (“Form DS-2019”).
SEVIS: The Student & Exchange Visitor Information System is an immigration record database. SEVIS ID#: Beginning with “N” followed by ten digits. Each record has a unique number. Find yours at the top right corner of your COE.
New Students: For immigration purposes, student entering the U.S. on new SEVIS ID#.
Transfer Students: For immigration purposes, these are students who change sponsor schools in the U.S. The current school (“transfer-out school”) must transfer (or “release”) its SEVIS record to the new school (“transfer-in school”) so that a COE can be issued by the new school, but the SEVIS ID# remains the same.
Start & End Date: A program of study is given a definite amount of time to complete. For F-1, see section #5 on the COE for the dates. For J-1, see section #3.
Aloha, New Students!
The following things will be very helpful in planning your arrival and stay in the U.S.
- The Welcome Brochure is a step-by-step guide covering pre-arrival, arrival, UH Manoa enrollment, and living in Hawai/U.S.
- The Immigration Steps below provide a summary of what you need to do regarding immigration and visa clearance before and after you arrive in the U.S.
- Find ISS Orientation information here. Remember to sign up for Visa Clearance and the Welcome.
- Health requirements such as immunizations and TB testing are guided by Hawaii State law. Find out more in the Welcome Brochure and at Student Health Services.
- Health insurance coverage is required for all international students. For more information, check our Health Insurance page. To learn more about healthcare and health system costs in the U.S., please view this video.
- Fall/Winter Special Closures:
- The ISS office will be closed November 28-29, and December 25-January 1. Phone messages and emails to firstname.lastname@example.org will still be monitored. Advisers will respond only to emergencies during this period.
- Student Health Services (SHS) will be closed December 25 and January 1 only.
- The Student Health Insurance Office (SHIO) will be closed December 25-January 1.
As a new international student to UH Manoa, please take some time to go over the checklist of requirements below. This information was sent with your I-20 or DS-2019.
VERIFY COE INFORMATION
- You have been issued a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for F-1 or J-1 student status. Your name, birth date and citizenship on your COE and passport should match. Review all the information carefully, and sign at the bottom of the first page.
- To request a dependent COE for your spouse/child, or for questions or corrections on your COE, please contact ISS.
NEW STUDENTS: SEVIS FEE & VISA
- Pay the SEVIS fee online (fmjfee.com) and print the receipt. If you are receiving a COE with a new SEVIS ID#, you must pay this fee before applying for a visa. Dependents do not pay a fee.
- Apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy outside the U.S. The SEVIS fee receipt is required. You cannot apply for a visa while in the U.S. Canadians do not need a visa but must present the COE with passport and SEVIS fee receipt upon arrival in the U.S.
- Consult the U.S. Embassy to which you are applying for application information and processing times (travel.state.gov).
TRANSFER STUDENTS: SEVIS FEE & VISA
- If you are a transfer student, you do not pay the SEVIS fee again if keeping the same SEVIS ID# used at your previous school.
- You may stay in the U.S. or travel abroad between your programs. If you are outside the U.S. with an expired visa, you must obtain a new visa to enter the U.S.
- For F-1 transfer students only, this period between programs must be no more than 5 months.
STUDENTS IN U.S. ON A VISA STATUS OTHER THAN F-1/J-1
- Depending on your current visa status, you may not begin a program of study before your change of status to F-1 or J-1 has been approved. Consult ISS for details of your case.
BEFORE U.S. ARRIVAL: UH EMAIL, SIGN-UPS & HEALTH MATTERS
- Get a UH username and email account (hawaii.edu/account).
- Sign up for (1) Visa Clearance Session and (2) Welcome Orientation. >> Click here to RSVP online.
- Students must have approved health insurance to maintain their visa status. For F-1, clearance is obtained from the Student Health Insurance Office (SHIO). For J-1, clearance is obtained from ISS. For directions on health insurance requirements and clearance, go to hawaii.edu/issmanoa/health-insurance. Clearance may also be obtained after arrival.
- Students must meet state and university health clearance requirements BEFORE registering for courses. This includes tuberculosis (TB) testing and MMR (measles, mumps & rubella) vaccination/documentation. NOTE: TB testing takes 2-7 days, must be performed by a U.S. licensed physician, and cannot occur within 4 weeks of receiving a MMR vaccination. See hawaii.edu/shs/health_clearance for more information.
ARRIVAL IN THE U.S.
- New students may enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the program start date.
- Transfer students outside the U.S. may enter any time, but must use the UH Manoa COE.
- ISS suggests arriving at least one week prior to your time ticket appointment for course registration, so that you will have adequate time to clear registration holds.
- When you arrive, a U.S. Customs Officer will review your passport, visa and COE. Admission is confirmed with a red/blue entry stamp on the passport.
ORIENTATION, VISA CLEARANCE & COURSE REGISTRATION
- Attend Visa Clearance Session (REQUIRED). Bring your immigration documents (passport with entry stamp, visa, COE) so that ISS may verify to the U.S. government that you have arrived in proper visa status.
- Attend Welcome Orientation.
- Course registration may be completed online (myuh.hawaii.edu) if you have a UH username. As a new student, you may not be able to register because of a “registration hold.” Check your UH account to see which offices to contact to remove the registration hold. On the first day of classes, you will receive a registration hold from ISS if you did not get Visa Clearance.
What is a "hold" on my account?
Certain university offices may place a hold on your account to prevent you from registering, making registration changes, or accessing enrollment and other services. This usually occurs if you have not fulfilled certain requirements such as financial obligations, health clearance, academic advising, etc. To see the types of holds, and to find out if you have any, click here.
ISS issues a hold on new international students if they have not gotten visa clearance. ISS also places holds for J-1 student health insurance clearance. For F-1 students, health insurance holds are handled by the Student Health Insurance Office.
Health Insurance Requirement
Find out how to clear your requirement here.
English Language Requirement
Do you have an English Language Requirement? Find out about language testing and clearance here.
International Student Association (ISA) - ISA is a UHM registered indepedent organization that promotes global friendships and understanding among students; supports new and continuing students in their educational objectives; explores issues and places in Hawaii; and develops leadership among international students. [Website][Facebook]
Mentor-Mentee Program - This program was established to provide a friend (mentor) to help new students (mentee) adjust to living in Hawaii. [more...]