Pre-Arrival Checklist

Check that you have the following documents needed upon arrival at a U.S. port-of-entry.

  • Certificate of Eligibility (COE) issued by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) -  Form I-20 (for F-1 students) or Form DS-2019 (for J-1 students)
  • Passport
  • Visa for F-1 or J-1 (Canadian citizens do not need a visa for entry.)
  • SEVIS Fee receipt (payment to U. S. Department of Homeland Security for your F-1 or J-1 record). Transfer students normally are not asked for a SEVIS fee receipt because it is not their first entry on the F-1 record.
  • You should also carry a copy of your admission letter and documents that show proof of funding for your program, such as scholarship or graduate assistantship letters, bank statements, etc. These may or may not be requested or inspection.

REMINDER: If this is your first entry for a new program, the earliest that you may enter the U.S. is 30 days before the start date of your program, as shown on the COE. If you have not received a COE from UHM, please contact the Admissions Office related to your program:

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Admissions Office
Tel: (808) 956-8975 | Fax: (808) 956-4148

Graduate Students

Graduate Admissions Office, Graduate Division
Tel: (808) 956-8544 | Fax: (808) 956-4261

Visiting and Exchange Students

Mānoa International Exchange (MIX) Program
Tel: (808) 956-4728 | Fax: (808) 956-5076

Professional Schools and Special Programs

Students admitted into programs at the William S. Richardson School of Law, John A. Burns School of Medicine, or graduate programs in the Shidler College of Business, or special programs handled by specific departments, should contact the admissions offices or programs directly.

The table below summarizes the updated entry policies:

Entry PoliciesRequirement for Entry
U.S. Entry(1) Proof of WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccination AND (2) proof of negative Covid-19 test taken within one day of departure

Proof of vaccination and negative test to be screened by airlines before departure.
Hawaiʻi Entry via Direct Flight from Outside U.S.Proof of WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccination to bypass 5-day quarantine

Proof of vaccination to be screened by airlines before departure.
Hawaiʻi Entry via Flight from U.S. MainlandTo bypass quarantine, (1) Proof of WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccination, OR (2) negative Covid-19 test taken from a Trusted Testing and Travel Partner within 72 hours of departure.

Proof of vaccination should be uploaded to Safe Travels Hawaii before departure to Hawaii.
UH Campus Entry(1) Proof of WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccination AND (2) daily health check via Lumisight whenever coming to campus.

Flight to Honolulu, Hawaiʻi

If this is your first entry for a new program, the earliest that you may enter the U.S. is 30 days before the start date of your program.

Expect Delays at Airport due to Covid-19 Inspections

If you arrive in the U.S. at a mainland U.S. airport, in addition to going through Customs, you may also have to undergo health screenings, depending on the policies of that airport. The Honolulu Airport will also have health screenings, including  temperature checks and health forms to complete before you can depart.

Ground Transport from Airport

Students should travel alone for the purpose of the quarantine unless sharing the same housing. Pre-arranged airport pick-up services usually cost less than if you get a taxi once onsite. Some examples of reservation-based Airport pick-up services are:

Many Waikiki hotels also have airport shuttle services but may be reduced or suspended due to Covid-19. Contact your hotel in advance and ask.

Free Service

If you would like to arrange for ground transport in advance, the International Ministries, located next to the UHM campus, handles airport pick-up for any international student who requests it. This service may also be suspended or altered due to Covid-19. To request pick-up:

  • Email at least one week before arrival
  • In the email, given your full name, gender, arrival information (flight number and carrier, date and time of arrival) and address where you wish to be taken in Honolulu.
  • You will receive a response with instructions for meeting the volunteer at the airport arrival area.

Other Options


If you have received on-campus student housing, please check UHM Student Housing Services for dates that you can move in. Most dorms open on the Tuesday before the start of school, and then the rest open on Friday. Staying in UHM housing require students to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

East-West Center Housing, although located on campus, is separate from UHM Student Housing Services, and has its own policies and dates for moving in.

If you arrive before campus housing opens or you have not found any housing, you will need to reserve a hotel room or other temporary lodging early to give you enough time to look for long-term housing.

On your UH Mānoa admission letter, you should have received your UH username. With your UH username, you can activate your MyUH account that will give you access to email, registration and other functions. Activate your account here.

An activated account will also help when you arrive on campus and need to access a computer or the WiFi connection on campus!

You must complete the university's Health Clearance Form, showing proof of required vaccinations, and clear a tuberculosis (TB) test. The Health Clearance Form with proof of your vaccinations may be sent ahead of your arrival to University Health Services. You do not have to have a U.S. doctor sign the form before sending it in. University Health Services will review the vaccinations, and if considered clear, will sign the form for you. If there is an issue with a vaccination, they will tell you.

TB tests must be completed by a U.S. licensed physician. Because such physicians may not be available in your home country, you must to take the TB test once you arrive in the U.S. Such tests can be taken at the University Health Services clinic. Let University Health Services know that you are an international student and can only take the TB test once you arrive in the U.S. They may be able to adjust any registration holds and keep you from having your classes dropped.

Failure to complete the Health Clearance will prevent you from moving into student housing and attending classes, and you may have all of your registered classes dropped.

All students coming to campus and/or in student housing must have proof of Covid-19 vaccination and upload a copy of their vaccination card to Lumisight, which is the application used by the university to track vaccinations and health checks. Confirmation of approval or rejection will be sent to you directly. Do not contact UH Health Services about the Covid-19 vaccination approval. There are medical and religious exceptions to the vaccination, which must be approved by the university.

For more information, go to the UH Manoa's website for Covid-19 guidelines.

International students on F-1 and J-1 visas must prove that they have a minimum amount of insurance to cover the length of their program. The university sponsors its own Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), which is a fully comprehensive plan, which means it covers a wider range of situations and services. However, students may purchase other options, as long as they meet minimum requirements set by the university. Health insurance may be purchased before you arrive in the U.S. Go to the ISS Health Insurance page to read about insurance minimums and proof requirements.

***Please be aware that many inexpensive "travel" insurance plans may not offer the comprehensive benefits that you may need while you are studying in the U.S., and many healthcare providers, including the campus Health Clinic, may not accept these insurance plans. So, you may have to pay the full cost of your medical visits yourself and then deal with reimbursements with your health insurance company.

J-1 students must show proof of health insurance to the ISS Office. They must have their health insurance provider complete and sign the J-1 Health Insurance Provider Certification form. This form, once completed, should be included in the Visa Clearance document verification.

F-1 students must show proof of health insurance to the Student Health Insurance Office (SHIO). Go to their website and follow the instructions for clearance.

If you do not prove that you have adequate health insurance by the start of the semester, a hold will be activated on your registration and block you from adding or dropping courses.

On your UHM admission letter, it may show that you are required to take an English Language Placement Test through the English Language Institute (ELI).

The ELI Placement Test is given to new international students whose prior coursework and test scores indicate a possible need for additional English language instruction to succeed in a U.S. university.   Based on your ELI placement test results, you may be exempted from ELI, or placed into a series of required ELI courses.

Students who are required to take the ELI test will have the “ELI hold” placed on their student record at the time of admission and will not be able to register for courses until the hold is removed.  The ELI hold is removed when you register for any ELI Placement date, but will be reset if you fail to appear for the test.

By signing up early for an ELI Placement Test, you can avoid having the ELI hold stop your registration for courses.

All new F-1 and J-1 students must undergo a visa regulatory orientation and check-in through International Student Services (ISS), which we call "Visa Clearance." It can be completed online after your arrival. To start, go to Visa Clearance. After that you can see our plans for Welcome Events for the upcoming semester.

If you do not complete Visa Clearance by the start of the semester, you will have a hold on your registration that will block you from adding or dropping courses.

Welina Manoa is a university orientation for undergraduate students. You need to register in advance.

New Graduate Student Orientation, organized by the Graduate Division, is free and designed to complement orientations offered by individual graduate programs. The Graduate Division also requires specific orientations for graduate assistants. Each graduate department or school may also hold their own orientations. If you have not received such information, check with your major department.

For information on orientations happening on campus, please check with your departments or the UH Manoa website for upcoming events.

Check the UH Manoa Registration Time Table to know when you can register for classes. For registration help, consult the Registration Step-by-Step Guide produced by the Registrar's Office. Make sure you cleared any holds on your registration. You can check for holds by going to MyUH and clicking on "View Holds."

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