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)
- 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.
For the latest updates related to Covid-19, please check our Covid-19 Information page. You must also consider any entry bans the U.S. has for your country. Please review "U.S. and University Travel Alerts and Restrictions Concerning Coronavirus" on our Covid-19 Information page.
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 Admissions Office
Tel: (808) 956-8975 | Fax: (808) 956-4148
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 U.S. currently has entry bans in place for the following countries: Brazil, China, Iran, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and the Schengen Area of Europe.
Exceptions to Ban
- F-1 students coming from the UK, Ireland, and the Schengen Area countries will be allowed to enter the U.S.
- J-1 students coming from the UK, Ireland and the Schengen Area countries may also receive an exception to enter the U.S., but should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to request a National Interest Exception (NIE). You must have an NIE document or notation on your visa to be allowed entry.
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.
Covid-19 Test Required for Departure
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order that all international travelers to the United States must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure. This order goes into effect January 26, 2021, and affects all travelers, including U.S. citizens and residents. Be advised that the CDC requirement and the Hawai'i quarantine requirement are separate.
All arrivals to Hawaii (resident and non-resident) are required to quarantine for at least 10 days in one place of lodging. Read and follow the directions on the Hawaii Department of Transportation website regarding Continental United States and International Travelers. Meals must be arranged to be delivered to your place of lodging, and you may not venture outside during this time. Failure to follow this quarantine may result in arrest and a fine. Students should take this into account when planning their arrival date.
To avoid quarantine, travelers may provide a state-approved negative test from a state-approved provider within 72 hours of departure. To pass the CDC screening and Hawai'i quarantine, it would be best to take one test that is on the list of Hawai'i providers, if possible. See Safe Travels Hawaii Program website for details.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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 measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination, and clear a tuberculosis (TB) test. The Health Clearance Form can be sent ahead of your arrival to University Health Services.
Some students may have the MMR vaccination, but must still take a TB test with 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.
If you do not have the MMR vaccination, please know a TB test must be taken at least 4 weeks apart from the MMR vaccination.
Failure to complete the Health Clearance will prevent you from moving into student housing and attending classes, and you will have all of your registered classes dropped.
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), but 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.
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 Orientation and Visa Clearance.
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."