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Arrival in Denver


On behalf of the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) unit within the Office of International Affairs (OIA), we are excited to have you join us for the upcoming academic year! You will soon become part of an international community that includes nearly 1,500 international students and scholars from nearly 100 different countries. We trust you will find your time here rewarding and complimentary to your personal and professional goals.

In order to ensure a successful start to your academic career at the University of Colorado Denver, you will find detailed information regarding next steps as you prepare for departure to the U.S. and up on arrival in Denver. You will find information about various topics, such as the visa application process, arrival at the U.S. port of entry, housing, health insurance, academic advising, registering for classes, and much more.

For more information make sure to complete the Required Online International Student Orientation​​

Please see the guides to the right, and review the steps below to avoid any delays up on your arrival to the U.S. and CU Denver.​​

Additionally, see the following letter from the Institute of International Education on Coming to the U.S.​ as a supplement to the information below. 

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 Immigration, VISAs, and Arrival at Port of Entry

 

 Step 1: Paying the I-901 Fee

Students applying for F-1 or J-1 visas for initial attendance at a university must first pay the I-901 SEVIS fee of $200 for F-1 students and $180 for J-1s. We recommend that you pay the fee on-line​. This fee should be paid prior to making a visa appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. F-2 and J-2 spouses and dependent children DO NOT have to pay this fee. You must take your fee receipt for proof of payment to your visa appointment. Payments can be made on-line by using a credit card, by mail or by Western Union. If paying by Western Union or mail, please keep in mind that it will take several weeks to get a receipt; please pay this fee early to avoid delays. Please visit www.fmjfee.com to pay the fee and complete an I-901 form.

Hints for filling out the I-901:

  • Double-check that the information on the I-20 or DS-2019 is correct.
  • If it is not, do NOT pay the fee and contact CU Denver’s International Student & Scholar Services to correct the I-20 or DS-2019.
  • The school code is DEN214F00301000 (for F-1s) or P-1-03858 (for J-1s).
  • Your SEVIS number is in the top, right-hand corner and begins with N00.
  • Print at least two copies – one to take to the Embassy or Consulate and one for your records.

If you have applied to more than one school, you must decide which school you will attend and pay the SEVIS fee using that school’s information. If you are denied a visa, you cannot get a refund of your SEVIS fee. If you decide to reapply for a visa within the next 12 months, you will not have to pay the fee again. ​​​​​

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 Step 2: Student VISA Application at U.S. Consulate

You should also make an appointment as soon as possible with the US Consulate where you will be applying for your student visa. You must enter the country BEFORE the reporting date on your I-20 or DS-2019. In fact, you can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the reporting date. Arriving early will allow you time to settle into the Denver area before the start of school. You can go to the Department of State website to see the estimated wait time for the Embassy or Cons​ulate nearest you. The visa can be issued up to 120 days before the reporting date on your documents.

Be prepared for the visa interview. The officer must assume that each prospective student is planning on staying in the U.S. It is your job to prove otherwise. Any ties to your country – family, jobs, land ownership, etc – will help show that you do plan to return to your home country after you are finished with school. Take any documents that you think will help your case including your original financial documents or letter of sponsorship, but don’t be surprised if the officer does not ask to see anything. The officer will probably spend less than a few minutes with you as well.

You should take:

  • I-20/DS-2019
  • Proof of having paid the SEVIS fee
  • Evidence of financial resources
  • Evidence of English ability
  • Evidence that you intend to depart the U.S. upon completion of your studies
  • Form DS-160
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Proof of payment of Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee
  • Visa reciprocity fee (if applicable)
  • Transcripts, test scores (GRE, TOEFL, etc)

You can find specific information about the consulate, appointment process, application forms, and visa fee at the Department of State website​.


  • If you are an F-1 student and have received an "Initial" (not "Transfer Pending") I-20 and have applied and received your visa stamp, the name of the school listed on the visa stamp must match the school you plan on attending. If your F-1 visa stamp indicates a different school than the one you will be attending, you must apply for a new visa, rather than transferring after entering the U.S. This requirement is stated on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement web site.
  • IF you are Canadian, you do not need a physical VISA.  You will be issued a VISA stamp upon entry into the U.S.

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 STEP 3: ARRIVING AT THE U.S. PORT OF ENTRY

After you receive your visa, you may enter the U.S. up to 30-days before the reporting date listed on their immigration document. Make sure that you pack all your important documents in your carry-on luggage.

This should include:

  • Passport
  • I-20/DS-2019
  • Evidence of financial resources
  • Evidence of student status, such as recent tuition receipts, transcripts or proof of registration
  • Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797 (if Applicapable)
  • Name and contact information for your Designated School Official

You can also read more about what will happen at the Port of Entry at the ICE website.

Traveling to the U.S. with a Sufficient Amount of Money

When you travel to the U.S., be prepared with enough of U.S. currency to pay for your first meals, transportation, and incidentals. A credit card that you can us in the United States will also be helpful. Study the US exchange rates prior to your trip to the US so you are prepared to handle your travel and settling expenses.​

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 Arrival in Denver, Housing, and other Pre-Arrival Information

 

 Transportation from Denver International Airport (DEN)

Transportation from Airport:

Denver International Airport (DEN) is located about one hour from downtown Denver. To get to campus from the airport, you have a few options:

More information is available on Level 5 (ground transportation and baggage claim). Please see www.flydenver.com for information on DIA and services provided. You can also call (303) 342-4059 or email ground.transportation@diadenver.net.

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 Finding Housing in Denver

Finding Housing:

Finding Housing can be difficult in a new city. Please see our handy International Housing Guide below and the site for on-campus housing that will assist you in finding proper housing on or off-campus.


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 Arrival to the University of Colorado Denver

Once Arriving in Denver you will want to prepare to start your semester at CU Denver. Below are some of the things your will need to complete before classes start:
  1. Attend the International Student Welcome Event​
  2. Activate your University E-mail
  3. Update your local address in the Portal
  4. Meet with your Advisor and Register for classes
  5. Get your Student ID
  6. Comply with the Health Insurance and Immunization Requirements​
  7. Pay your Bill with the Bursar's Office​​​
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