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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.

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. 


 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 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. ​​​​​


 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​.


 Step 3: Register for Check-In & Fundamentals

ALL new international students, including any transfers from other institutions within the U.S., are required to complete orientation and attend the ISSS Check-In & Fundamentals event.

For more information and to sign up for a session now visit the Check-In & Orientation Page.​​


 Step 4: Register for Classes

It is best for you to register for classes prior to your arrival in the U.S., this allows you to prepare prior to coming to the U.S.

In order to see the steps and requirements on how to Enroll and the amount of hours you are required to enroll please see our Academic Requirements Page​


 Step 5: 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
  • 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.


 Step 6: Coming to Denver

Transportation from Airport:

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

  • Contact your student group for pick-up possibilities. CU Denver does not offer pick up services, but some of the student groups may. You can visit the Student Clubs and Organizations Page
  • Shuttle services (about $20 per person to downtown; cash or credit)
  • RTD A-line ($9 one way; cash only) arrives at Union Station.
  • RTD bus​ ($8 one way; exact change – cash only) The bus will drop you off at Denver Union Station.  ​
  • Supershuttle
  • ABC shuttle
  • Taxi ($70 flat rate to downtown; cash only)
  • Metro taxi: (303) 333-3333
  • Yellow Cab: (303) 777-7777
  • Zone Cab: (303)444-8888
  • Uber
  • Lyft​

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

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.

​​Health Insurance and Immunization Requirements

As an international student at CU Denver you have specific requirements regarding health insurance and immunizations that you will need to comply with.  See the site below for more information on this.

Health Requirements for International Students


 Step 7: 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 ISSS Check-In & Fundamentals 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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