Checklist of Things to Do Before You Come to UC Davis


Once you have been admitted, you will work with many departments on campus to meet all the requirements necessary to study here at UC Davis. 

Please use this Pre-Arrival Checklist to meet requirements at SISS which are mandatory for you to maintain your lawful immigration status while you are in the U.S. 

If you are an undergraduate student (Bachelor), please follow the link to this helpful resource: Pre-arrival Guide for International Students.

Before you Request your I-20/DS-2019, you MUST Submit Your Statement of Intent to Register

Once you've received your Letter of Acceptance, you will need to submit your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR):

For Undergraduate Students:

Follow the steps outlined in the Admitted Students website MyAdmissions web site. For Admissions questions, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions ( 

For Graduate Students:

Submit your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) as directed by the Office of Graduate Studies. Telling your new graduate program that you are coming to UC Davis won't activate you as a student in the system. For questions contact the Office of Graduate Studies (

Before You Arrive:

1. Select Your Visa Type

Review the guide to  F-1/J-1 Student Visas to decide whether you will be applying for a F-1 or J-1 student visa.

2.  I-20/DS-2019 Request

Request an I-20/DS-2019 from SISS using the appropriate I-20/DS-2019 Request Form downloaded from Student Forms. Plan ahead - SISS begins processing new Fall quarter requests for I-20s or DS-2019s in April. Mailing options for delivery of I-20/DS-2019 document.

3. Pay the SEVIS Fee or Request a SEVIS Record Transfer

Students must pay a SEVIS fee as part of the process necessary to obtain a student visa.  Make sure to keep the receipt in a safe place.  It will be required as part of the visa application process.

For students already studying in the United States in F-1 or J-1 status, you may need to have your SEVIS record transferred to UC Davis. Provide your previous institution with the transfer instructions from the UC Davis I-20/DS-2019 request form and fill out any additional paperwork needed to request the transfer to UC Davis.  This step is necessary to issue a UC Davis I-20/DS-2019, which is required to study at UC Davis.

4. Visa Application

The only place to obtain a U.S. visa is at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Follow the instructions on the web site for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at which you will be applying. Additional information on visas can be found on the U.S. Department of State web site. There you will find specific information for both the F-1 and J-1 student/exchange visitor visas.

The Department of State's website provides visa applicants with an average wait time to obtain a visa interview. These are estimates only and government processing times are always subject to change.  Planning ahead is always recommended.  Make sure to review the visa instructions and procedures at the specific post where you will be applying.

5. Sign Up for SISS Orientation

Sign up for SISS Orientation (Fall Quarter | Winter Quarter) and a general campus orientation. These are two different kinds of orientation.  SISS Orientation is mandatory, as it includes information about what international students are required to do in order to maintain lawful status.

6. Make Flight Reservations & Ground Transportation Arrangements

Make travel arrangements for arriving in Davis with enough time to recover from jet lag before the mandatory International Student Orientation. Consult the Airport Ground Transportation guide for more information about how to get to Davis once you've arrived in country and cleared Customs and Immigration.

7.  Consider Applying for the Global Ambassador Mentorship Program

Incoming Freshman and Transfer students are welcome to apply to the Global Ambassador Mentorship Program.  See our Global Ambassador section for more details.

8. Pay Your International Student Administration and Orientation Fees

SISS charges a fee to all international students studying at UC Davis in F-1 or J-1 student status. The fee helps to pay for the administrative costs associated with orientation and advising services provided by SISS. 

Current Fees (subject to change):

  • International Student Administrative Fee (for all students except EAP): $330 per year
  • Education Abroad Program (EAP) Students Orientation Fee$95
  • Students coming to UC Davis as sponsored students, such as Fulbright students, are exempt from this fee.

All fees are paid through the Student Accounting office.  This fee will show up in MyBill approximately one month prior to the first term you are enrolled in a program. These fees help pay for the administrative costs of advising services for F-1 and J-1 students.  Students using Internet Explorer sometimes have issues with logging into MyBill.  We recommend you use a different browser or pay using Western Union.

More information about fees can be found on our Fees and Tuition page.