International Students

International students who have accepted their offer, paid their administrative fee and have received an I-20 are now on their way to obtaining a student visa and beginning their journey to the U.S.

Your next step is to:

Step 1: Organize your Student Visa and immigration requirements


Applying for a Student Visa

If you wish to study in the U.S. you must have a valid student visa. The U.S. Embassy issues student visas for full time study on the understanding that you have sufficient funds for study and living expenses for the duration of your stay in the U.S. There are regulations that must be met before a student visa can be issued and these vary from country to country. Information about how to apply for your student visa can be obtained from your Education Recruiter or the nearest U.S. Embassy in your country.

10 points to remember when applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa - Your visit to the U.S. Embassy

  1. Ties to your home country
  2. Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas, such as student visas, are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must therefore be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. "Ties" to your home country are the things that bind you to your home town, homeland, or current place of residence: job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc. If you are a prospective undergraduate, the interviewing officer may ask about your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-range plans and career prospects in your home country. Each person's situation is different, of course, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate, or letter which can guarantee visa issuance. If you have applied for the U.S. Green Card Lottery, you may be asked if you are intending to immigrate. A simple answer would be that you applied for the lottery since it was available but not with a specific intent to immigrate. If you overstayed your authorized stay in the United States previously, be prepared to explain what happened clearly and concisely, with documentation, if available.

  3. English
  4. Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview, but do NOT prepare speeches! If you are coming to the United States solely to study intensive English, be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country.

  5. Speak for Yourself
  6. Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf. If you are a minor applying for a high school program and need your parents there in case there are questions, for example about funding, they should wait in the waiting room.

  7. Know the Program and How It Fits Your Career Plans
  8. If you are not able to articulate the reasons you will study in a particular program in the United States, you may not succeed in convincing the consular officer that you are indeed planning to study, rather than to immigrate. You should also be able to explain how studying in the United States relates to your future professional career when you return home.

  9. Be Brief
  10. Because of the volume of applications received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep your answers to the officer's questions short and to the point.

  11. Additional Documentation
  12. It should be immediately clear to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. Remember that you will have 2-3 minutes of interview time, if you are lucky.

  13. Not All Countries are Equal
  14. Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically, applicants from those countries are more likely to be intending immigrants. They are also more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after their study in the United States.

  15. Employment
  16. Your main purpose in coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. While many students do work off-campus during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their U.S. education. You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program. If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the United States. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the United States. Volunteer work and attending school part-time are permitted activities.

  17. Dependents Remaining at Home
  18. If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gains the impression that your family will need you to remit money from the United States in order to support themselves, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied. If your family does decide to join you at a later time, it is helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa.

  19. Maintain a Positive Attitude
  20. Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.

The above is Credited to NAFSA & to Gerald A. Wunsch, Esq., 1997, then a member of the Consular Issues Working Group, and a former U.S. Consular Officer in Mexico, Suriname, and the Netherlands; and Martha Wailes of Indiana University for their contributions to this document. NAFSA also appreciates the input of the U.S. Department of State.

Step 2: Organize your accommodation


On-campus accommodations

The University of New Hampshire guarantees you on-campus housing as a Navitas at UNH student. As a resident on campus at UNH, you will have greater opportunities to take advantage of the campus activities and facilities.
The residence halls provide a safe, clean, well-maintained living environment. Professional staff are always on hand to offer support for students and provide activities to create communities in the residence halls.


All of the residence halls offer amenities and features that to make you feel at home at UNH. The residence halls are only a short walk from the academic buildings, dining halls, library, Memorial Union Building, Recreation Center, Whittemore Center and more. Each room includes a bed, dresser, desk, chair, and wardrobe. Rooms are wired for high-speed internet access, standard cable television, and for local and on campus calling; however, you must purchase your own phone and television. All of the residence halls have common study lounges (with wifi), recreation lounges, kitchens, laundry facilities and vending machine areas.

Academic Facilities

Students who live on campus have the opportunity to take advantage of the study halls, libraries, Mathematics Center, University Advising and Career Center, the Center for Academic Resources (CFAR) and many more facilities.

Campus Dining

The UNH dining plan offers a variety of dining options to suit all students' needs. Students living on campus all have unlimited meal plans. That means they can come to the dining halls as many times a day as they would like. UNH has 3 dining halls the offer stir fry, salad bars, home cooked food, pizza bars and grills, all with completely different menus. UNH also has a food court and cafes all over campus for students to grab a bite to eat in between classes.

Students under the age of 18

Enrolled students under the age of 18 are allowed to live on campus. All students under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian sign the housing contract as well as the health form allowing medical treatment for students.

Shuttle bus

UNH has a free shuttle service that takes students around campus and also to the surrounding shopping centers and nearby towns. The shuttle services run 7 days a week during the school year and on a reduced service schedule during the rest of the year.

Step 3: Book Navitas at UNH's Airport Pickup service


Before the start of the semester, Navitas at UNH offers an orientation program to help you prepare for the semester. At orientation you will learn all you need to know about life at UNH. You will tour the campus, meet the Navitas staff, set up a U.S. bank account and prepare to start the semester. If you would like to arrive in Durham prior to the start of orientation, you will need to make arrangements for where to stay prior to moving into the dorm. The Holiday Inn Express: Durham (UNH) ( offers convenient accommodations close to campus. If you plan on traveling within the United States before the start of classes, plan on arriving into the U.S. early and arriving in Durham on time for orientation. Legal Documents to have in your possession: You may be asked to present all the following at the Port of Entry, so have them easily accessible in your carry-on along with your Airline Tickets:

  • Passport
  • Visa Document (Form I-20) - If the U.S. Embassy returned your visa document in a sealed envelope only to be opened by a U.S. Official at the U.S. Port of Entry, please honor this.
  • University of New Hampshire Admissions letter
  • The Original Financial Documentation that you provided to U.S. Embassy or Consulate.


The Official at the Port of Entry will write "F-1" and "D/S" according to your visa type. Make sure they do this correctly before walking away. If they did not, politely ask them to do so. Sometimes Customs and Border Protection agents may not appear friendly. Do not be nervous, calmly present the documents that the agents requests and answer any questions they ask you.

Airport Reception

We provide transportation from Boston Logan International Airport to UNH residence halls. To request pick up upon arrival to Boston Logan International Airport, please complete the Arrival Confirmation Form at at least 10 days before arrival.

Step 4: Find out more about living in Durham


State: New Hampshire
Population: 14,638
Area: 24.8 Square Miles
Currency: United States Dollar
Electricity: 120V
Languages: English
Religions: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Presbyterian, Unitarian Universalist, Episcopalian and more.


Durham has a wonderfully diverse climate with warm summers, cold winters and a mild spring and fall. The unpredictable weather which can change very quickly is often a topic of polite conversation. The average low temperature is around 24°F (-4°C) and highest is around 85°F (29°C) over the year.

Things to do

Ski, hike, shop, play soccer, golf, bike, white water raft, go to live concerts, go to the beach, visit art galleries, go to Fishercats baseball games, kayak, golf, whale watch, go to Boston.

Attractions in the surrounding area

The White Mountains, beaches, ski resorts, Portsmouth, Boston's historic Freedom Trail, Fenway Park (home to the Boston Red Sox).

Time Zone

New Hampshire is located in the Eastern Standard time zone. On the second Sunday in March at 2am we enter Daylight Savings Time, so turn your clocks ahead one hour. Turn them back one hour on the first Sunday in November at the end of Day Light Savings Time. Mark your calendar; it's easy to forget!

Bank Account

Most international students open a bank account when they arrive in the U.S. Bank of America has ATMs (automated teller machines) on campus and People's United Bank has an office branch nearby, but students may choose another bank. During orientation, People's United Bank will speak to you about opening a bank account. Checking - This is the most common type of account for everyday needs. When you open a checking account, the bank will issue you a debit card that can be used to pay for purchases in most stores and to make cash withdrawals at ATMs. A charge made to your debit card is deducted from your account immediately. The bank will typically issue you a few free temporary checks, but you will have to pay to order more. Checks are often used to pay rent and bills. Many people prefer to bank and pay their bills online or over the telephone. Ask about these options, too. Important: It is quite common for banks to put a hold on large deposits. If you need access to certain funds, find out if and for how long a hold will be put on your funds. Also, before wiring funds to or from your home country, make sure to find out how much it will cost and how long it will take.

United States Currency

Bills are issued in denominations of $100, $50, $20, $10, $5 and $1. Coins are issued in denominations of 25¢, 10¢, 5¢ and 1¢ cent(s). penny = $ .01 dime = $ .10 nickel = $ .05 quarter = $ .25 Tip: Some small stores will not accept $100 bills. It is common to carry small bills or pay with a credit or debit card (ATM bank card) for large purchases. Be aware that there may be service charges for using your debit card.

Post Office

The US post office is the most commonly used method of delivery for mail within the United States. For packages or mail within the US, please see the example address below.

Mr. /Mrs. /Ms. First Name Last Name
1234 Road Name
City, State, Zip Code

Students interested in sending mail to their home country will be advised to look into using a service such as FedEx, DHL, or UPS.

Students living in the residence halls are assigned a mail box in the Memorial Union Building. The address you will use to have items mailed to you is:

Your Name
[Your mailbox number] Granite State Room
Durham, NH 03824


Tipping your server at a restaurant, nightclub, taxi/cab, and bar/pub is standard. In general, a tip of 15% to 20% of the total amount before taxes is suggested. It is also customary to tip for haircuts, manicures and massages.

Identification Card

In order to purchase alcohol or attend events where alcohol will be served, you will need to prove that you are 21 years or older. You will need one piece of official ID with your name, photo and date of birth on it (passport or driver's license / state ID). If you do not have a driver's license, you can obtain an official New Hampshire identification card. New Hampshire ID cards are available through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

  • Bring one piece of primary and one piece of secondary identification to any driver licensing office.
  • Pay the New Hampshire ID card fee and have your photo taken.

Local Media

Newspapers Television Radio
New Hampshire Union Leader WMUR (local) WHEB
The Portsmouth Herald WENH (local) WOKQ
Foster's Daily Democrat WPXG (local) WUNH