1. Pay the SEVIS fee (upon receipt of your I-20). The SEVIS fee is non-refundable. For more information on the SEVIS fee, and to make a payment online, visit www.FMJfee.com.
2. Apply for a visa:
- Make an appointment to visit your local U.S. Embassy with your I-20 to obtain your student visa.
- When you visit the U.S. Embassy you will need to show your acceptance letter, your original bank statement(s), and your I-20 in order to be considered for an F-1 student visa.
- Once your visa is approved by the U.S. Embassy or consulate in your home country, you may enter the United States. If you are unable to get your visa, please let us know as soon as possible. Please do not enter the United States on a tourist visa.
You will receive pre-arrival emails with important information leading up to your arrival. These emails will come to your personal email address you applied with and will come from email@example.com. It is very important that you read these emails and follow any instructions included in them.
- You should plan to arrive several days before the start of orientation in order to get settled into your new surroundings. See orientation dates on our Dates & Deadlines page.
- There is one major airport in Raleigh, the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), located around 13 miles (21 kilometers) from the university.
You will be using your Unity ID and a password you create to access very important information throughout your time at NC State.
MyPack Portal (mypack.ncsu.edu) is the website used to apply for housing, pay program costs and update personal information for your SEVIS record.
Contact the NC State Help Desk at +1 (919) 515-4357 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have trouble.
- Confirm that you will be attending the IEP in the upcoming semester by completing the arrival form that is emailed to you. You will be asked for your Raleigh housing address and your flight itinerary.
- The deadline to confirm is July 15 for the fall semester and December 1 for the spring semester (or within 10 days of receipt of your acceptance letter if after the deadline).
There are stores where you can buy essential items that are a short distance from campus so there is no need to bring large amounts of toiletries, travel size will be enough until you get to a store.
- Informal: jeans, t-shirts, shorts, sweatshirts are most common
- Formal: clothes for special events
- Umbrella and/or raincoat
- Winter coat
Weather changes fast and often in North Carolina.
- Winter temperatures vary. The coldest months are usually January through March: between 15 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 and 4 degrees Celsius)
- Summer months are hot
- Spring and fall are relatively mild
- The U.S. uses 110v electrical current.
- Laptop (if you have one)
- Can buy in the U.S. inexpensively: small items such as a hairdryer, hair straightener, electric razor, etc.
- If you bring medicine with you, your medicine should be labeled and in original containers.
- The name on the containers should match the name on your passport.
- Bring a copy of any prescription you will need using the generic name of the medication in English.
Linens and Towels
- Past students suggested one set of linens and towels for the first few days and then purchasing more if needed.
- Bed linens, pillows, blankets, and towels can be bought inexpensively in Raleigh
- Make sure your ATM card will work in the U.S. before you leave! The Cirrus, Plus, Mastercard, and Visa systems are the most widely accepted.
- Since it usually takes checks issued by overseas banks 4 to 6 weeks to clear American banks, we recommend that you bring travelers checks in U. S. dollars or a credit card to pay for your immediate expenses (housing, transportation, food, etc.).
- If you bring a check from an overseas bank, be aware that you may not have access to money from that check for 4 to 6 weeks.
- You can change your money at a local bank. There may be a conversion fee, but it will probably be less than the fee at the airport.
- During orientation, you will have the option of setting up a bank account at a common American banking institution with the assistance of the IEP staff.
- Choose whether to use NC State’s Student Blue insurance through Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina or to find your own insurance.
- Learn more about your options on the Health Insurance page.
Parking on campus requires a valid NC State Parking Permit. Permits are sold online beginning in early July. Parking permit options are limited for new students. You can request a parking pass on the NC State Transportation website, ncsu.edu/transportation.
Please visit our Transportation page to learn more about the bus system, parking around the IEP building, and other transportation options.
Once You Arrive
When you travel to the U.S., please carry with you (not in your checked baggage) your:
- Passport with the U.S. visa stamp
- Certificate of Eligibility (SEVIS Form I-20)
- Supporting documentation you provided to obtain the visa.
When you arrive in the U.S. you will automatically be issued an electronic I-94 record (record of your arrivals and departures). After your arrival, you should visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website to print your I-94. Keep the I-94 printout with your other travel documents.
We have provided a taxi voucher for you to use with the RDU Taxi Company. This taxi voucher will allow you to receive a free ride to the NC State campus or your new home.
- There will be an envelope marked “Taxi Voucher” in your acceptance packet.
- This voucher is for a taxi ride from the airport to campus or your local address only.
- If you lose your voucher, you will be responsible to pay for your taxi ride.
See the Dates and Deadlines page for the upcoming semester’s orientation dates.
You will take a placement exam on the first day of orientation. This exam will determine if you are placed into the IEP level 4, 5, or 6.
Details are located on our Placement Test page.
Please note: You must bring your passport with the U.S. visa inside, your I-94, your I-20 and any other necessary documents to orientation (such as documents for dependents, if applicable.
You are strongly encouraged to open a checking account when you arrive in Raleigh. With a checking account, you will receive a checkbook and an ATM card, which allows you to withdraw cash from your account 24-hours a day.
Services and fees vary but most banks in the area offer special student accounts with minimal or very low monthly charges. Be sure to ask about student accounts when you visit the banks (there are several within walking distance of campus) and have your passport and SEVIS Form I-20 or SEVIS Form DS-2019 with you when you open the account.
If you will be bringing a large amount of money with you at one time, you may also wish to open a savings account. Savings accounts earn interest. Banks also offer additional services such as loans, credit cards, and safe-deposit boxes at a lower cost to students.
Additional guidance on how to open a bank account will be covered during orientation.
Conditionally admitted students are required to have a meal plan since they will be living on campus. Students that applied directly to the IEP are not required to have a meal plan, but can choose to have one. University Dining offers a variety of restaurants, dining halls, convenience stores and vending machines that accept meal plans to make eating with the Pack easy.
To sign up or compare meal-plan options, go to go.ncsu.edu/MealPlans. You have until September 30 each fall and January 31 each spring to make changes.
Your IEP program fee and university fees must be paid by the last day of orientation. This is before classes begin. The total IEP program fee and mandatory university fees can be found on our Program Costs page (fees are subject to change at any time).
Payment will be made through your MyPack Portal. Payment options can be found on the Student Services Center website. Cash and personal checks are not accepted forms of payment.
Note: If you would like to pay your program fees before you arrive, please note that charges will not show on your account until orientation week. This means you will not be able to pay them until then. Guidance on how to pay will be covered during orientation.
There are grocery stores within walking distance of campus, and many a short bus ride away. There is also a shopping mall that is easily accessible by bus: Crabtree Valley Mall. There are so many great restaurants in Raleigh; you will not find the time to try them all.
Options Near Campus:
- Hillsborough Street: You will find coffee shops, sandwich shops, pubs, bookstores, and more. Most of the restaurants are inexpensive, aimed at students rather than “fine dining”.
- Mission Valley Shopping Center is located at the corner of Avent Ferry Road and Western Boulevard, about a 20 minute walk from Talley Student Union. Shops include a bookstore, pharmacy, dollar store, cinema, and several restaurants.
- Cameron Village is located on Oberlin Road between Hillsborough Street and Wade Avenue. Cameron Village offers more than 100 unique and distinctive shops, cafes, and services. It is about a 20 minute walk from Talley Student Union and is served by the NC State Wolfline Route 2.
You can give your parent or guardian online access to view your financial (billing/payment):
Log in to MyPack Portal (mypack.ncsu.edu). Go to Main Menu > Student Self Service > Campus Personal Information > Parent/Guardian Access.
To learn more about your academic records and the laws that protect them visit http://policies.ncsu.edu/regulation/ reg-11-00-01.