Pre-Arrival Information

Pre-Arrival Information

Basic Visa and Pre-Departure Information

Becoming an International Student or Exchange Visitor in the U.S.
Overview of the process of applying for entry to the United States as a student or exchange visitor and guidance on what to expect upon arrival in the U.S.

10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Visa
A list of 10 key points that can assist students and scholars with the visa application and interview appointment. 

Pre-departure Orientation for Chinese Students
Though designed for people in China who have been admitted to a U.S. university, this resource may be a useful tool for all first-time as well as returning visitors.

Before You Leave Your Home Country

Travel Arrangements

It is important that you have all of your travel arrangements finalized before leaving.

  •  Make sure you know your flight itinerary, and have transportation arranged to and from the airport.
  • Be sure to carry all important phone numbers and contact information for your contacts in Providence (and in other U.S. cities).
  • Keep this information separate from your travel documents (I-20, DS-2019, I-797 approval notice etc.) and passport.
  • Your passport and travel documents need to be readily accessible for immigration officials.

 For F-1 and J-1 international students/scholars it is often helpful to arrive in the U.S. earlier than your official start date as listed on your immigration document. Then you will have time to find and set up housing, if you haven't done already, and become acquainted with the Providence area. Any maps or directions you might need are easily accessible online at

What to Bring

Important Documents
  • Your original travel documents (passport, I-20/DS-2019, etc.) and multiple copies (clear, easily read copies) to be kept separately in case of emergency
  • Your driver's license or international driver's license
  • A copy of your driving record, if you plan on purchasing an automobile in the U.S.
  • A supply of all prescription medications with a description of each written by your doctor
  • Immunization/vaccination records for student health center (for students only)
  • If you have dependents who will be attending school in the U.S., be sure to bring birth certificates or proof of age and all medical, dental, and academic records for them

Brown University is located in the northeastern area of the United States known as New England. This region is known for its changeable seasonal weather. If arriving in the winter, make sure you arrive with a warm coat and other cold weather clothing.

  • On-campus – jeans, shorts, T-shirts/shirts are pretty standard
  • Formal wear – suits & dresses are important to have for formal events/receptions and for interviews
  • Winter wear – sweaters, warm coat, hat, scarf, and gloves are essential in New England in the winter months
  • Footwear – sneakers, sandals/ casual shoes, at least one pair of formal shoes, and if you will be at Brown during the winter, months a pair of warm winter boots (which can be purchased after arriving)
Personal Belongings
  • An extra pair of glasses or contact lenses
  • Photographs and maps of your home country (and other sentimental objects from home)
  • An updated list of contacts (including information for friends & family from home & in the U.S.)
  • Your favorite music from your home-country
  • A small first aid or emergency kit including items like thread, band aids, antibacterial ointments, non-prescription medicines
  • Spending money since you may not be paid for positions or your financial aid might not start until weeks after your arrival

PLEASE NOTE - Most household items can be purchased in the U.S. for reasonable prices; therefore it is best to leave these items in your home country (i.e. kitchen items, bed linens, towels, etc.)