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What is International Student Orientation, and who needs to attend it?

Orientation will teach you helpful information about immigration rules and campus resources. Keep in mind that every section of the online orientation is mandatory. Please check your UMail every day for updates and info about any missing requirements. Once you complete the ISSS orientation, your SEVIS (immigration) record will be Activated.

The International Student Orientation is mandatory for all international students studying with an F-1 or J-1 student visa. This includes international freshman, returning students, transfer students, graduate students, Learning Abroad exchange students, and students returning to school after OPT or STEM OPT. Other campus orientations (New Student Orientation, Transfer Orientation, orientation by your academic department, etc.) will NOT satisfy the requirement for International Student Orientation. If you are unsure if this requirement applies to you, please see the answers below or email us at

Yes. The fee is $75. This fee covers the expenses necessary to bring you a great orientation experience. This fee can be paid conveniently online with a credit card or bank transfer. Find details on the fee policy, as well as payment instructions here.

Only students studying with an F-1 or J-1 student visa need to attend International Student Orientation. However, you may be required to attend a different orientation on campus. Please contact the Office of Orientation and Transition or your department advisor for more information.

If you are on a J-1 visa in the Research Scholar, Professor, Short-Term Scholar, or Student Intern categories, please email for more details on the J-1 Scholar Orientation.

Maybe. Please send us an email so that we can confirm your specific situation. You may need to repeat orientation. We require students to repeat orientation in certain cases because immigration laws and policies change frequently, and we want all students to have the most current information on how to maintain their visa status.

A “sponsored student” is a student who has received a specific scholarship from their home government or another outside organization to study at the University of Utah. Sponsored students must complete the International Student Orientation requirements. The ISSS office provides many different services to assist sponsored students. For more information about the Sponsored Student Program, please click here.

Yes, exchange students coming to the University of Utah for one or two semesters through the Learning Abroad program must complete the ISSS International Student Orientation, in addition to Learning Abroad’s new student orientation. You will attend two orientations so that you will be extra prepared for your studies at the U! For further questions, please contact your Learning Abroad advisor at


International Student Orientation Policies

If you do not complete the orientation requirements, you will receive a hold on your University record and/or your SEVIS record may be Terminated. A “hold” prevents you from doing some things because you did not meet a certain requirement. The orientation hold will prevent you from registering for classes and receiving your transcripts. To remove the hold and have your SEVIS record Activated, you must complete ALL required sections of orientation. Please check your UMail every day to address any missing orientation requirements. 


Registering for Orientation with UAtlas

Be sure to include the “u” at the beginning of your student ID number and enter your birthdate in the requested format. If you continue to have trouble logging in, please email with a detailed description of the problem AND a screenshot or photo of the login page.


General questions

Incoming international students can register for courses as soon as they have met with an academic advisor OR they can register during open enrollment. If students are able to meet with an advisor before open enrollment, then they will be able to register before then since they will be given an enrollment appointment.

If the students are not incoming freshman and have already done orientation and an advising appointment in the past then they will automatically be given an enrollment appointment based on their completed credit hours each semester and should not have to wait for open enrollment.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the system that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain your official immigration record. As a new student, your SEVIS record will be activated after you complete all orientation requirements. ISSS cannot activate your SEVIS record until you have completed all orientation requirements.

Your SEVIS record will be activated only after you:

  • Pay the I-901 fee (before you enter U.S.)
  • Complete all requirements of the International Orientation

If you fail to meet these requirements and your SEVIS record is not activated in a timely manner, your record may be terminated. You will receive several emails reminding you to do these things, so please check your UMail every day.

Your SEVIS record must be activated before you can receive these documents. To check if your SEVIS record has been activated, you may email us at .

New Student Work Authorization (NSWA)is only for new F-1 students who need to start working at their on-campus job before the start of the semester. With ISSS office approval, new students may begin working in these positions as soon as 30 days before the official first day of classes. The request for a New Student Work Authorization approval letter can only be done after arriving in the U.S. since information from your required I-94 document is only available after passing through U.S. Customs at the airport. Without your I-94 information, your request will be denied. International students on an F-1 visa who would like to request New Student Work Authorization must complete an electronic form (e-form) through UAtlas and upload all requested documents.


Your SEVIS record must be activated before you can receive a Social Security Number. Once this has been done, you should follow the steps listed on this document. After you have completed the application and prepared the appropriate documents, please contact the Social Security Office to schedule an appointment.

Maybe. Please contact your academic advisor for further details about any placement exams you may need to take.

You are always welcome and encouraged to meet with an ISSS advisor to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have, especially regarding immigration. To make an appointment to speak with an advisor, please contact the ISSS office at 801-581-8876 or visit our advising page.

Current Students

The International Student Ambassadors play a big role in the life of a new international student by leading them through orientation, sharing resources and advice, and acting as their first guide to campus life. Current students, both international and domestic, may find more information and apply for the International Student Ambassador Scholarship program here.

Campus Departments & Community Organizations/Businesses

We love connecting new students with resources that will help them adjust to life at the U and in Salt Lake City. For more information about available outreach opportunities, please email the ISSS Orientation Team at



Last Updated: 5/16/24