In addition to our freshman and transfer checklists, international students should familiarize themselves with these next steps.
APPLY FOR YOUR I-20
Our office is currently processing I-20s for admitted students as normal. We are shipping them by courier once per week, and can provide electronic copies upon request.
- If you currently hold a valid I-20 through another US institution, we will issue your I-20 after your SEVIS record has been transferred to us. We expect the temporary COVID-19 federal guidance to continue, so you should be able to remain in the US and begin your studies as usual this summer or fall, even if instruction remains online. We do not recommend that you travel outside the US over the summer due to rapidly-changing travel restrictions that may make it difficult to return to campus in the fall.
- If you are currently studying outside the US or do not hold a valid I-20, we are currently issuing initial I-20s with the assumption that normal in-person instruction will resume this fall. Students who wish to take classes this summer would have to do so from outside the US, as current federal guidelines do not permit students to begin their studies in the US if instruction is entirely online. Should our campus make the decision later this summer to move Fall 2020 online, you will be given the option to either 1) start online from outside the US and have your I-20 program start date deferred to Spring 2021 or 2) request to defer your enrollment (and not take any classes at UW–Madison or another institution).
All I-20 or DS-2019 requests must be submitted through the Terra Dotta portal via your MyUW Student Center, which will be your student immigration portal during your time as an F-1 or J-1 student at UW–Madison. You must accept your offer of admission before you can set up your Terra Dotta account.
Please allow 24 hours after accepting your offer of admission in your MyUW Student Center before setting up your Terra Dotta account.
Keep in mind that visa processing can take a long time, so plan ahead.
Please read through our FAQs about the I-20 process. International Student Services also provides a Guide for International Students with more information about next steps to secure your visa.
ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE TEST (ESLAT)
All incoming students are required to take an English Placement Test. International students will be required to take the ESLAT if a TOEFL or IELTS was required to complete your application. Other students will take the UW System English Placement test.
The ESLAT is used to assess students’ English language skills required for academic work and to place students in appropriate ESL courses.
SIGN UP FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ORIENTATION, ADVISING, AND REGISTRATION (SOAR)
Students admitted for the summer and fall will receive information in April regarding the SOAR sessions held in summer. Details about the dates and registration will be sent by email, and students need to confirm their enrollment before signing up. It is advantageous to have your final grades when attending SOAR. Please note that we offer a specific SOAR for students on an F-1 or J-1 Visa sponsored by UW–Madison only in late August.
OBTAIN HEALTH INSURANCE
UW–Madison requires that all international students on nonimmigrant visas have adequate medical insurance during all periods of enrollment. International students who do not have insurance that is pre-approved for a waiver by the university must purchase the UW–Madison Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). For more information about SHIP, including enrollment options, premium rates, and waiver requirements, visit the Student Health Insurance Plan site.