Office of Global Citizenship

Arrival and Orientation

Below is information that will help new students prepare for arriving at Sewanee in fall 2017. Please click on the headings below for additional information. 

Applying for a Visa
Entering the U.S. 
SEVIS Check-In
What to Bring
Health Insurance

Fall 2019
Important Dates
Pre-Arrival Information
Rooms and Meals

Applying for a Visa

  • Read the F-1 Visa Website or the J-1 Visa Website, depending on your Visa type. These are excellent resources published by the State Department.
  • Check for errors on your DS-2019 or I-20. Upon admission into the university, you will receive your DS-2019 (J-1) or I-20 (F-1). Please review these documents for errors. The names on these documents should be the same as the name on your passport. You should also use that name on your visa application.  
  • Pay the SEVIS 901 feeThe SEVIS 901 fee funds SEVIS, the U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. This fee is paid on-line at You will use the SEVIS number above the barcode on the DS-2019 to pay this fee.  Sewanee’s J Program number is P-1-04651. Once you pay the fee, you can make an appointment for a J-1 visa interview. The visa appointment date must set be for at least three days after paying the 901 fee.
  • Complete Form DS-160, the online nonimmigrant visa application. You can apply for your visa no more than 90 days before your program begins at Sewanee.
  • Schedule a Visa Interview. Take the following documents to the visa appointment with you:                                             
    1. Admission letter;
    2. DS-2019 or I-20 with all signatures 
    3. Passport valid for at least six months after you enter the U.S.;
    4. Original financial documents: Any emails/letters from Sewanee stating your funding amount, as well as a bank letter or statement of personal funds;
    5. Sewanee's Group Insurance Plan Brochure;
    6. A copy of the 901 SEVIS fee payment confirmation;
    7. A copy of your DS-160 confirmation;
    8. J-1 students only: Letter of agreement or exchange from your university, or the letter nominating you for the exchange -- If you are a Language House Director, you will need the Sewanee faculty letter offering you the Language House position;
    9. Other documents may be required -- Please visit to review all materials that may be required by your local embassy. 

    (You must also travel to the U.S. with these documents.)

Entering the U.S. and Customs

You may enter the U.S. in initial F-1 or J-1 status (meaning you are a new international student, not a SEVIS transfer student) up to 30 days before the program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. The next step in the visa-related process will be entering the U.S. which involves an inspection at the port of entry. Most often, this is the airport where you first land in the U.S., but it could also be a sea port or a land port of entry, depending on your mode of travel. We recommend you allow plenty of time between your arrival flight into the U.S. and connecting flight(s) to Tennessee, as you have to go through immigration and customs inspection at the first point of entry into the country.

If you are detained at a P.O.E. (Port of Entry) for secondary inspection, entering could take longer than planned. Secondary inspection, once rare, is becoming more common for F and J visa-holders and could cause a delay in your arrival. If you have any changes in your flight schedules and arrival times, please call or email Andrea Del Balso as soon as possible.

When traveling to the U.S., you should bring the following documents with you, in your carry-on. Be prepared to provide the following documents at the port of entry to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the Port of Entry. 

  1. Admission letter
  2. I-20 (F students) or DS-2019 (J students)
  3. Passport valid for at least six months after you enter the U.S.
  4. Original financial documents: Any emails/letters from Sewanee stating your funding amount, as well as a bank letter or statement of personal funds
  5. Copy of the SEVIS I-901 Fee Payment Confirmation
  6. Copy of your DS-160 Confirmation
  7. Sewanee's Health Insurance Brochure
  8. J Students Only: Letter of agreement or exchange from your university, or the letter nominating you for the exchange. If you are a Language House Director, you will need the Sewanee faculty letter offering you the Language House position.

When you are at the port of entry the officer will place an admission stamp in your passport and then write the visa status you are being given (F-1 or J-1) and the expiration date. For students in F-1 or J-1 status the expiration is noted with "D/S" which stands for 'duration of status'. This means that there is not a specific date that your entry will expire. Rather, you are allowed to stay in the U.S. until your F-1/J-1 status ends. Check your entry stamp before walking away from the window. If your stamp shows the incorrect status or has a specific expiry date instead of D/S, return to the inspection area and request your stamp be corrected. In the event this is not possible, please contact the Office of Global Citizenship the next business day.

When you enter the country, an electronic record of your admission, known as the I-94, will also be created. You can retrieve a copy of your I-94 by visiting the CBP website.

We also recommend you review the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) travel FAQs before coming into the U.S.

SEVIS Check-In

Students arriving in the U.S. from abroad or transferring their SEVIS record from another school must submit an online check in form within three business days of arriving in Sewanee. Checking in with the Office of Global Citizenship is required by law for you to maintain your immigration status. While you do not need to physically come to the office to submit this form or complete your check-in requirement, we encourage new J-1 and F-1 students to visit the office in Carnegie 110 in order to meet the staff and become familiar with its location.

To complete the online form, you must log into Gmail using your Sewanee ID. You will need to provide your current phone number and physical address in the U.S., as well as upload images of your immigration documents to the online form. The uploaded images can be scans or high quality digital photos from your camera, smart phone, computer's internal webcam, or tablet. If you don't have a way to create scans of your documents, the Office of Global Citizenship has a computer/scanner in our office that you can use during office hours.

What to Bring

The climate in Sewanee ranges from -7 Celsius to 32+ Celsius. Please pack accordingly. There are also many places near Sewanee where you can purchase affordable clothing.

Sewanee offers many outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, and rock climbing. If you enjoy those kinds of activities, please bring proper equipment. Because electrical outlets differ among countries, we recommend bringing an adapter with you. Many students also purchase electronics upon arrival.

We recommend purchasing your bed linens in advance as your residence hall room will not have towels or linens when you arrive. If you would like to purchase linens in advance, you can do this online. You will mail your linens to the following address:

Sewanee SPO

Attn: (your name) - new student

735 University Avenue

Sewanee, TN 37383

For additional information on what to bring, review the Sewanee packing list.

In addition to items on this list, students may also want to consider bringing items to that represent their home country and culture, such as:

  • Small, inexpensive souvenirs (paper flags or lapel pins; postcards, pictures, or tourist booklets).
  • Maps or books (especially books with lots of pictures). Many people are interested in food; an illustrated cookbook is always popular! (Of course, you can also show digital pictures of your town, country, museums or your family from your computer.)
  • Music CDs.

Health Insurance

You will be enrolled in health insurance through Sewanee from August 1st through July 31st. The insurance will be paid in full by the university for one full year, and you will see the charge on your student account. You can pay the balance on your student account in full, or you can arrange a payment plan. More information on health insurance may be found here.

Important Fall Dates for Undergraduate Students

  • Sunday, August 11th: F-1 student arrival
  • Monday - Wednesday, August 12th - 14th: F-1 Orientation
  • Wednesday, August 14th: Sewanee's FYP Program begins
  • Thursday, August 22nd: J-1 student arrival
  • Friday, August 23rd: J-1 Orientation
  • Saturday - Tuesday, August 24th - 28th: New Student Orientation
  • Wednesday, August 29th: Classes Begin

Pre-Arrival Information

New undergraduate F-1 and J-1 students must submit their arrival plans (airline, flight number, date, time, place of arrival, etc.) through the International Arrival Form by July 1.

F-1 students are expected to arrive in Sewanee on Sunday, August 11th.
J-1 students are expected to arrive in Sewanee on Thursday, August 22nd.

The university offers a free shuttle to Sewanee from the airport in Nashville, TN, on the following days:

  • Sunday, August 11th, 4pm
  • Sunday, August 11th, 8pm
  • Thursday, August 22nd, 4pm

If students are unable to take that van, or if they arrive at a different airport (Chattanooga or Atlanta) or at an earlier time, they can reserve a Groome shuttle at The shuttle will take students to Monteagle, and the university can help coordinate transportation for you to Sewanee.

If students experience flight delays or changes, please email or call Andrea Del Balso as soon as possible. If calling after business hours, call +1 931.313.1669.


All new international students at the University of the South are required to attend international student orientation. Orientation introduces students to campus, facilitates relationships among new and current students, reviews important governmental regulations, educates students on U.S. processes, such as medical care and insurance, and provides students the opportunity to get immunizations, apply for social security cards, and buy necessary personal items (e.g. clothes, toiletries, electronics, household, linens, etc). 

New students will be divided into smaller groups at international student orientation, and these groups are led by a current international or domestic student, who is called an International Orientation Leader. 


  • Required F-1 International Student Orientation is Monday - Wednesday, August 12th - 14th. Sewanee's FYP program begins August 14th.
  • Required J-1 International Student Orientation is Friday, August 23rd. 
  • New student orientation for all new students at Sewanee is Saturday - Tuesday, August 24th - 27th.

Rooms and Meals

Once students arrive on campus, we will help them settle into their room in their residence hall.

The residence halls and language houses are of various ages and in various states of refurbishing. Some residence halls offer suite-style living, while others have more traditional arrangements. Please visit Res Life's Website to learn more about a specific residence hall. 

Meals will be provided for new students, starting the first morning of their respective international student orientations.