Before Leaving Home

Check out this page for useful information about addressing needs and learning about services that you should know about and address before leaving for the U.S.

On this page:

Applying for a Visa

You’ve made it through the first big step and have been accepted to UB! However, before you can enter the United States, you must apply for a U.S visa.

I-901 SEVIS Fee Update

Effective June 24, 2019 the SEVIS fee will increase to $350 for F students and $220 for J students.

For more information visit the ICE website.

Completeing your DS-160 and looking for assistance? Be sure to review the information on the Department of State's website.


Whether you choose to live on-campus or off-campus, there's information to help you make the right choice.

Important On-Campus Housing Dates- Apply early to secure your room!

The Spring 2020 housing application will be available starting Tuesday, October 1. 

The housing application deadline is December 1.  If you change your mind, you must cancel your on-campus housing agreement before the December 1 deadline.

Health Insurance, Health Forms & Immunizations

As required by the State of New York, UB requires that all students submit completed Health Background & Immunization Forms, and satisfy immunization requirements before registering for classes.

Health Background and Immunization Form Requirement

You should send the forms as soon as possible via Air Mail or Express Courier (Attention: Susan Snyder) or Fax (716-829-2564) to UB Student Health Services. 

Since Student Health Services does not send confirmation that they received the forms, you may wish to submit them via Fax or Express Courier since both services provide confirmation of delivery. Please DO NOT return them to the International Admissions office. Also, scanned copies and e-mail attachments are not permitted.  

Student Health Services' mailing address is:

University at Buffalo Student Health Services
Michael Hall
3435 Main Street
Buffalo, N.Y. 14214

If you are unable to complete all of your immunizations in your country, Student Health Services will assist you in obtaining the immunizations, but this will delay your class registration and you may not get the classes you want.

If you are an undergraduate student and submit the Health Background and Immunization Forms in time, your academic advisor may be able to register you in classes before you come to Buffalo.  (If that is the case, an academic advisor will contact you.)

Undergraduate Students: Send Your Forms As Soon As Possible

If you submit the forms in time, you may be able to register for your undergraduate classes before coming to Buffalo.

Health Insurance

Health Insurance

All international students at UB are required to have health insurance and will be billed directly for it. You are urged not to purchase health insurance prior to coming to UB because your insurance may not be accepted by UB.

Please note that international students at UB should purchase health insurance for any dependents who come to live with them in Buffalo.

Getting Connected: Information Technology and Free Software

Get started with everything technology-related at the University at Buffalo with this orientation video. You can also visit for short videos on some of the topics covered in the video below.

Did You Know...?

  • UBIT has recommended software and provides downloads for personal computers at no charge.
  • UBIT offers educational discounts on computers and personal devices.
  • You can run popular software (such as MATLAB, SPSS and Mathematica) from your personally device, on or off campus using My Virtual Computing Lab.
  • UB Mobile can be used to connect to essential UB information and services - right from your smartphone or tablet.

On-Campus Employment

F-1 international students are eligible to work on-campus without special authorization. J-1 international students are also eligible to work on-campus, but need a letter from International Student Services authorizing such employment.

Please note that international students are not eligible to apply for “Work Study” positions.  Work study is only available to domestic students who, as part of their financial aid package, are awarded funding from the U.S. federal government to work in paid campus positions while studying at the university.

Finding an On-Campus Job

Once you have activated your UBIT Account, you can start to search for on-campus jobs using UB Career Services' Bullseye powered by Handshake job search engine.  

We also encourage you to attend the “Finding a Job On Campus” session during the International Student Welcome Series. 

Your UB Account

Paying Your UB Bill

When is the deadline to pay my tuition and fees?

The University bills students each semester for all University-related charges (tuition, student fees, on-campus housing and meals, health insurance, etc.). Your bill will be sent to your University at Buffalo email address after you register for classes. Bills are not sent by postal mail. It is not possible to pay your bill until after you register for classes, and your bill is sent to you. 

If this is your first semester at UB, the deadline to pay your bill is in mid-October (for students starting in the Fall semester) or mid-March (for students starting in the Spring semester). If you miss the deadline, you must pay a $30-50 late fee. 

Even if you signed up for on-campus housing, your bill payment deadline is still mid-October (Fall)/mid-March (Spring).  Do not worry about emails you are receiving telling you that you need to pay your bill earlier.  Those emails are automatically sent to all students who signed up for on-campus housing and do not apply to you.

How can I pay my tuition and fees?

For information on the various methods available to pay your University bill, including payment by credit card, personal check or E-check, visit the Student Account's website. University at Buffalo has partnered with Flywire to streamline the tuition and fee payment process for our international students.

International Payments with Flywire

UB has partnered with Flywire to make international payments easier. If you wish to pay from home and in your home currency, Flywire can help! Click the link below to learn more.

Understanding Account Holds

What does it mean to have a hold on my account?

A hold on a UB student's account may prevent the student from registering for classes, receiving grades or transcripts, etc. Students receive a hold when action is required on their part.

What is the IS hold?

Every new international student has an “IS” Hold on his/her account. This will remain in place until you have fully completed your New International Student Check-in. Once you have completed the check-in, your IS Hold will be removed.

Why do I have an ELI hold?

If you are an undergraduate student with an ELI hold on your account you will receive information about addressing the hold after completing your ISS check-in. New students must first check-in with ISS and take care of other holds (i.e. immunization) before reporting the English Language Institute.

ENG 100 & ESL 411 Registration Schedule

Monday, August 19               9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. & 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, August 20              9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. & 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday, August 21          1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

All holds must be resolved before course registration can be approved. If you have questions about this hold please contact the English Language Institute for assistance.

Why do I have a hold for TOEFL or SPEAK?

If you are a graduate student with this ELI hold you must take either the Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) before you may be able to register for classes. 

SPEAK and TOEFL registration will begin on Monday, June 24 and continue until Monday, August 19.  Register at the English Language Institute (ELI), 320 Baldy Hall, Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can also register for the SPEAK online and additional SPEAK information as well as a practice test can be found on the same SPEAK website page.​

If you have questions about this hold please contact the English Language Institute for assistance.

Money Matters

Choosing a Bank or Credit Union

You will need to choose a financial institution to keep your money while studying at UB.  Please review the following information to help you choose the type of financial institution(s) and account(s) (most commonly used by international students) that will be right for you.

Types of Financial Institutions

When trying to determine with which financial institution to open an account with, consider the following questions when making your decisions:

What will you need to do when you use your bank account?

Save money and earn interest? Withdraw money frequently? Write checks? Wire money home and receive wire transfers?

How do you want to carry out those banking transactions?

At the bank/credit union? Online? Using an ATM (Automated Teller Machine)? 


Is it close to home or campus? Can I easily walk there if necessary? Will I have easy access to an ATM?


How much are the fees? (ATM, wire transfers, etc.)

Want to Speak with a Representative?

Bank and credit union representatives will be available on campus on Monday, August 19 and Tuesday, August 20 during to assist students with opening accounts. Check the International Student Welcome Series Schedule for more details.

Types of Bank Accounts

Below are the two most common types of accounts that international students open:

Checking Accounts

(Most common account type)

  • Permits you to write checks up to the amount of money in the account
  • Minimum amount of money may be required to open account
  • May have monthly fees, fees per check written, fees associated with debit card use, and overdraft fees
  • May have a minimum balance requirement
  • May offer overdraft protection (Writing a check or taking more money out of an ATM machine that you have available)
    • Must have a savings account

Savings Account

  • Earn interest on the money in the account (Interest rate is usually very small)
  • May not have check-writing or ATM privileges
  • May have limits on the number of monthly transactions
  • If you will making multiple transactions on your account, this type of account might not be practical for you.

Types of Cards Issued

ATM Card

  • Provides 24-hour access to your money
  • Used to deposit money into or withdraw it from your account
  • You may be charged fees if you use an ATM that is not your bank’s ATM

Debit Card

(Similar to an ATM Card)

  • Card which is used to make purchases
  • Money is taken directly from the account
  • Debit cards will allow you to make purchases like a credit card and will not alert you if you overdraw your account
  • Some banks charge a fee each time you use a debit card

Credit Card

  • Card which is used to make purchases
  • Owner of the card is billed for the purchases and pays later
  • If you do not pay your bill on time each month you will be charges late fees

What You Need to Open a Bank Account

  • Passport or other official government I.D.
  • Copies of your immigration documents
  • UB Card (may be optional)
  • Address in U.S. (not a University office)
  • Address in your home country
  • U.S. Phone Number
  • Minimum required deposit
  • Proof of enrollment (may be optional)

Looking for More Information?

  • For specific information about the products and services offered by banks or credit unions, please speak directly with their representatives.
  • ISS does not recommend any specific bank or credit union, and a bank or credits union presence on campus does not constitute a recommendation.
  • ISS cannot answer specific questions about your account, or services and products offered by your bank or credit union

How Much Money...?

How Much Money Can I Bring into the U.S.?

If you plan to bring money (e.g. cash, money order, certified check, travelers’ checks, letter of credit) into the U.S., please note the following from the Customs & Border Protection (CBP) website: “Travelers leaving or entering the U.S. are required to report monetary instruments (ie. currency or checks) valued at $10,000 or more on a "Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments" FinCEN 105 form. “Failure to declare currency in amounts over $10,000 can result in its seizure.

Please Note:

  • We do not recommend that you carry large sums of cash when you come to the U.S. Please bring a money card or travelers’ checks instead.
  • Do not assume that you can multiply $10,000 by the number of people in your group and bring in that amount of money. The border officer will try to determine to whom the money really belongs. If they determine that it belongs to one person, they will seize it if the amount exceeds $10,000.
  • Never make false statements to a border officer about money or anything else. The penalty for making false statements to border officers is very severe, including a fine and up to two years of imprisonment.
  • If you do not follow the above-mentioned advice and your money is seized, we advise you not to fill out any forms to request that the money be returned to you. To file a request that will be approved by Customs & Border Protection requires in-depth knowledge of the relevant regulations and the way that such requests are adjudicated. For these reasons, it is much better to hire an attorney to help you get your money back.

How Much Money Will I Need During My First Year at UB?

You can find the Estimated Cost of Attendance for your degree program at the Financial Aid website.

Scholarships at UB

There are a variety of scholarship opportunities for students at UB. If interested take a few minutes to explore the information in the links below. 

Have scholarship questions? Be sure to talk to the office directly responsible for the scholarship opportunity. ISS can help you find resources but we do not have detailed information on specific scholarships.