For New Students

Frequently Asked Questions for
New Graduate Students


U.S. Visa Delays

  1. Can you write a letter to speed up the processing of my U.S. visa application?
    Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to expedite the processing of your visa application. Officers in U.S. Embassies and Consulates have asked universities not to send letters regarding students' visa applications. The reason is that the Consulates are inundated with paperwork and do not have sufficient staff or time to process such letters.

Bringing Money into the U.S.

  1. 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 (i.e. currency or checks) valued at $10,000 or more on a "Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments" form FinCEN 105” (available at  or from a CBP officer). “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 s/he determines that it belongs to one person, s/he 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.
  1. 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

Late Arrival

  1. I wasn’t able to get a flight to arrive in time for Orientation Check-In. Can I join International Student Orientation late?
    Although we don’t recommend it, you can join International Student Orientation late. We will have a Late Arrivals table, where students who were delayed in coming to Buffalo can check in for the orientation program. However, since the orientation schedule is quite full, we urge you to come as soon as you can so you don’t miss too much.

    Please note that the mandatory "Immigration Session" and 'University Police Session" will be held on Monday, August 24, 2015 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. If you miss those sessions, your course registration will be delayed.

Orientation Attendance

  1. Do I have to attend International Student Orientation?
    International Student Orientation is not mandatory, but you will be disadvantaged if you don’t attend it. The orientation sessions were designed to prevent problems experienced by previous UB international students and to provide “one-stop shopping” for the things you need to start your life in Buffalo (e.g. immunizations, University ID card, computer account, bank account, cell phone account, Social Security Card, etc.). Attendance at International Student Orientation will save you the trouble of getting those things on your own.

    The orientation sessions are also extremely practical, helpful and important. If you don’t attend them, you will miss the helpful information and valuable tips provided and have to find them out on your own. Last, attendance at certain orientation sessions is necessary for course registration, applying for a Social Security Card, etc.

  2. I’m a U.S. Citizen (or Lawful Permanent Resident) who grew up outside the U.S. Can I attend International Student Orientation even though I’m not an international student?
    Yes, you can. You will find International Student Orientation extremely helpful.

  3. I’m transferring from another U.S. university. Do I have to attend International Student Orientation?
    Although you have already studied in the U.S., you are new to the University at Buffalo. All U.S. universities have their own procedures, policies and services so your prior experience will not help you at UB as much you think. For this reason, we strongly urge you to attend International Student Orientation at UB.

  4. How much does participation in International Student Orientation cost?
    The cost of the graduate orientation program is $95.  The orientation fee includes all services except the trip to Niagara Falls (offered only during the fall orientation), which costs extra.

Orientation Check-In

  1. I need to take the TOEFL or SPEAK test. When should I check in for International Student Orientation?
    Orientation Check-In will take place on Sunday, August 23 from 10:00-4:00 and Monday, August 24 from 10:00-1:30. If you have to take TOEFL or SPEAK tests before registering for courses, you must sign up for them on Sunday, August 23 from 10:00-4:00.

On-Campus Housing

Deciding where to live is one of the most important decisions you will make!  To help you decide, read Living On-Campus vs. Off-Campus (207 KB).

  1. I reserved on-campus housing. Can I stay there during International Student Orientation? If so, how soon can I move in?
    University apartments officially open on August 21, 2015. Therefore, international students who will attend International Student Orientation and who have made arrangements to live on campus will be permitted to check in to their on-campus apartment starting on Friday, August 21 from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. No check-ins will be permitted before August 21.

       Although University residence halls do not officially open for new 

       students until August 27, 2015, international students assigned there

       will be permitted to check in starting on Friday, August 21 from 2:00-

       8:00 p.m. However, there will be a $35 per night early arrival charge

       for each night you arrive before your scheduled move-in date; it will

       be billed directly to your student account.

       If you choose to stay on campus during International Student

       Orientation, please be aware that the apartments will not be officially

       open and, therefore, there will be few students staying there and only a

       limited number of staff members to assist you. You should also be

       aware that, once you check in to your apartment, you are contractually

       obligated to rent it for the entire academic year. Housing contracts are

       typically broken only if the student leaves the University at Buffalo.

  1. I reserved on-campus housing, but have not received my housing assignment. When should I expect to receive it? What should I do if I have not received it by that date?
    If you do not receive your housing assignment by the beginning of August, feel free to contact the Housing Office by telephone at (716) 645-2171, by e-mail at or by fax at (716) 645-3968.
  1. I reserved on-campus housing, but have changed my mind. Can I cancel my reservation and get my deposit back?
    For INTERNATIONAL students, the deadline to cancel on-campus housing is July 1, 2015. Please note that the cancellation deadline for all other students is May 1, 2015. After July 1, 2015, you will not be released from your housing contract unless you choose not to attend UB during the Fall 2015 semester. Please do not sign a lease for an off-campus apartment after July 1, 2015 as you will not be released from your on-campus Housing Agreement.

Temporary Housing

  1. I will need a place to stay while I look for off-campus housing after I arrive in Buffalo. Is there temporary housing for new students?
    Unfortunately, there is no temporary housing for new students. Therefore, you should make temporary housing arrangements prior to your arrival in Buffalo. We do not recommend arriving on campus with lots of luggage and no place to spend the night as it is very difficult to find permanent housing in one day.

    Should you need temporary accommodations prior to August 21 or during International Student Orientation, your temporary housing options include staying in a hotel or with a friend, relative or UB student.

    The hotels listed below are located near UB's North Campus. The prices listed are subject to change.

    10 Flint Road
    Amherst, NY 14226
    Tel. (716) 689-4414
    $108 (UB Rate)


    1 Flint Road

    Amherst, NY 14226

    Tel. (716) 688-0811 or 1-800-800-8000

    $74.99 and up – Free shuttle service from Buffalo airport

    42 Flint Road
    Amherst, NY 14226
    Tel. (716) 689-7474
    $49.29 and up


    2402 North Forest Road

    Getzville, NY 14068

    Tel. (716) 636-7500

    $79-$89 (UB Rate)

    For a more complete list of Buffalo area hotels, click here

    There is also a hostel in downtown Buffalo, which is some distance from UB's North and South Campuses.  For more information, please visit

    Furthermore, a list of international clubs that provide assistance to new students is available on our website at

Off-Campus Housing

Deciding where to live is one of the most important decisions you will make!  To help you decide, read Living On-Campus vs. Off-Campus (207 KB).

  1. How can I find off-campus housing?
    For detailed information about finding off-campus housing, please visit Off-Campus Housing.

Health History & Immunization Form

  1. When and where should I submit my Health Background and Immunization Forms?
    You should complete and return your UB Health Background and Immunization Forms to UB Student Health Services.  We recommend that you send the forms via Fax (716-829-2564), regular Air Mail or Express Courier (Attention: Susan Snyder) as soon as possible to the Student Health Center. 

    Note:  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.

    The Student Health Center's mailing address is:

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

    Note: Please DO NOT return the forms to the International Admissions office. Also, scanned copies and e-mail attachments are not permitted.

    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.

Bill Payment

  1. When is the deadline to pay my tuition and fees and how can I pay them?
    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 October 14, 2015. If you miss the deadline, you must pay a $30-50 late fee.

    For information on the various methods available to pay your University bill, including payment by credit card, personal check or E-check, click here. The University at Buffalo also partners with peerTransfer to streamline the tuition and fee payment process for international students. This service offers multiple payment options and competitive foreign exchange rate. Click here for more information on peerTransfer.

University ID Card & Temporary Password

  1. How can I get my University ID Card (UB Card) and temporary password?
    You can get your UB Card and single-use password at Orientation Check-In.

IS Hold

  1. What is an IS Hold and why do I have one?
    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.

    Every new international student has an IS Hold on his/her account. This ensures that the student attends the Immigration Session and University Police Session at International Student Orientation. Once you attend these sessions, your IS Hold will be removed and you will be able to register for classes.

Course Registration

  1. When can I register for my classes?
    You can register for classes beginning on Monday, August 24, 2015.  REMEMBER: You must submit completed UB Health Background and Immunizations Forms, receive certain immunizations (if required), and attend the Immigration Session and University Police Session before you can register for classes. 


  1. Can I work?
    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 the Office of International Student & Scholar Services authorizing such employment.
  1. How can I find an on-campus job?
    To learn how to find an on-campus job, we suggest that you attend the “On-Campus Employment” session during International Student Orientation.

Social Security Card

  1. How, when and where can I get a Social Security Card?
    In order to apply for a Social Security Card, F-1 international students must have written job offers. If you have a written job offer, then please attend one of the Social Security Card information sessions during International Student Orientation.  Note:  If you are a J-1 student, you do not need a written job offer to apply for a Social Security Card.