For New Students

Frequently Asked Questions for
New 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 of 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.

       For more information, please visit Customs & Border Protection.

  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. There you will be able to pick up the handouts from the sessions which you missed. However, since the orientation schedule is quite full and handouts are never the equivalent of attending sessions, 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 Tuesday, January 21, 2014from 3:30-5:30 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 international students at UB 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 shared in orientation sessions and you will 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. so, if you miss the session, you will need to attend a make-up session later.

  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 expected cost of our one-week orientation program is $95, which includes all services except the trip to Niagara Falls (offered only during the fall orientation), which costs extra.

Orientation Check-In

  1. I don’t need to sign up for ESL courses or take the TOEFL or SPEAK tests. Can I come to Early Orientation Check-In anyway?
    Yes, you can. Early Orientation Check-In, which is held during our fall orientation program, is for all new students, not only those who need to take tests or register for ESL classes.

On-Campus Housing

  1. I reserved a room in the residence hall. Can I stay there during International Student Orientation? If so, how soon can I move in?
    Although University Residence Halls officially open later, international students who will be attending International Student Orientation and who have made arrangements to live on campus will be permitted to check in to their residence halls beginning on Monday, January 20, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. No check-ins will be permitted before January 20. There will be a charge for early check-in; the charge is $35 per night and will be billed directly to your student account.

    If you choose to stay in the residence halls during International Student Orientation, be aware that the halls will not be officially open and, therefore, there will be few students staying there and limited residence hall staff to assist you.
  1. I reserved a room in the residence hall, 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 Friday, January 10, 2014, feel free to contact the Residential Operations Office by telephone at (716) 645-2171, by e-mail at or by fax at (716) 645-3968.
  1. I reserved a room in the residence hall, but have changed my mind. Can I cancel my reservation and get my deposit back?
    The deadline to cancel room assignments and receive a housing deposit refund is December 1, 2013. Students who submit cancellation requests after December 1, 2013 will forfeit their $300 housing deposits. Any cancellations received after December 15, 2013 will result in forfeiture of the $300 housing deposit plus a $150 late cancellation charge. If you decide not to live in University residence halls, you should contact the Housing Office as soon as possible to avoid additional billing.

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.

    Your temporary housing options include staying in a hotel or with a friend, relative or UB student. There is a list of hotels in the booklet entitled New International Student Guide, which is included in your acceptance packet. A list of international clubs that provide assistance to new students is available on our website at

Off-Campus Housing

  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 mail my health history and immunization form?
    You should complete and return your UB Health Background Form and Immunization Form to UB Student Health Services. The mailing address is:

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

    You can submit the forms using regular Air Mail or Express Courier Service (Attention: Susan Snyder) or by Fax (716-829-2564).  NOTE:  DO NOT return the forms to the International Admissions office. Also, scanned copies and e-mail attachments are not permitted.

    If you have lost the paper version of the forms that were sent to you, you can download additional copies at

Bill Payment

  1. Can I pay my tuition and fees by wire transfer? If so, how can I do it?
    Yes, you can. Please contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (Tel. 716-645-2258, for instructions.

  2. How else can I pay my bill?
    Please visit to learn about the various methods of paying your University bill.

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 Wednesday, January 22, 2014.  REMEMBER: You must meet the requirement to submit a complete UB Health Backgroundand Immunizations Form before you can register for classes.  You may also need to receive certain immunizations before you can register.


  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 and J-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.