INCOMING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Congratulations on your acceptance to Washington State University Spokane! The staff of the Student Affairs Office wants to welcome you and looks forward to assisting you during your educational experience at the University. We value your contribution to the campus community, as we will learn from each other by sharing ideas and cultural heritage. We encourage you to seek out opportunities to learn about the U.S. culture as well as teaching others about your background and society.
The New International Student Orientation will help you become oriented to WSU Spokane and the surrounding community. Attendance at the orientation is required for all incoming international students new to WSU.
On arrival in Spokane
The following tables detail mandatory WSU Spokane expenses such as tuition and fees, as well as approximate costs for housing, books, and other necessities.
|Expenses||Fall 2012||Spring 2013||2012-13 Year
|Room and board||5,445||5,445||10,890|
|Books and supplies||552||552||1,104|
|Summer 2013 living expenses||4,500|
*Such as bus passes, shampoo, long-distance telephone cards, and so forth.
|Expenses||Fall 2012||Spring 2013||AY 12-13|
|Room and board||5,445||5,445||5,445||5,445||10,890||10,890|
|Tuition per credit hour||$1,258||$1,258|
*Tuition costs for students with teaching assistant (TA) or research assistant (RA) status.
**Such as bus passes, shampoo, long-distance telephone cards, and so forth.
|Each additional child||237||1,067||2,133||2,844|
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who can help me pick courses? Undergraduate and graduate students should consult the Academic Coordinator in their department to select courses. If you're not sure who your Academic Coordinator is, then please contact Jane Kinkel.
When can I register for classes? You may register for classes when you have been admitted to the University and when all your registration holds are lifted.
What is a measles hold? WSU requires that all incoming Pullman students meet the immunization requirements prior to class registration. WSU Spokane students are not required to provide proof of this immunization. If you have a measles hold on your registration, please contact the Office of Student Affairs to have that hold lifted.
What are the housing options at WSU Spokane? There is no on-campus housing at WSU Spokane. However, it is not difficult to find an apartment in Spokane. Students report that they can usually find a place to live in two or three days.
How can I find housing off-campus? Please visit the WSU Spokane housing webpage to see current student housing surveys, local apartment guides, and useful information for renting an apartment.Landlords often post apartment notices on WSU Spokane bulletin boards as well.
What should I do if I don't have housing when I arrive? You probably don't want to have housing arranged before you arrive. Students are often disappointed if they sign a housing contract for an apartment they have never seen. Leases are legal documents, and you sign a one-year lease, then you are committed to pay rent for that apartment for one year. The best option is to make reservations at a hotel and look carefully over the housing webpage to gather as much information as you can before you arrive in Spokane. You can make appointments to visit apartments that interest you.
When does the New International Student Orientation begin? New International Student Orientation will be held the week before classes begin. You will receive an email about the time and location.
Do I have to attend the orientation? Yes! All incoming F-1 and J-1 students who are new to WSU are required to attend the orientation.
What should I do if I cannot arrive before the orientation starts? The US Immigration Service requires that you report to your international student advisor upon arrival at WSU Spokane. If you miss the orientation, please come to Academic Center 130 as soon as you arrive in Spokane.
What documents are required for entering the U.S.? You should carry the following items with you when traveling to the U.S. Do not pack them in check-in luggage!
Valid F-1/J-1 visa (except for Canadian citizens)
Valid WSU I-20/DS-2019
SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt (if applicable)
Financial verification (e.g. assistantship letter, bank statement, scholarship letter, etc.)
What should I do if I encounter some problems upon entry to the U.S.? Your international student advisor's work phone number is 509.358.7534. Emergency phone number for nights or weekends is 509.280.9757. Please carry these numbers with you when you travel. If you encounter some problems at the port of entry, a customs officer can reach your advisor at one of these numbers at any time.
When do I get a WSU I-20? If you are going to travel out of the U.S. before arriving at WSU, you will be issued a transfer-pending I-20. This is a temporary document for travel and re-entry. Please contact Liz West to request a transfer I-20 from WSU. Please remember that you cannot be issued a transfer I-20 until your immigration (SEVIS) record has been released to WSU Spokane and your Transfer-in Form (PDF) is completed confirming your eligibility for school transfer. If you will not travel out of country before arriving at WSU, you will obtain a permanent WSU I-20 once you complete the immigration check-in with your international student advisor during the orientation.
Do I need to renew my F-1 visa to attend WSU? Not necessarily. Your F-1 visa stamp is permission to enter the country. It does not determine your length of stay in the U.S. or which school you can attend. As long as your visa was once used to attend the school whose name is annotated on the visa, there is no need to obtain a new F-1 visa until your current one expires.
How do I know which credits from my previous school will be transferable? Jane Kinkel assists WSU Spokane undergraduate students with transfer credit questions. Graduate students should consult their major professor in their department.
When should I pay the tuition? Tuition and other mandatory fees are due the first day of class. Late fees are assessed on unpaid tuition and fees and are significant. Make sure that your tuition is paid on time.
How do I pay the tuition? The Office of Student Affairs (Academic Center 130) accepts tuition payment by cash, check, e-payment, debit or credit card (MasterCard, Discover and American Express). In addition, you can pay tuition online at www.zzusis.wsu.edu. Please note that there is often a limit to the dollar amount that can be charged on a debit/credit card per day. International students often have to spread their tuition payments over a 2-3 day period, so don't wait until the last day to start paying tuition if you choose to pay by credit card!
How should I bring money from home for tuition and living? Do not carry large sums of cash with you when you travel. Traveler's checks are a secure way of transporting money. If you carry more than $10,000 worth of money, you will be required to declare at customs upon entry to the country.
How can I open a bank account in Spokane? Opening a bank account is fairly easy. There are numerous banks to choose from in Spokane. Most banks require only a passport and student identification to open a bank account. Until you arrive at WSU Spokane, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the banking system in the U.S.
Do I have to purchase the WSU medical insurance? WSU has very strict medical insurance requirements for international students. Most international students are automatically billed the WSU insurance premium when they register for classes.
Students who are exempt from the requirements:
Graduate students with half-time graduate assistantship
Some exchange students
Students who may be eligible for exemption but must request a waiver through WSU Health and Wellness Services (pdf):
Students who have insurance provided by a U.S. employer (i.e. through a spouse working for a U.S. employer.)
Students whose medical insurance is equal to or better than that of the WSU plan
Do not purchase an alternate plan without first making sure that the plan meets the coverage requirements.
What should I do if I want to wait one semester before starting at WSU? You will need to re-apply for the term you would like to attend. Updated official transcripts and financial documentations may be required. If you have already been issued a WSU I-20 and would like to defer attendance, please contact Liz West to find out how you can obtain an updated I-20.
What is the weather like in Spokane? The climate is temperate. July and August are hottest months in the Spokane area with average high temperature 83 °F (28 °C) and average low 50 °F (10 °C). During the months of December and January in Spokane, the average high temperature is 35 °F (2 °C) and the average low is 24 °F (-4 °C). There may be snow and ice on the ground. Be prepared and bring a heavy coat, boots and warm clothing. When spring arrives around April, it starts to warm up.
OBTAINING A STUDENT VISA
Required documents and necessary steps
- Complete the visa application form and pay visa fees.
- Receipt for payment of the I-901 SEVIS fee, if applicable.
- Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the United States.
- You will need a photograph (two inches high, two inches wide).
- Form I-20 for the school or program you wish to attend.
- Financial evidence detailing the source and amount of your funding.
Consular and immigration officers exercise considerable discretion in determining whether financial support exists and is sufficient to cover your entire period of stay. Prepare documentation that is thorough, consistent, credible, and varied.
- Official academic transcripts, confirmation of enrollment, and proof of English language proficiency may also be requested.
- Evidence of continuing ties to your home country (i.e. family, career, or property).
Visa applicants are presumed to be "intending immigrants." Your visa will be denied unless you satisfy the consular officer that you will return home. Unfortunately, there is no single explanation, document, or letter than can guarantee visa issuance.
Tips for obtaining a visa
- Apply for the visa in a timely manner. For wait times, consult the embassy or consulate where you will apply.
- If students are denied the visa, they should ask the visa officer the reason for denial and then consult with the WSU Spokane international advisor, Liz West (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The consular interview is an important step in the process of receiving a visa. Often, the initial impression a consular interviewer receives from you is critical to your success. Reviewing the tips provided below may help you during your consular interview.
- Keep your answers concise. Be honest in everything you write on your visa application and say during the interview. Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English. Do not bring other people to speak on your behalf.
- Be able to explain the reasons you want to study in the U.S. and remember that your main reason for coming to the United States is to study, not to work.
- If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your home country, be prepared to explain how they will support themselves in your absence. If they are accompanying you to the U.S., what are the financial arrangements?
- As a temporary visitor, you may be questioned about your intention to return your home country after completing your studies. You should be ready to provide evidence that you do not intend to emigrate to the U.S. and that you intend to return to your home country after completing your studies.
Examples of evidence include a voter registration card, proof that you or your parents own an apartment or house, and evidence of a bank account.
- If you are denied the visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring the next time you apply, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.
Maintain a positive attitude! Do not argue with the consular officer.
International students should apply for visas in their home country, unless circumstances or travel plans make this impossible. If the student applies in a third country, the application may take more time and be reviewed more critically than if it was applied for at home.
The U.S. Department of State maintains an authoritative website on the visa application process that should be studied carefully. The information below provides a brief summary.
Security and name checks
Effective November 13, 2001, certain visa applicants became subject to an additional name check clearance procedure before being issued a non-immigrant visa. The procedure requires consular officers to send the visa applicant's name to be checked against information in various security, law enforcement, and intelligence databases.
Visa applicants affected include (but may not be limited to) males between the ages of 16 and 45 from one of the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen and students in certain areas of study. Reports indicate that the procedure can take at least 20 business days.If you potentially belong to an affected group, please factor this extra time into your planned visa processing time.
All Incoming Students
- Read the Frequently Asked Questions for incoming international students.
- Make certain your have a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay (except for Canadian citizens.)
- Look over the website about housing in Spokane.
- Plan your itinerary to arrive in Spokane no later than the day before orientation begins.
- Organize finances for your study at WSU Spokane. Remember that tuition and fees are due the first day of class
Students coming from overseas
- Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee once you receive an I-20/DS-2019 and obtain a payment receipt. (Except for students who are eligible for SEVIS transfer).
- Apply for an F-1/J-1 visa if you do not have a valid visa. (Except for Canadian citizens.)
- Read information about traveling to the U.S.
- Make travel arrangements. Remember that F-1/J-1 students with initial attendance I-20/DS-2019 may only be admitted up to 30 days prior to the program start date specified on the document. Also allow enough time between flight connections.
- Check with your airlines for luggage regulations.
- Read about useful financial information maintained by U.S. Department of State.
- Read about the items prohibited and restricted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
F-1 Transfer Students
- Read about the SEVIS transfer eligiblity. If you are currently not in lawful status and are not eligible for SEVIS transfer, contact Liz West as soon as possible to discuss your options.
- Once you are admitted to WSU, have your current/previous international advisor release your SEVIS record to WSU Spokane.
- Complete the transfer-in form (PDF) with your current/previous international advisor and return it to WSU.
- If you are going to travel out of U.S. before arriving at WSU, request a transfer-in I-20 from Liz West.
- Arrange to have your official, final transcripts from current/previous school sent to WSU Spokane.
Change of Status
For immigration purposes, the term transfer applies to students who come to WSU Spokane from another U.S. college, university, or ESL program. If you are a transfer student, please follow the directions below.
- You must have maintained lawful F-1 status throughout your program of study.
- You must request the transfer of your SEVIS record to WSU within the 60-day period following your last date of attendance, optional practical training, or authorized vacation at your previous or current school.
- You must enroll full-time at WSU within five months of your last attendance at the previous school.
If you have ever violated the terms of your current F-1 status, you will need to depart the U.S. to make a new entry with an initial attendance I-20.
Immigration reinstatement is only possible if your failure to maintain status resulted from circumstances beyond your control.
Contact the international student advisor at your current school or WSU Spokane (email@example.com or 509.358.7534) as soon as possible to discuss your situation.
- Have your current or previous international student advisor release your SEVIS record to WSU Spokane. WSU cannot issue you an I-20 until your SEVIS record is released.
- Complete the transfer-in form (PDF); mail or fax it to the address on the bottom of the form.
- You will be issued a “Transfer-Pending” I-20 only if you plan to travel outside the U.S. prior to beginning your study at WSU Spokane. (Please contact Liz West at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- A “transfer-pending” I-20 is a temporary I-20 for reentry to the U.S. only.
- Contact the international student advisor as soon as you arrive in Spokane to complete the immigration check-in. When this is complete, you will be issued a permanent WSU Spokane I-20.
Important: Out of Status Warning
You will be out of legal status in the U.S. if you fail to complete the immigration check-in with your international student advisor within 15 days of the beginning of classes. If you have any questions, contact Liz West at email@example.com or 509.358.7534.