Office of International Students and Scholars

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Information for Incoming Students & Scholars

Congratulations on your admission to the University of San Diego (USD)!  We look forward to welcoming you in person and helping you get acquainted with your life as an international student or scholar at USD.

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PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO SAN DIEGO

Scheduling Your Check-In: Please note that you must schedule your mandatory immigration check-in at USD’s International Center prior to your arrival in the United States (see below).  Note that International Freshman and Exchange Students must check-in on pre-determined dates, as noted on the Spring 2014 Check-In Calendar.

Please note that International Graduate Students should consult with their department to confirm whether there is a pre-determined check in time or if students should schedule a check-in appointment.  Also, Visiting Scholars & Researchers should contact the Office of International Students and Scholars directly via telephone at (619)260-4598 or email at internationaloffice@sandiego.edu to schedule a check-in time.

International Student and Scholar Handbook: The International Student and Scholar Handbook is a great resource for your pre-departure planning.  This handbook covers topics such as finding a place to live in San Diego, purchasing or renting a car, opening a bank account, etc.

Entry to the United States: You may legally enter the United States up to 30 days prior to the program start date (indicated on your Form I-20 or DS-2019).  Remember to enter the United States under your student visa and not your tourist visa.

Arriving to San Diego/USD: The closest airport to USD is the San Diego International Airport (airport code SAN).  USD does not offer arranged airport pick-up service.  Taxi cab fare from the San Diego International Airport to USD should cost only about $25 (including a customary 10% tip).  All taxis from the airport are registered and the driver must charge fare based on a standardized electronic meter.  Though the driver will prefer cash, you may pay with any major credit card.

If your flight arrives at the Los Angeles International Airport (airport code LAX), there are a few transportation options when traveling from Los Angeles to San Diego.  The most convenient option is to book a flight from Los Angeles to San Diego, although this can also be quite costly.  Another more economical option is to arrange for a SuperShuttle prior to your arrival.

Please visit this link for additional information about arriving to the USD campus.

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MANDATORY IMMIGRATION CHECK-IN (Schedule Your Check-In Here)

You are required to visit the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) in USD’s International Center (Serra Hall, Room 315) within 3 to 7 days of your arrival in the United States to complete the mandatory immigration check-in.  You must comply with the check-in requirement to be able to register for classes.

International Freshman and Exchange Students check-in on pre-determined dates, as noted on the Spring 2014 Check-In Calendar. International Graduate Students should consult with their department to confirm whether there is a pre-determined check in time or if students should schedule a check-in appointment. Also, Visiting Scholars & Researchers should contact the Office of International Students and Scholars directly via telephone at (619)260-4598 or email at internationaloffice@sandiego.edu to schedule a check-in time.

For the mandatory immigration check-in, you must bring the following documents and information (and those of your dependents, if applicable):

  • Passport
  • Form I-20 (F-1 students) or Form DS-2019 (J-1 Exchange Visitors)
  • I-94 arrival/departure card* (only applies to students crossing a U.S. border by land)
  • Proof of comparable health insurance coverage if you are choosing to waive the USD health insurance requirement.  Please visit this link for more information about the USD health insurance requirement.
  • USD email address and student ID number
  • Local address in San Diego

*Please note: the I-94 card is now paper-less. It is possible for some students to still receive a paper I-94 card, depending on the port of entry.  Please visit the U.S. Customs & Border Patrol website for information about the I-94 card.  All students should receive a stamp on their passport to prove that they have entered the United States.

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WHAT IS A “HOLD” AND WHY DO I HAVE ONE?

As a new international student, you will have an automatic international registration “HOLD” on your USD account that will be removed once you check in at the International Center upon arrival.  Your academic advisor and the Health Center will also place holds that will be removed by these offices once requirements are met.  Please note that you will NOT be able to register or undertake other school-related transactions if there is still an active hold on your account.

Freshmen Students: There is no need to worry about the International Hold as your courses will be selected and registered based on the online survey you complete.

Transfer Students: You may be anxious to have your holds removed so that you can register for classes. To temporarily remove the hold so that you can register, you must be issued an I-20 and schedule an advising session by phone with your academic advisor (in your academic major) and ask that he or she contact the OISS to verify that the session took place or is scheduled to take place at a future date.  At that time, OISS can temporarily remove the international hold for 24 hours so that you can register for classes (this assumes that you have already removed your Health Center hold by submitting required immunization forms).

Graduate Students: As a graduate student, the International Hold will not serve as a significant obstacle as class registration for graduate students is typically not as competitive and time-sensitive as it is for undergraduate students.

Exchange Students and Scholars: Both J-1 Exchange Students and Scholars must abide by the check-in schedule determined by their program advisor.  Visiting scholars and researchers typically will not have any type of hold on their accounts.

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HOUSING/ACCOMMODATIONS

Living On-Campus: Students who plan to live on-campus can learn about on-campus housing accommodations, cost, and application deadlines by visiting the Residential Life Department’s website.  Note that USD does not offer temporary accommodations.

Living Off-Campus: Students who plan to live off-campus may consider arriving at least one week early to locate off-campus housing.  During this time, you may consider staying in a hotel - please refer to page 43 of the International Student and Scholar Handbook for a list of hotels close to the USD campus. 

Please refer to page 33 of the International Student and Scholar Handbook for more details regarding off-campus housing in San Diego.  In addition, we encourage you to visit our Facebook page to connect with current and incoming USD students who are looking for roommates or who wish to rent their houses/apartments.