Graduate Division

New International Graduate Student: Pre Arrival Checklist

This checklist has been developed as a guide to assist you in making plans to start your graduate career at UC Irvine. Although the timeline for the tasks generally fit the schedules of our new graduate students, follow the sequence as soon as you are admitted to the University.  Should you experience any problems or need additional information on any of these tasks Graduate InterConnect Peer Mentors and Graduate Division staff are available to help. Send us an email

Please note: The International Center is the authority on campus in regards to immigration issues. Visit the International Center website or contact International Center staff for the latest information about visa and immigration related issues. 

Section 2


Complete Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) Online

  • When the Graduate Division admits you officially, you will receive a link to complete the SIR online. This must be completed before registration can occur.
  • Complete as soon as possible after you are admitted. Admissions offers may be withdrawn after April 15, 2021 if the SIR is not completed.

Complete the Statement of Legal Residence (SLR)

  • You should complete the Statement of Legal Residence after completing the SIR (see above).
  • It is used to calculate your tuition and fees based on residency status.

Activate Your UCInetID and Check Your UCI Email


Complete On-Campus Housing Application Form


Become Familiar with the UCI International Center Services and Programs


Complete the I-20/DS-2019 Request for New Graduate Students Form

  • After receiving admission to UCI, your department will give you information about the process for completing and submitting the New Graduate Student Request Form to begin your request for visa documentation (I-20/DS-2019) from UC Irvine.
  • Contact your department if you have questions about getting the I-20 or DS-2019.

Pay the SEVIS fee after you receive I-20 or DS-2019

  • The SEVIS fee is paid by F-1/J-1 students and scholars to cover the cost of operation of SEVIS and is paid directly to the U.S. government.

Schedule Your Visa Interview and Apply for a Visa

  • Start the process as early as possible after receiving the I-20/DS-2019.
  • The timeline for issuance of the I-20 or DS-2019 will vary depending on receipt of complete documentation.
  • Note: You should not make your travel reservations until you have received your U.S. visa.
  • You are not allowed to enter the United States earlier than 30 days prior to the beginning date on your I-20 or DS-2019.
  • Complete as soon as possible after being admitted and submitting a positive SIR.

Apply for Financial Support

  • Although different types of support may be offered throughout the school year, many assistantships have May, June, or July deadlines.
  • Check academic and department websites for specific deadlines.

Review Resources for Studying in the USA

  • Education USA:  A website developed by the U.S. Department of State with useful information about graduate study and pre-departure resources. Look into pre-departure orientation programs in your country sponsored by Education USA.

Begin Exploring Various Types of Financial Resources

  •  You may make a funding request on your online application. Additionally, the following types of funding may be  available to graduate students:
    • Fellowships
    • Grants
    • Teaching & Research Assistantships  
    • Grader positions
  • Check with your academic department for more information.

Practice Your English Language Skills

  • In prepartion for academics, professional development, and social interactions, it is important to practice English. While international students are required to receive a passing TOEFL score to be admitted to a graduate program, some students find when they arrive on campus that their English proficiency needs to be improved.
  • UCI Resources (Practice in pronunciation and speaking, listening comprehension, etc.)
  • UC Berkeley Resources (Practice in pronunciation, listening comprehension, grammar and vocabulary.)
  • Once you are on campus, enroll in the School of Humanities Academic English courses to improve language and academic skills for all disciplines.  
  • Some newly admitted students may be required to take the SPEAK or TOEP exam in order to be eligible to become a Teaching Assistant.

Learn about the Graduate InterConnect Program

  • The Peer Mentors and Graduate Division staff will provide valuable support during your transition.
  • Visit the Graduate InterConnect Blog for information and resources from a graduate student's perspective. 

Look into UCI Campus Clubs


UC TB Screening and Immunization Requirements

It is the policy of the University of California that all new, incoming undergraduate and graduate students must obtain four required vaccines (or provide evidence of compliance) and complete a TB Risk Screening Questionnaire. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these health requirements prior to arrival on campus for the Fall term. The final dead-line date for incoming Freshman, Transfer and Graduate students to comply with these requirements is Friday, October 30, 2021. For further information go to 


Register for Classes

  • Use WebReg to enroll in classes. 
  • Consult with your graduate advisor or coordinator (titles vary by department) before registering for classes.
  • Graduate students are required to be enrolled full-time in at least 12 units. 
  • Please note that you must activate your UCInetID and file an SLR prior to enrolling in classes.
  • Complete no later than September 15. 

Register for both New Graduate Student Orientation Events (Date TBA - late September)

  • All new graduate students are invited to attend the International Graduate Welcome and Orientation and the Campuswide Graduate Welcome and Orientation.
  • These will provide you with an introduction to campus leadership, graduate student policies and resources.
  • Students will be notified about these events by means of their admissions letter from Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Gillian Hayes, and a series of communications from the Graduate Division will follow.
  • Online registration will begin in the summer with an email invitation. 

Submit official transcript(s) with degree certificate

  • Your original and official transcript(s) with degree certificate should be sent to:

           University of California, Irvine
           Graduate Division - Transcripts
           120 Aldrich Hall
           Irvine, CA 92697-3180

  • Or you may bring your documents to campus with you and deliver them to the address above. 
  • Additional documents may be required so please visit our website for details. 
  • Your department may also require official records if you earned an advanced degree (i.e. Master's).  Please check with your department.
  • All records submitted to our office become the property of the University and will not be returned to the student.  If your academic records cannot be replaced, please bring them directly to our office and we will photocopy and return them to you.

Apply for the Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) Waiver (if applicable)


See the "Once You Arrive" Post Arrival New International Graduate Student Checklist


Pay Your Tuition & Fees

  • There are many ways to pay your fees. Some students' departments pay fees on their behalf; other students self-pay:
    • Online: Use ZotPay, a feature within ZotAccount. This debits your bank account.
    • In person: Central Cashier's Office 228 Aldrich Hall (UCI map Building #111)
    • Mail: Make check out to UC Regents and include ID #. Send to Cashiers Office.
  • Please note that UC Irvine does not accept credit cards for payment of fees or tuition.
  • Complete as soon as possible and before September 15, 2021.
  • Fees MUST BE PAID on or before the established fee payment deadline.
  • It is the student's responsibility to see that their fees are paid on time, even when fees are being paid with departmental support.
  • Students must also enroll in classes by this date.

Check in with the International Center

  • F-1/J-1 international students must complete the International Center's visa check-in process - iNavigateUCI
  • For detailed information review Information for New Students.
  • Must be completed within 3 days after your arrival to the U.S.

Attend International Graduate Welcome and Orientation (Date TBA - late September)

  • New international graduate students will be introduced to specialized resources available on campus. 
  • You will be introduced to your academic program representatives, your Graduate InterConnect Peer Mentors and Graduate Division Staff. This is a great opportunity to connect with other new international students. 

Attend Campuswide Graduate Welcome and Orientation (Date TBA - late September)

  • This event will allow you to meet campus leaders and your fellow new graduate students.
  • You will also learn about expectations, policies, and campus resources.

Attend Your School or Department's New Graduate Student Orientation

  • Most departments or schools conduct new student orientation for students in their own programs.
  • The Graduate Division website lists all graduate degree programs and their websites. Use it to find orientation information for your program or to contact your program directly.

Conditions for Applying for a Social Security Number

  • If you have received an employment offer, you must apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) in order to work.
  • Go to your department to initiate the process for the Social Security Verification Letter.
  • The International Center has detailed information regarding Social Security Number application process and eligibility.
  • Bring the following items when going to the Social Security Office:
    • Passport
    • Visa
    • I-94 card
    • Visa document
    • Job offer letter
    • Proof of full time enrollment
    • Verification letter

Conditions for Obtaining an Individual Tax Identification Number

  • If you are not eligible to get a Social Security Number, international students who have received a fellowship or scholarship must apply for an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to receive a stipend.  
  • Students who will not be employed by their department or the University are generally ineligible for a Social Security Number (SSN).
  • Complete before the disbursement of stipends.

Apply for a California Driver License

  • If you intend to drive during your stay here, it is recommended that you get a California driver license within 30 days of your arrival in California.
  • To start the application and make an appointment visit the DMV website.
  • The closest DMV offices to Irvine are located in Laguna Hills and Costa Mesa.
  • The International Center has additional information about the California Driver License application process.