Office of International Programs and Services

International and Exchange Student Orientation

IPS Orientation

 

The Office of International Programs and Services (IPS) conducts an orientation to provide you important information about the University, its academic system, campus facilities, residential living, immigration and visa regulations, as well as other vital support services.

Our 3-day International Orientation to make your adjustment to the WCU campus as easy as possible. IPS requires that all new students arrive on campus approximately one (1) week prior to classes starting, both to attend this orientation and to have sufficient time to adjust to your new home and community here in Cullowhee, NC.

IPS offers a thorough explanation about the educational and cultural atmosphere at Western Carolina University and the surrounding communities of Cullowhee and Sylva, while also providing an opportunity for you all to meet and to create relationships with continuing WCU students, faculty and staff.

U.S. immigration regulations require that you and all international students and exchange visitors register your presence in the US within 30 days of the program start date listed on your individual immigration document (I-20/DS-2019). Your SEVIS Registration takes place during orientation

Orientation Checklist:

  • Complete your Immunization Form and Medical History

  • Sign your Residential Living form

  • Pre-payment for on-campus housing

  • Share your arrival and flight info IPS Staff

  • Select and register for your courses 

  • Make extra copies of all important documents

  • Be prepared to pay all fees including tuition, housing, meal plan, and others during orientation. Note: Exchange Students who attend WCU do not pay tuition and fees (except book rental fees). Most exchanges (UNCEP / Bilateral) who live on campus pay for housing, meal plan, and insurance if applicable. ISEP Exchanges pay for book rental fees only.

  • Additionally, IPS coordinates several annual inter-cultural events throughout the year to build cultural diversity and a strong international community on Western Carolina University's campus. We encourage you to bring along items that represent your country or home university that you could share at these annual events. Such events include the Study Abroad Fair in September, International Education Week in November, our International Festival in April.


Sevis activation

Below are the documents each type all new or transfer international students and exchange visitors must bring along with a VALID Passport, I-94, I-20 or DS-2019 and any other immigration documents to the Office of International Programs and Services when you are scheduled to register in the SEVIS Database.

 

If you have questions about your SEVIS Activation please contact Kaitlin Ritchie, +1 828.227.2567.

All F-1 and J-1 Visa Holders

  • Original I-20/DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility (stamped at the port of entry) for the student and any dependents.
  • Original passport, visa, and I-94 card (issued at the port of entry) for the student and any dependents.
  • Proof of health insurance coverage.
  • J-1 students are also required to show proof of health insurance coverage for any dependents.

Transfer f-1 visa holders

  • Original I-20/DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility (stamped at the port of entry) for the student and any dependents
  • Original passport, visa, and I-94 card (issued at the port of entry) for the student and any dependents
  • Proof of health insurance coverage.
  • All previous I-20s.

Dependents of Primary Visa Holders

  • New students who are dependents with the visa status of F-2, J-2, L-2, or H-4 must bring immigration documents for themselves as well as the primary visa holder (spouse or parent). This includes the I-20/DS-2019, passport, visa, and I-94 card.
  • Proof of health insurance coverage.

Other Primary Visa Holders

  • New students who hold any other visa category must bring all documents related to their immigration status, including the passport, visa, and I-94 card.
  • Proof of health insurance coverage.
Office of Web Services