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Coming to BYU

Both before and after arriving at BYU you will likely have many questions regarding the campus, your program of studies, living conditions and many other things related to arriving at a new place and becoming a student here. Below are answers to the most common pre-arrival questions, but we realize that we cannot anticipate every situation or question that you might have. Feel free to contact us for assistance.
Before You Come
Once You Arrive
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Helpful Resources

US Immigration Inspection

United States Port of Entry

  • Before you will be admitted to the United States, you will be required to present your passport, visa, Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, your proof of SEVIS fee payment and your completed Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record to the Immigration inspector. We recommend that you also have your proof of finances documentation with you should you be asked for it. 
  • Expect to have your index fingers scanned for fingerprint purposes and a digital photograph taken. 
  • When you are admitted, the Immigration inspector should stamp your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 in red and write "F-1" or "J-1" and "D/S" before returning it to you. 
  • The inspector should also stamp your Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) in red and write "F-1" or "J-1" and "D/S" indicating the date and place of admission to the United States, your immigration classification, and your authorized length of stay. 
  • Most of the time, there will be no difficulty. In certain cases, if there is some problem with your documents, you may be issued a 30-day entry on your Form I-94 and issued a Form I-515, usually with instructions to see your international student advisor to resolve. 
  • Before leaving the port of entry, check to make sure this information is entered upon your documents. Keep these documents in a safe and accessible place during your stay in the United States. 
  • Anyone who is denied admission at the U.S. port of entry should be very cautious about arguing with an immigration official. You may risk being issued "expedited removal" which now entails a five-year bar on admission to the U.S. 
  • More Information 

Transportation from the SLC airport to BYU

You will need to arrange transportation from the Salt Lake City International Airport to Provo, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south. A shuttle service is available from Express Shuttle or Super Shuttle for about $30.

Less expensive TRAX and FrontRunner train services are also available. We recommend doing your own research as well, but here are the most recent instructions we have heard on how to get to Provo using these services:

  1. From the airport, take the TRAX green line to North Temple.
  2. Get off at North Temple and take the FrontRunner going south until Provo.
  3. From there, you can take the UVX bus around Provo depending on when and where you are going. You can also opt out to use an Uber or someone can pick you up from the Provo FrontRunner station.

For more information, please go to the TRAX and FrontRunner websites.

If you have friends or family in the states, you can also arrange for them to pick you up at the airport.

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Click on the button below to find out what BYU is all about!

Once you are admitted, you can start preparing by looking through and following the information provided below. You may not be able to complete all of the steps until a certain amount of time before your admitted start date. For example, for official school documents, such as the I-20 or DS-2019, please wait until our office contacts you to continue.

What You Should Know


  • You must have a passport valid at least six months into the future from the time you plan to enter the U.S.; contact your government for application details. 

Register for Your Classes 

  • The best way to register for classes is to add classes to your cart prior to your priority registration date. These classes will be automatically be processed on your priority registration date if you submit your cart. 
  • Click on the following link to register for classes
  • We recommend talking with an academic advisor if you have any questions on what classes to take and/or for advice on building the right schedule for you.
  • Advisement is available from your major's department or the University Advisement Center.

After receiving either a Form I-20 for F visas or a Form DS-2019 for J visas from BYU, you must obtain your F or J visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country to travel to a U.S. port of entry. 

If you are a Canadian citizen entering the U.S. from within the Western Hemisphere, you are not required to have a passport or visa, but you must show your Form I-20, or Form DS-2019, and proof of Canadian citizenship. 

  • Please visit the following link to view wait times for student visas at each embassy: Visa Spreadsheet. This is updated every Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. MST — courtesy of BYU's MBA recruiters.
  • Make sure that you use BYU's Form I-20 or DS-2019 when you apply for your visa and when you enter the U.S. 
  • Be certain to apply for either a F or J visa. You may not use B-2 visitor/tourist visas to study in the U.S.
  • Other resources:

Be sure to secure housing accommodations before arriving to the U.S.

  • Housing questions should be directed to the on-campus or off-campus housing offices, which can be found at the links listed below.
  • Resources for finding housing:
U.S. Insurance

Please watch the following video: U.S. Health System Explained. This video teaches international students how to prepare for their arrival to the U.S., how the U.S. healthcare system works and how students should seek medical care appropriately if they become sick or injured. 

Travel Plans

  • Give yourself time to plan for your travel to the U.S. well in advance.
  • Please note that you may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days before your I-20 (F visas) or DS-2019 (J visas) start date.
  • Please see the travel tab at the top of this page for more information.

  • It is a good idea to exchange currency for U.S. dollars before your departure, but you should not travel with large amounts of cash. 
  • Make arrangements to have your funds transferred and available to you in the U.S. when you arrive. 

What are Provo and Utah Valley like? 

  • Provo City - BYU is within the boundaries of Provo City. Follow this link to find out about Provo and its services. 
  • Utah Valley - Provo is located in beautiful Utah Valley which includes several cities and places for recreation and shopping.
  • More Information
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Please see the admitted international student checklist for more information:

International Services Check-in

Once you arrive to the U.S., you must complete your check-in with our office in order to have your SEVIS record activated. This can be done online once you arrive to the U.S. through our e-forms website. You may check in before the beginning of classes, but you must check in within 20 days of your Form I-20 start date (listed on page 1). 

You will need the following for your e-form check-in:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Form I-94 (please click on the link to get your I-94)
  • Form I-20 (F visas) or Form DS-2019 (J visas)

New Student Orientation (NSO)

If you are a new international student, you will have the opportunity to attend the International New Student meeting. This is part of the general campus New Student Orientation for all new students where you will receive vital information for maintaining your legal status, passports, academic requirements, TB testing, available resources and employment opportunities.

Other Important Information

  • If you have lived outside of the U.S. or Canada for six months or more within the last five years, you may be required to have a tuberculosis skin test. If you do not complete this by the first day of classes a TB hold will be put on your record. This test must be completed in the U.S. If you have any questions, please call 801-422-5134 or 801-422-7711.

    TB Test Information

  • You must first get your Tuberculosis (TB) test; TB tests are given at the Student Health Center. After you have the results of your TB test, go to the I.D. Center in 2310 WSC (801-422-5092). 

    ID Center Information

  • Be sure to buy your textbooks and supplies before classes begin. To view the required materials, please use the following link: BYU Booklist

  • Become acquainted with campus and the locations of your class and other BYU services and (virtual tour and map).