University of Wisconsin-La Crosse |

International Education & Engagement

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  • Pre-departure and arrival

    Oktoberfest Parade 2014
    Oktoberfest Parade, 2014 – Photo by Yichu Yang

    Congratulations on your admission to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse!

    The university, campus community and Office of International Education look forward to welcoming you to our campus.

    Before you begin your studies at UWL, there are some important steps that you must complete.  Below you will find helpful information for your journey to UWL.  If you have any questions that are not covered in this information, please feel free to contact us.

    Visa/Immigration Process

    Obtaining a visa & entering the U.S.

    Visa Interview: When preparing for your visa interview, you will need to remember the following:

    1. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee at least 3 days before your visa interview and bring the receipt with you to your appointment.
    2. Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (Form DS-160).
    3. Pay the visa application fee.  See your local embassy or consulate website for more information

    Prepare the following documents for your interview:
    • Valid passport
    • Receipt of SEVIS I-901 fee payment
    • I-20 or DS-2019
    • Proof of funding
    • UWL admission letter
    • Two 2x2 passport size photographs
    • Information showing strong ties to your home country (family, job prospects, etc.)
    • Check your local embassy or consulate website for any additional information they may require.
    To obtain a student visa, you must demonstrate the following to the consular officer:
    • You are a student with an educational plan
    • You have the financial resources to study in the U.S. for at least one year
    • You have strong ties to your home country
    • You plan to return to your home country after you have completed your studies

    Port of Entry & Customs

    Port of Entry: International Students on an F-1 or J-1 visa can enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the program start date listed on their I-20 or DS-2019.

    When you arrive in the U.S., your first stop will be Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).  Make sure to carry these items with you for inspection. Do not pack them in your checked luggage!

    • Passport: Must be valid six months into the future
    • F-1 or J-1 student visa: Must not be expired
    • Proof of Funding
    • I-20 or DS-2019
    • UWL admission letter
    Customs: After you complete the CBP immigration inspection, you must go through customs.  At this time you will be asked to declare what you have brought into the U.S.  There are prohibited and restricted items which may not be allowed into the U.S. or items which are only allowed in limited quantities.  This includes alcohol, cigarettes, food, and medicine.  Please check the Customs and Border Patrol website for current restrictions and limitations.  If you are carrying over $10,000 in any currency or travelers' checks, you must declare it on your customs declaration form!

    Students Transferring from Institutions in the U.S.

    If you are transferring from an institution in the United States and already have a valid F-1 visayou must do the following in order to ensure that your immigration record is transferred.

    • Complete the UW-La Crosse SEVIS Transfer-In Form.  Bring this form along with your UW-La Crosse acceptance letter to your current international student adviser (the person who signed your I-20).  This will allow them to transfer your immigration record to our university.

    How do I get to La Crosse?

    UWL US and Wisconsin Maps

    The La Crosse Airport (LSE) is served by two airlines: Delta Airlines and American Airlines.  The Office of International Education recommends arriving at the La Crosse Airport, as it is the closest airport to UWL.  Many flights arrive at the La Crosse Airport daily, making it the most convenient choice.

    Students who arrive during the designated arrival times will have the option of being picked up by the Office of International Education from the La Crosse Airport.  If you arrive outside of the designated arrival dates you must arrange your own transportation to campus.  Please be sure to submit your arrival information after you book your flight to La Crosse! Please click the appropriate link at the top of this page to submit your arrival information.


    Weather in Wisconsin

    Wisconsin's climate has four distinct seasons: fall, winter, spring and summer.  Weather ranges from hot and humid conditions in the summer (70 to 90 F or 21 to 32 C) to cold, freezing and snowy weather in the winter (below 0 to 35 F or -18 to 0 C).  Summer conditions require hydration while winter weather conditions require appropriate warm clothing.