Frequently asked questions

Are there scholarships for international students?

Financial assistance from UNCW for international students is extremely limited, since the out-of-state tuition at UNCW is lower than at many comparable institutions. More

How do I know if I pay in-state or out-of-state tuition?

Residency determinations are made by the Office of Admissions at the time you are admitted. More

International students jumping in air at beach

Pre-Arrival Information for Degree-Seeking International Students

Congratulations on your acceptance to UNCW!  The Office of International Programs is here to help you with your F-1 student visa paperwork and serves as a resource for international students throughout their time at UNCW.  Before arriving on campus, there are a few extra things you must complete as an F-1 visa holder. Please review the information below carefully.  We look forward to welcoming you to the UNCWorld.

Visa Information

How do I know if I need UNCW's F-1 visa sponsorship?

If you are an international student who has a visa status that allows you to study in the U.S. (e.g., U.S. permanent resident, H4, L2, TD, etc.), you do not need to become an F-1 visa holder. If you are outside of the U.S., you will need to obtain an F-1 visa to study as an international student in accordance with government regulations. If you are currently in the U.S. in F-1 status at another institution, please see the "Transferring F-1 Visa Sponsorship" section below.

The I-20

For students who need UNCW to sponsor them for F-1 student status, the first step is for UNCW to issue the student the F-1 visa eligibility certificate, Form I-20. To issue the student an I-20, students must submit to the Office of International Programs the completed International Student Data Form and proof of financial support (bank statement or letter in English, no older than six months). If the funds are not in the student's name, the financial sponsor must also provide a letter that indicates he will sponsor the student. (Sample letter here.)

How Much Financial Support Must I Show?


Undergraduate Students


Graduate Students


I-901 SEVIS Fee

Students must complete U.S. government form I-901 and pay the fee associated with this application.  You must present your receipt for I-901 payment at the time you apply for your visa and at the time you enter the U.S.  Information on the I-901 SEVIS Fee can be found here.  

Getting a Visa

If you are outside of the United States and require a visa to enter, you must apply for an F-1 visa at an American Consulate or Embassy abroad. To apply for the visa, you will need to present a valid passport, I-20, proof that you have paid the I-901 SEVIS fee, and documentation of your financial support. More detailed information on the student visa application process can be found here. You may apply for your visa no earlier than 120 days prior to the start date of your academic program, as listed in field #5 on the I-20. Citizens of Canada do not need to obtain an F-1 visa stamp to enter the U.S.

Entering the U.S.

You may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days prior to the start date of your academic program, as listed in field #5 on the I-20. When you arrive in the U.S., the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staff will ask to see your passport, F-1 visa stamp (for everyone except citizens of Canada), I-20 form, proof of I-901 SEVIS fee payment, and financial documentation. The CBP officer will inspect your documents and then return them to you.

Transferring F-1 Visa Sponsorship within the U.S.

If you are currently attending another institution in the United States as an F-1 student, you will need to transfer your F-1 status sponsorship in the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) from your current school to UNCW to remain in lawful F-1 status. To initiate the transfer process, you should contact your present International Student Adviser and inform him that you want to transfer your F-1 SEVIS record to UNCW. You should determine with your current adviser the date your record is released to UNCW. Your current adviser must also complete this form and submit it to the Office of International Programs at UNCW. Once your record has been released to UNCW, and once you submit the required documentation for I-20 issuance, UNCW will issue you a new I-20. Students must obtain the new I-20 from UNCW before they commence studies at UNCW to remain in lawful F-1 status.

Change of Status

If you are currently in the U.S. in another visa classification (e.g., H4, L2) and want to change your status to that of F-1 student, you will need to speak with staff in the UNCW Office of International Programs about this process. Please note that this process can take three to four months, so please contact us as early as possible.

Mandatory Check-In

All students in F-1 status must attend a mandatory check-in at the Office of International Programs (Friday Annex) within one week of their arrival in Wilmington.  This is a requirement of the Department of Homeland Security, thus failure to check in may jeopardize one's ability to remain legally in the U.S.

International Student & Scholar Services

International Student Organization

To connect with other international students, you are invited to join the International Student Organization.  The International Student Organization is dedicated to multiculturalism. Through group trips, country presentations, sporting events and social gatherings the members of this group seek to learn about the world and each other.  Visit the ISO website for more information.

Host Family Program

Host families are a great way to experience U.S. culture and life with an American family.  Host families range from young families with children to single, retired individuals; all host families are available during your stay in Wilmington to make you feel at home.  They will normally include you in activities and will meet with you at least once a month as determined by you and your family.  Students do not live with host families, but rather socialize with them occasionally.  Many of our students have found this to be a very enriching experience.  If you’d like to request a host family, please complete this form.

International Student Seminar Course

International students are encouraged to enroll in INT 292: International Student Seminar. In this fully experiential course international students are introduced to various sectors of the Wilmington community while they think critically about how institutions are broader reflections of society and culture. Past classes have visited an elementary school, hospital, jail, courthouse, museum and more. To enroll in this course, you will need to register for it at the same time you register for your other academic courses. For more information, email the course instructor, Jennifer Fernandez-Villa.

Advanced English Course

Non-native speakers of English are encouraged to register for an advanced-level English course, FLL 105.  The course focuses on honing university-level English writing and speaking skills (including pronunciation and presentation skills), and idioms/slang/popular culture.  If you would like to sign up for this course, you will need to register for it at the same time you register for your other academic courses. For more information, email the course instructor, Maike Walbrecht.

International Student Welcome Event

The Office of International Programs holds a welcome event at the start of each semester to introduce new and continuing degree-seeking international students to each other.  Specific information will be given to you during the Mandatory Check-In meeting at the Office of International Programs.  We hope to see you there! 

Other Information


For students who elect to live on-campus, the UNCW Office of Housing coordinates all assignments.  Detailed information for the room sign up process can be found on your TealTicket.  To learn more about on-campus housing, visit their website.    

For students who choose to live off-campus, the UNCW Seahawk Perch office serves as the university resource for researching off-campus accommodation options.  For information regarding off-campus housing, please visit their website.  Please note that the Seahawk Perch serves as a guide, but students are ultimately responsible for finding their own accommodation, signing a lease, obtaining furniture, etc.

While the Office of International Programs cannot recommend one place over another, many students like the apartments on Racine Drive called Campus Walk I or II, or Clear Run. They are an easy walk to campus, a grocery store, and are on the bus line. Other apartments require a car or at least a bike. Two condominiums that are near campus are Carleton Place and Ashton. Students can look for these listings along with the aforementioned apartments on this website as well.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is required for all UNCW students. For more details, visit the student health insurance website or contact the Student Health Center.

Immunization & Medical History Form

Your completed Immunization & Medical History Form must be returned to the Student Health Center by the first day of classes.  If you are missing any immunizations, you will not be permitted to attend class until you have met all requirements.  You should have all immunizations taken care of before you arrive on campus and confirm that you are compliant with the Student Health Center.  (Immunizations can be very expensive in the U.S.)  Please keep a copy of the Immunization & Medical History Form for your own records and bring it with you to campus.  If your form gets lost, your copy is the only way to prove that you’ve had the necessary immunizations. 


All newly admitted UNCW students are required to attend Orientation. Undergraduate students should sign up for Orientation by following the instructions on your TealTicket while graduate students will receive information about their orientation from their department.

Paying Your Bill

All students must pay their tuition & fees by the first day of the semester. Failure to pay your bill in full will result in your courses being cancelled. All payments are made to the Office of Student Accounts. If you would like to pay your bill in installments, rather than all at once, you will need to contact Student Accounts to work out that arrangement. The most efficient means for a student using an international bank account to pay student fees is through Travelex’s Bank to Bank Transfer. Please see the Student Accounts website for full details.

For questions, please call us at 910-962-3685 or send an email.

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