Information for Prospective and New International Students

We understand that traveling to the United States for study can be a big step culturally and logistically.  The information on this section of the website is here to help you prepare for taking this step. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via email or telephone.

USciences is authorized under Federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students.  All new students who are not US citizens will be contacted by the ISS office after paying their tuition deposit.  The ISS office will advise non-citizens about their visa needs and assist them with necessary paperwork.

Explore these topics to learn more:

F-1 Student Status


An F-1 student is a non-immigrant who is studying full-time towards a degree or other specific educational objective.  While an F-1 student visa is generally limited to five years, a student’s F-1 status continues for the duration of their studies as long as they comply with the regulations.  The purpose of the visa is to gain entry into the US. If your visa expires while you are in the USA you can continue to study, but you must renew it if you leave the country.

SEVIS and the Form I-20

A student’s F-1 status is reflected on their I-20, which allows them to enter the USA and demonstrate their legal status while in the USA.  The I-20 is created and updated through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which is the database the government uses to monitor international students in the USA in F-1 status.  These students should always make sure the information on the I-20 is correct and up-to-date.

Designated School Officials (DSOs)

Each school certified to host F-1 students is required to have at least one Designated School Official (DSO), who is responsible for updating students’ SEVIS records and reporting any changes to the government through SEVIS.  Students should report any changes in their personal or academic details to the DSO. At USciences, the DSO also advises international students on maintaining their F-1 status and helps them integrate into the university community.

Getting a Student Visa

These are the basic steps in getting a student visa:

  • An accepted student pays the tuition deposit;
  • The ISS office requests documents from the student;
  • After receiving these, the ISS office sends the student papers necessary to obtain a visa;
  • The student pays the I-901 fee and applies for a visa at the US embassy or consulate in their home country;
  • The US embassy or consulate grants the student a visa;
  • The student travels to the USA with their visa and USciences documentation to begin studies.

The ISS will reach out to all accepted international students with more details about the process and the documentation required for I-20 issuance.

Preparing to Attend USciences

Required Health Insurance

USciences requires all international students on an F-1 visa to enroll in the university’s student health insurance plan (SHIP), or to opt out of the plan.  It is only possible to opt out of (or waive) the SHIP if you can demonstrate that you have purchased a plan with benefits that are equal to or better than the SHIP.

Students sponsored by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM) are not required to submit plan information before arrival or enroll in the SHIP.

Additional information about how to enroll.

Health and Immunization Requirements for New Students

USciences requires all entering full-time undergraduate and graduate students to provide proof of medical clearance to attend classes, consisting of:

  • Up-to-date medical history (completed by student)
  • Comprehensive health evaluation (i.e. Physical Exam by a Physician/Nurse Practitioner)
  • Documentation by Physician/Nurse Practitioner (prior to entering the USA) stating proof of all required vaccinations.

Students who do not submit a fully completed health packet by the deadline will be charged a late fee and registration may be restricted until all health requirements are met (completed health form, physical exam and proof of all required vaccinations).

New international students will be sent instructions from Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) along with with their immigration documents.  The health packet and details about immunization and other health requirements can also be found on the SHAC website.

Transferring to USciences

International students accepted to USciences often come from a high school or another university within the United States.  To maintain F-1 status, these students must request a SEVIS transfer from the former school to USciences. The USciences ISS will advise accepted students already studying in F-1 status on transfer procedures and necessary documentation.

Students in F-1 status may stay in the USA while waiting to start their studies at USciences if the time period between the I-20 program end date at their former school and the USciences I-20 program start date is less than five months.



Students under the age of 21 and without dependents are required to live on campus and purchase a meal plan.  Students must submit a housing application and a room reservation fee before arrival, and will be contacted with information on how to apply upon acceptance.  More information about on-campus housing.

The residence halls and dining halls are closed for the winter, spring and summer breaks.  Students should check the dates on the academic calendar and plan early to find alternative accommodations for these breaks.


There is no on-campus housing for graduate students or for married couples and families, but there are plenty of options close by.  

When thinking about living off-campus, there are several factors to consider: proximity to campus, safety, cost, and accessibility to public transportation.  Housing around USciences can vary greatly in price, condition, convenience and type of accommodation. Because renting an apartment can be expensive, many students live with roommates to share the cost of rent and utilities.

For more information, see the Residence Life website or view off-campus housing options.

International Student Orientation

This orientation is mandatory for all new F-1 students at USciences, including first-year, transfer, and graduate students. Meet the staff of the International Student Services office and learn
about the services and resources available to international students.  The ISS office will send accepted students details about orientation prior to their arrival.


Bill Keyes, International Student Specialist


University of the Sciences
600 South 43rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495