Frequently Asked Questions for Incoming Students
How do I access health care at the University? What forms are required?
As a full-time student, you have access to health care services, information, and guidance through UR's University Health Service (UHS). Please review their website on Information for Incoming Students. For general information on the need for health insurance, health care costs, and family care, see Health Care in the United States
Required health documentation to UHS: All full-time student are required to submit the Health History Form before the start of classes. You must also maintain adequate health insurance during your studies. You can enroll in the University's plan through Aetna Student Health or request a waiver by showing proof of comparable coverage. For details, please review Health Insurance for Full-Time Students.
Insurance coverage during the summer: If your full-time program of study will begin prior to August 1st, you must complete the Health Insurance Summer Enrollment/Waiver process with UHS. This will ensure that you have appropriate health insurance coverage from the beginning of your studies at the University of Rochester. If you plan travel or arrive in Rochester before your classes begin, you should consider having travel insurance or other coverage during this time. Please review alternative options for insurance.
Can I sign up for University housing? Where can I live off-campus?
The Office of Residential Life & Housing Services oversees various aspects of undergraduate and graduate student living on and off campus. Students in the Eastman School of Music should contact the local Residential Life office in the Eastman Commons Student Living Center. Many students enjoy living on campus in University Housing because of the camaraderie that develops within the residence halls and university apartments. Students living on campus also enjoy an easy commute to classes. However, with limited space on campus and some preferences for independent living, many students are successful living off-campus too.
Special Services for International Students: The Office of Residential Life offers assistance with off-campus housing for international students, such as recommendations, lease review, and tours! Visit ResLife Resources for International Students to learn more about how they can assist you.
For students who do not receive a housing assignment or choose to live off-campus, plan to arrive in Rochester 2 – 4 weeks prior to the start of your program to locate suitable housing, purchase furniture, and become familiar with transportation to and from campus. When renting an apartment, most tenants are required to pay the first month’s rent and a security deposit (equal to one month’s rent) at the time that they sign the lease. If the apartment is not damaged while you are living there, the security deposit should be returned in full when you move out. You will need to have sufficient funds available when you arrive in order to cover these costs and to purchase necessary items, such as furniture, linens, and books. Students expecting to receive an assistantship or fellowship to pay for items like these should understand that the first check often cannot be issued for at least a month. Therefore, you will need immediate access to adequate funds before your arrival. We suggest you plan on having at least US $2000 upon arrival. You must declare the amount of cash you are carrying at the port of entry to the Customs and Border Patrol agent. For additional information, please see Housing in Rochester.
How will I pay my bill to the University?
The Office of the Bursar handles billing and tuition payment issues for all University students. They can help explain available payment plans, billing procedures, and methods of payment. Please note that if the necessary forms and information are not submitted to the Bursar’s Office, you may be prohibited from timely course registration, which can cause immigration complications.
Am I allowed to work in the United States?
The ISO will provide information on what types of work options are available in the United States while you are in student status and will assist you in applying for the authorizations you will need to work. Working without authorization is a severe violation of your status and is a deportable offense. As an international student under UR's visa sponsorship, you are eligible to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during annual vacation periods. J-1 students must report all on-campus employment to the ISO in order to receive written work authorization in advance. If your immigration status is sponsored by another institution (Fulbright, AmidEast, etc.), all work authorizations must be requested through the program sponsor. ALL off-campus employment must be authorized and documented in advance, before you start working! Find more details about work authorization options online: Employment Information.
Can I apply for a Social Security Number?
A US Social Security Number (SSN) is used to track an employee's wages for benefits eligibility and tax reporting requirements. This number is assigned permanently, so you do not need to get a new SSN if you already have one. As an international student, you are required to report your SSN if you become employed in the United States (with authorization). Students who have been awarded an on-campus fellowship, stipend, or assistantship and do not have an SSN yet, should apply for one as soon as possible upon arrival at the University. For more details on eligibility and application procedures, please see our SSN Information.
Will I have to file US tax forms?
As an international student, you will be subject to several tax reporting obligations, even if you do not collect any US earnings. However, to help you navigate the tax system and meet these requirements, the University offers a free software program called GLACIER. After your arrival, you will receive an email from "firstname.lastname@example.org" with instructions to create your GLACIER account. This email is NOT spam! More information on the US tax system and University resources are available on our Tax page.
Can I travel within the United States and visit Canada?
It is recommended that you always carry your University ID, current I-20 or DS-2019, and passport when traveling in the United States, even within the Rochester area. These documents, including your I-94 admission record, document your valid F-1 or J-1 student status. Even if you are not entering or exiting the country, you may encounter immigration and other government officers who ask to verify your status, especially near the airport, train and bus stations. If you are stopped and questioned about your status, the ISO may be contacted to help. When you arrive, you will receive a card with ISO Contact Information to carry with you. Review our Travel Information for additional guidance.
Where can I find information about life in the United States and Rochester?
Arriving in a new place is both exciting and challenging! For international students, this transition can become especially complicated by different systems & customs, new requirements, and greater uncertainty of what to expect. The ISO has compiled details and resources about Life at UR, which you may find helpful as you take necessary steps to get settled here and prepare for a successful start to your academic program at the University of Rochester! You'll find information on:
- Bank accounts
- Cell phones
- US Culture
- Community resources
- Legal issues
- And more!!!