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Accepted/Current F-1 Students

ATTENTION: Beginning Fall 2016, student accounts will no longer be charged for the F-1 student health insurance fee.
F-1 students with a LSC Form I-20 who are not approved for a waiver will need to purchase the insurance from the LSC-approved Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) Administrator before they will be allowed to register for classes. Concurrently enrolled F-1 students will need to provide proof of exemption. To avoid registration delays, please see the
SHIP webpage and the F-1 Insurance FAQ for more information on how to meet the requirement.


Checklist for Newly Accepted F-1 Students

Complete the steps listed in the checklist below that applies to you. These are the steps that you need to take to apply for your F-1 visa/status, prepare to come to the U.S., enter the U.S., arrive to Houston, check in with your DSO, register and pay for classes, and attend your classes. Refer to the checklist that applies to the type of I-20 you received. 


Important Travel Information

Take these documents with you onto the airplane in your carry-on luggage for quick and easy access. Be sure you have all the contact information and your documents before you board the plane.  Contact your Designated School Official (DSO)/International Student Advisor to verify that you have all necessary documents before you travel. The advisor's name is on the SEVIS I-20 which you received in your welcome packet.  

Travel Documents

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid I-20 form
  • Valid U.S. Visa

Academic Documents

  • Official transcript from the high school, university, or college in which you attended.

Photocopies of important documents

Make sure you have photocopies of main passport pages, issue and expiration dates, all transcripts and academic documents. Please leave one set of these documents with your family members before your travel. Carry a few passport size photos of yourself with you and put a name tag on all of your luggage. In case of a delay or if your luggage is lost in the travel you can easily provide copies of your documents.

Important Contact Information

Keep your passport number, travelers' checks numbers, bank draft number, flight number and emergency contact number on a sheet of paper. Keep it in your carry-on bag/hand bag, so you don't have to take out your important documents every time you need to fill out a form. Also, leave a copy of the list of all these important numbers with your family/guardian.

Other Items

  • Dictionary Reference
  • Pre-paid Phone Card

Arriving in the Houston Area

Houston has two main airports to fly into: Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in north Houston, and Hobby Airport (HOU) in far south Houston.  

At IAH, taxis can be hailed through the Ground Transportation employees outside each terminal. Charges are according to the flat Zone Rate or the meter rate.

At IAH, there is public bus service through Houston Metro, which offers bus service at the south side of Terminal C.

These buses do not run to the campuses. 

Our campuses and satellite centers are located throughout the north, northeast and northwest part of the Greater Houston Area.


Each campus provides a mandatory orientation session specifically for new and transfer international students. This is different from the new student orientation that is required for new students by each campus.

  • Dates
    These sessions occur before the semester begins. Your DSO/International Student Advisor will notify you of your assigned date and time in your acceptance packet. Please make arrangements to attend this mandatory session. 

Driver's License

You can only drive with a valid foreign driver's license for a limited time so you will need to apply for a Texas driver's license. You can get more information about driving with a foreign license at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/movingtotexas.htm.

 Applying for a Texas Driver's License

  • Texas requires applicants to have lived in Texas for at least 30 days before applying unless they surrender a driver’s license from another U.S. state.
  • Due to delays in communication between immigration systems and the driver license system, you may experience delays in receiving your driver’s license.
  • We recommend having the required documents available before going to a driver’s license office to reduce the number of visits.
  • Please see http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/ApplyforLicense.htm for information on the driver’s license application process. The “Foreign Students and Nonresident Visitors” section provides information about the documents you can use to fulfill the requirements.
  • F-1 students cannot apply for a Social Security Number for the purposes of receiving a driver’s license. The driver’s license offices are aware of this. If you encounter any problems, ask to speak to a supervisor.

Community & Surrounding Areas

Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States. See what our community and surrounding areas have to offer.