Early Fall Start (EFS) International Freshmen

Welcome to Early Fall Start (EFS) at the University of Washington! EFS classes begin on Tuesday, August 27, 2019. International students on F-1 or J-1 visas enrolled in this program must attend a compulsory Embark session on Sunday, August 25.

Early Fall Start is an optional program for new freshmen who wish to begin their studies early and earn credits before fall quarter begins. There are a few important things you should know as an international student participating in the Early Fall Start program. To register for EFS, please visit the EFS website. The registration deadline is August 22.


International students may enter the U.S. up to, but not more than, 30 days prior to the start date listed on your I-20. Please make your travel plans accordingly and do not arrive more than 30 days before the date if you are entering the U.S. with an "Initial Attendance" I-20 form.

Early Fall Start Embark: August 25

All new international students on F-1 or J-1 visas at the University of Washington Seattle are required by the university to attend one Embark session, organized by FIUTS in collaboration with the UW International Student Services office and other campus offices. Students participating in EFS must attend Embark on August 25 before EFS classes begin. If you are planning to participate in EFS, please register for the session on August 25. You do not need to attend an additional Embark session during International Welcome Weeks in September.

EFS Embark will take place Sunday, August 25, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., in the HUB Lyceum. There will be treats on the HUB Patio immediately following the session.

Immigration Check-In

All new international students on F-1 or J-1 visas need to complete the immigration check-in process. You must report your local address and upload digital copies of your immigration documents to ISS. You will then complete your check-in by physically reporting to campus at EFS Embark. View the New Students Post-Arrival Checklist for instructions on updating your address and uploading your documents. Remember to sign your I-20 before submitting.


EFS participants are eligible to apply for Early Fall Start housing. For more information, visit UW Housing & Food Services.

You are also welcome to apply for the FIUTS Welcome Week Homestay Program. This week-long (7-10 days maximum) program is designed to give you an opportunity to make a connection with a local family. Your host family can assist you with airport pick-up and transitioning to your life in Seattle. The deadline to apply for a homestay is one month prior to your arrival in Seattle. You can find more information about the FIUTS Welcome Week Homestay Program here.

Advising & Orientation

Important: All first-year undergraduate students at the UW are required to attend First Year Programs (FYP) Advising & Orientation (A&O). Out-of-state students — both domestic and international — have the option of attending the EFS-Only A&O session held on Monday, August 26, and Tuesday, August 27. This session is scheduled around the start of EFS classes on August 21. See the First Year Programs Advising & Orientation site for registration information and more details. You must complete your orientation by August 27, 2019.

EFS Welcome Party

Plan to be on campus for the Official EFS Welcome Party on Tuesday, August 27, starting at 5:30 p.m. in the courtyard outside Area 01 (Maple Hall) and Lander Hall. This event is free and designed to engage you with your new academic and social community. Make new friends, compete for fun prizes, and enjoy your first college pizza dinner! Note: If you are attending Advising and Orientation (A&O), your Orientation Leader will walk with you to the Welcome Party after A&O ends. This event is a collaboration between FIUTS, Housing and Food Services, First Year Programs, and Early Fall Start.

Health Insurance

International students are required to enroll in the international student insurance plan while attending the University of Washington. Keep in mind that the University's autumn quarter International Student Health Insurance Plan (ISHIP) begins in early September. It is recommended that students participating in EFS enroll in a short-term policy to prevent gaps in insurance coverage. Please contact the ISHIP office so that they can assist you.

Commuter Services:

Students participating in the Early Fall Start program may purchase an Early Start U-PASS or parking permit.

Fall International Welcome Weeks

The full Fall International Welcome Weeks program takes place in September, and you are encouraged to participate in all the events, activities, and information sessions that are of interest to you. There will be many more opportunities to meet other new students and learn more about the UW and Seattle at FIUTS International Welcome Weeks.