Frequently Asked Questions

With so much to prepare for and so much to think about, it's natural for you to have questions. Take a look at the topics below to find answers. If you do not see the answer to your question listed below, send an email to


Are FIUTS International Welcome Programs Required?

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. Embark is a session during which you will connect with other new and returning students, prepare for your cultural transition to the UW and U.S., and learn more about maintaining your visa status while a student at UW. Embark sessions are offered as part of your international welcome programming in the quarter you are entering UW.

In fall quarter, Embark sessions are offered multiple times during International Welcome Weeks. In winter, spring, and summer quarters, one session is offered, usually the Friday before classes begin (although this date can vary).

Other information sessions and social events offered during International Welcome Weeks are optional, but you are strongly encouraged to attend to support you in a successful transition to UW.

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Do I need to register for my Embark session?

Yes, most students will need to register for their Embark session, occurring during the international welcome program for their incoming quarter. Visit the Embark page for dates and the registration link.

In addition, there are some social events during International Welcome Weeks that require registration if you want to participate -- you can sign up for these events when you arrive on campus.

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How many orientations do I need to go to?

During your transition to the UW, you will interact with various different offices that each provide orientation services or programs to help you transition to the UW. Each department offers unique programs or services that will help you get started at the UW and succeed both academically and socially.

In addition to FIUTS Embark and international welcome programs, you may need to attend orientations for your department and your program. Please contact the department to which you have been admitted if you are not sure.

All new freshmen and transfer undergraduate students must participate in a First Year Programs (FYP) Advising & Orientation session. This program connects you with the academic advising resources needed to register for your first quarter schedule at the UW. Early participation ensures the widest selection of course options, and online session options are offered especially for international freshmen.

New international freshmen can choose from a 2 Day On-Campus A&O or Hybrid 1 Day Online/1 Day On-Campus A&O. Freshman participating in Early Fall Start (EFS) can choose to attend an A&O session especially for EFS students. EFS students are also required to attend their Embark session before EFS classes begin.

New international transfer students must attend a 1 Day On-Campus Transfer A&O.

Learn more about A&O, and register here.

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What is the difference between FIUTS Embark and First Year Programs orientation?

FIUTS Embark is a special session for all new international students at the University of Washington (including graduates, undergraduates, exchange students, and visiting scholars) designed to help support you in your unique needs as an international student transitioning to the U.S. and UW.

First Year Programs Advising and Orientation (A&O) is a required orientation for all freshmen and transfer undergraduate students at the UW (both domestic and international students). This program connects you with the academic advising resources needed to register for your first quarter schedule at the UW.

New international freshmen can choose from 2 Day On-Campus A&O or Hybrid 1 Day Online/1 Day On-Campus A&O.

New international transfer students must attend a 1 Day On-Campus Transfer A&O.

(Freshman participating in Early Fall Start (EFS) can choose to attend a Freshman A&O session especially for EFS students. EFS students are also required to attend their FIUTS Embark session before EFS classes begin.)

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Do I have to attend every day of International Welcome Weeks?

You are required to attend the Embark session you register for. All other events during International Welcome Weeks are encouraged but not required. We understand that you may have a busy schedule. FIUTS provides a wide variety of activities so that you can choose the ones best for you.

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What is the measles immunization requirement?

The University of Washington requires all students to show that they are protected from measles by providing proof of immunity. The goal of this requirement is to protect UW students, faculty, and staff from diseases like measles and mumps.

You must submit your proof of immunity to the Hall Health Center before you can register for your classes. View the Hall Health Center instruction page for information about how to submit your proof of immunity.

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I'm not an international student. Can I participate in Embark/International Welcome Programs?

The goal of our international welcome programs is to help new international students in their transition to the UW. Embark is required for students on F-1 or J-1 visas. However, if you are a new student and think Embark or other international welcome programs would be helpful for you, you are welcome to participate. We often have participants who are international students on other visa types or U.S. students who have spent most of their life abroad. Please register for an Embark session using the main registration form and indicate that you are not on an F-1 or J-1 visa. For other events, review the international welcome programs website and schedules for information on how to participate.

What is an I-94 and where might I get it?

An I-94 card is an electronic arrival/departure record issued by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at U.S. ports of entry. If you arrive in the U.S. by airplane or ship you will be issued an online I-94 automatically. To access this record, visit Print a paper copy of your electronic I-94 card record and keep it with your other immigration documents.

It’s important to check that your electronic travel record is accurate and accessible. Sometimes CBP officers make errors in students’ electronic I-94 records. Some errors, especially those regarding visa type or date of expiration, can be harmful to your immigration status. If you see an error on your electronic I-94 record, it may be possible to have it corrected. Contact your ISS adviser immediately if you notice an error.

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Can you pick me up at the airport?

No, the UW and FIUTS do not arrange airport transportation. However, we are happy to offer advice about how best to get to the UW from the airport, and you can find this in the International Student Handbook. If you participate in the FIUTS homestay program, your homestay host may be able to pick you up at the airport if their schedule allows.

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What should I do when I arrive on campus?

F-1 and J-1 visa regulations require you to report to campus once you arrive in Seattle. To meet this requirement, follow the instructions below.

First, submit digital copies of your immigration documents to International Student Services (follow the instructions online). See the ISS post-arrival checklist for a list of immigration documents you need.

Then, attend the FIUTS international welcome program scheduled for your arrival term to complete your immigration check-in process, connect with other students, and prepare for your transition to the UW and U.S.

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I need to find a place to live. Where do I go?

Our housing page has advice about how to start your search for housing. This page has more information about on-campus dormitory housing and off-campus apartment options, as well as temporary and hostel accommodations.

For students arriving in Fall Quarter, you have several options for housing when you arrive on campus to participate in FIUTS International Welcome Weeks (EFS and/or Fall):

  • Freshmen who will participate in the Early Fall Start (EFS) program are eligible to apply for EFS housing, even if you do not plan to live in a UW residence hall for the academic year. For more information, visit the UW Housing & Food Services (HFS) website.

  • Undergraduate international students who are confirmed to live in the UW residence halls for the academic year are eligible to apply for Early Arrival Housing. Find more information, and the application (available in early August), visit the UW Housing & Food Services (HFS) Early Arrival Housing website.

  • Graduate students interested in 12-month apartment housing have additional options for early autumn move-in. Visit the UW Housing & Food Services (HFS) website.

  • You can apply to participate in the FIUTS Welcome Week Homestay Program, which will match you with a local family for your first week in Seattle.

  • You can stay in a hotel or hostel. A list of temporary housing options can be found our housing resources webpage. This is the best option for parents or family members if they are accompanying you.

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When will I hear from Housing & Food Services (HFS) about my housing assignment?

Housing and Food Services will notify you of your room selection appointment time in mid-June, and assignment confirmations will be emailed after room selection ends (usually in August). Please contact HFS directly for questions about your campus housing assignment.

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Can I do a homestay?

If you apply early enough, yes! The FIUTS Welcome Week Homestay program is a great chance to make local friends and get help during your first 7-10 days in Seattle. See our homestay page for details.

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Where can my parents/family stay?

Please see our temporary housing page -- it has a list of hotels and hostels in the University District.

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Am I allowed to work while I study at the UW?

Visa regulations restrict the types of employment international students can undertake. Before accepting any kind of employment, be sure it is allowed. View more information about employment on the International Student Services (ISS) website: F-1 students | J-1 students.

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Which International Welcome Weeks activities cost extra?

FIUTS Camp, International Trivia, and Boat Cruise have a registration fee, but all other activities during Fall International Welcome Weeks are free. You can register for activities at the Welcome Lounge when you arrive in Seattle. You can also register for Camp and International Trivia online. Please see the full schedule for more details.

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Where can I sign up for International Welcome Weeks activities?

Most International Welcome Weeks activities are free, and you can just show up to participate. A few events require purchasing tickets in advance due to limited space. These include the FIUTS Camp, International Trivia, Seattle Aquarium (free, but reservation required), and Boat Cruise. Tickets are available for purchase at the FIUTS Welcome Lounge in the HUB. You can also register for Camp and International Trivia online.

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Can I bring my family to International Welcome Weeks events?

Yes! Family members can attend most International Welcome Weeks events including the International Welcome Party and Community BBQ. However, FIUTS Camp, Seattle Challenge, and Boat Cruise are for students only.

For parents that are in town, FIUTS offers a free session for parents of new Huskies parents on Monday, September 16 in HUB 334, 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Parents, guardians and family members of international students are invited to attend this session to ask questions about housing, visas, academics, social activities, local resources, and other topics. Enjoy beverages and pastries, meet representatives from UW leadership, connect with other new Husky parents from around the world, and learn more about how you can help your student to be successful. Campus Tours for parents and families will follow.

Panelists from FIUTS, ISS, HFS, UAA, Parent & Family Programs, and Alumni Relations

First Year Programs (non-FIUTS) Parent Orientations:

First Year Programs (FYP) offers a day-long orientation program for family members of first-year undergraduate (freshmen and transfer) students. Students may register family members when they register for the student Advising and Orientation (A&O) session and will be charged a registration fee to their student account. Parent Orientation is offered separately from the two-day student FYP A&O program and takes place on the second day of that program (Tuesdays and Thursdays). This orientation is through First Year Programs, not FIUTS.

For questions regarding FYP Parent Orientation, please contact First Year Programs at

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Are meals included during International Welcome Weeks?

No - you will need to get your own meals during the International Welcome Weeks period. However, the FIUTS Camp, International Trivia, and Boat Cruise include refreshments or meals.

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Do I need health insurance during International Welcome Weeks and/or Early Fall Start?

We recommend it - you never know what can happen! The UW's International Student Health Insurance plan (ISHIP) begins in September, not necessarily when you arrive in the U.S. If you arrive early and experience a gap in insurance coverage, it is recommended that you purchase short-term insurance in case you become sick or get injured.

For any questions regarding coverage, or recommendations for a short-term insurance plan before the quarter begins, contact the ISHIP office so that they can assist you.

Visit the ISS website for additional health insurance information and resources for international students.

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