Before You Arrive

Immigration and Visas

International Exchange Students study at FIU under J-1 Exchange Visas. In order to obtain a J-1 Student Visitor visa, students must provide a declaration of finances and proof of funds to cover the estimated costs of attendance for the semester or academic year. Estimated costs of living are estimated with the information provided by the Office of Admissions and International Student and Scholar Services. This information is included in the Exchange Application Packet. Acceptable forms of proof of funds include:

  • Bank letter from the student’s bank indicating availability of funds
  • Bank letter from the student’s sponsor’s bank indicating availability of funds (Sponsors include parents and other relatives. They must provide a letter stating that they are sponsoring the student, and they must sign the declaration of finances.)
  • Letter of sponsorship from the student’s home institution, government, or other organization

Once a student is accepted into the exchange program, a DS-2019 form will be issued. The student must take that form, along with their current passport and an FIU-issued letter, to the US Embassy or Consulate in their home country. The Embassy or Consulate will grant or deny the visa request. CANADIAN CITIZENS: Exchange students who are citizens of Canada are not required to obtain a visa, but they must enter the United States under J-1 status. They are required to have a DS-2019, which they must present upon entering the US. Note: J students who enter the U.S. for the first time and are first-time J visa applicants must pay the SEVIS Fee. To find out payment information go to

Money Matters

You are expected to have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay at FIU. Here is some information to help you prepare financially for your exchange program. Miami‘s cost of living is comparable to the cost of living in other major American cities (source: Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney). Because Miami is an important economic, cultural, and touristic center, please keep in mind that costs may be on the higher side. Tips

  1. When you arrive, you need cash in US currency or traveler’s checks.
    1. You should bring $200-$500 in US currency to cover expenses in the first few days of your stay here.
    2. Bring enough small bills ($1s, $5s, and $10s) so that you can tip your taxi driver and/or buy any snacks or anything else that you may need upon arrival.
  2. ATM cards, credit cards, travelers’ checks, and cash can be used effectively. However, please note that travelers’ checks may not be accepted everywhere.
  3. Make sure to check with your credit card company and/or your bank to ensure that you will be able to use your card(s) here in the US upon arrival.
  4. Do NOT carry large sums of money with you.
  5. Keep your money stored in a safe location.

Banking Exchange students are more than welcome to open US bank accounts if they so desire. Many local banks can help you open an account, including the University Credit Union and Wells Fargo that are located on the Modesto A. Maidique campus. For a list of local banks, click here. (link to word doc with bank info) FIU One Card The FIU One Card is the official FIU identification card, which serves as both your on-campus student identification card and a debit card that you can use around campus. For more information, please visit

Health Information

We want to ensure your health and safety during your exchange program at FIU. Health Insurance It is the policy of the university that all international exchange students purchase medical insurance through FIU. Students are required to purchase this insurance even if they have medical coverage, and there is no way to waive this requirement. Insurance enrollment forms are made available in the summer previous to the exchange, and the students are required to submit the enrollment form back to the OSA for processing. Immunization All FIU students are required to provide proof of immunization against MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), Hepatitis B, and Meningitis. However, it is possible to waive the immunization requirement for Hepatitis B and Meningitis, but the appropriate forms must be completed and submitted to the Office of Study Abroad, which will in turn submit this information to University Health Services. This is a registration requirement, and students who do not provide this information will not be allowed to register for classes. Immunization Record (LINK) Hepatitis B and Meningitis Waiver (LINK) University Health Services University Health Services is located in the University Health Services Complex (UHSC) at the center of the Modesto A. Maidique Campus and provides low cost medical care and services to students. They offer routine medical exams, pharmacy services, and laboratory tests. For more information, please visit their website at

What to Pack

Dress Attire Campus dress is casual and informal for both men and women. You can usually go out in just a short-sleeve shirt and lightweight pants or shorts. Dresses or skirts are common all year round. You might also want to bring some professional and/or dressy attire for special events. Weather The weather in Miami is warm year-round. Temperature varies from the 90‘s (Fahrenheit) in the warmer months to the mid-60‘s during the cooler months. On occasion, during the winter time, temperatures may drop to the 40‘s, but it is an unusual occurrence. The climate in Miami is quite humid and there are occasional heavy rains. You may want to bring a light coat, a rain-coat, waterproof shoes, and a mini-umbrella. See for more detailed information. Toiletries, Linens, and Study Supplies More than likely, you will be able to purchase most, if not all, of your toiletries, linens, and study supplies here in Miami upon arrival. Your accommodations on campus do not include any bed linens, pillows, towels, toilet paper, or any other such items. You can bring those items with you from home, or you can purchase them here when you arrive. The OSA will take you on a shopping trip on the Saturday of check-in weekend. Also, there are many shopping centers and malls located nearby where you will have the opportunity to shop for the items that you do not wish to bring from home. School supplies (notebooks, pens, textbooks for class) will be available for purchase at the campus bookstore. For additional items to bring to FIU, visit the Housing ―What to Bring to Campus‖ section on the Housing website:

Orientation Information

It is extremely important for you to attend orientation with both International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) and with the Office of Study Abroad (OSA). Please see below for dates and times. ISSS International Student Orientation Date: Time: Location: OSA International Exchange Student Orientation Date: Time: Location:

Other Special Welcome Events

FIU Campus Tour (sponsored by the Study Abroad Club) Immediately following the OSA Orientation Session, join the Study Abroad Club Buddies on a walking tour of the Modesto A. Maidique Campus. Bring your campus map and become familiar with the campus, all while getting to know new friends! Walmart Shopping Trip Do you need to purchase linens or toiletries? The OSA has chartered a bus to take you shopping at Walmart, a local department store. Walmart is convenient and inexpensive, and you’ll be able to find things that can make your dorm feel like home! Date: Time: Meeting Place: