Pre-arrival Information

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Before You Leave Home

Before You Leave Home

Health Insurance Coverage for International Students

It is a New Jersey state law that all undergraduate students attending a University must have proof of health insurance coverage.  All international students are automatically billed for health insurance available through Rider University.  If you have insurance coverage similar to what Rider offers, you can bring a copy of your insurance policy, in English, to the Center for International Education’s office.

If your existing coverage meets the New Jersey state requirements, a copy of your insurance policy will be made and you will be asked to sign a waiver for the insurance offered through Rider University. All waiver requests must be brought to the CIE office by the second week of classes.  All charges for insurance will be removed from your student bill if your insurance fee has been waived.

If you have any questions concerning our health insurance policy, please feel free to review the plan available from Student Health Services.

Immunizations & Health Forms

It is mandatory that all health forms be filled out by your physician prior to your arrival at Rider. View the Student Health Services page to download the Student Health Record form and the Meningitis Vaccine Reporting form.

After the Student Health Record form and the Meningitis Vaccine Reporting Form are completed by your physician, email them to the Center for International Education office at [email protected]. Submission of these forms is a pre-requisite to registration for classes.

If you are unable to receive the required vaccines in your home country, you can receive them at our Student Health Services office. There will be a fee is associated for each vaccine you take. View hours of operation for nurses and nurse practitioners.

What to Bring & Not to Bring to Rider University

As prepare to pack your luggage to come to Rider, we would like to remind you that while you will bring some things from home (clothes and other personal belongings), we will organize shopping trips to buy items such as pillows, blankets, etc., after you arrive in the United States. These trips will be offer during the orientation week.

What to Bring

  • All immigration documents (carry these on you)

  • Pictures of your family, home and country – for yourself and to share with friends

  • At least two months of prescribed medications

  • Items from your culture, such as: musical instruments, recordings of traditional music, picture books, arts and crafts

What NOT to Bring

  • Electrical items

  • Halogen bulbs, lamps or candles

  • Expensive jewelry and treasured possessions

  • Guns, knives, or any objects that look like weapons

  • Medications, unless you have written prescriptions from a doctor

  • Any article of clothing, artifact, or medicine made from endangered animals

  • Things you can easily buy in the United States, such as notebooks, pens, toiletries, towels, or bed sheets

  • Food, seeds, or plants

Getting Your Visa

Getting Your Visa

Given the different requirements posted by U.S. embassies and consulates in each country, we recommend that, when applying for a visa, you refer to the guidelines available at the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest to you. A list of all U.S. embassies and consulates can be found at It is important for you to familiarize yourself with the process before you apply for your student visa.

In general, students are required to provide their visa application form (with the appropriate, non-refundable fee), their passport, an I-901 SEVIS fee receipt, the Certificate of Eligibility (Forms I-20 or DS-2019), along with your Rider University admission letter, bank statements, and support original documents from financial sponsors (family, friends, organizations, etc).

What to Bring With You to the Visa Interview

Be sure to bring the following with you to the visa appointment:

  • Passport

  • Required photo(s)

  • Proof of visa fee payment

  • SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt

  • U.S. non-immigrant visa application forms

  • Admission letter from Rider University

  • Form I-20 or DS2019 issued by Rider University

  • Test scores and academic records

  • Proof of English proficiency (unless you received a conditional admission from Rider)

  • Proof of financial support

  • Evidence of ties to your home country

  • Any other documents required by the embassy or consulate

Helpful tips when applying for a visa

  • Financial certification: You must demonstrate that you have a residence abroad that you do not intend to leave behind following your completion of studies. You must provide evidence of strong ties to your home country as illustrated by family, business, or financial support in your country.

  • Educational goals: Be very clear about your educational goals and career plans back in your home country, after you graduate from Rider. You must prepare to answer questions about why you chose Rider University and why you want to study in the United States, instead of studying in your home country.

  • English proficiency: Unless you received a letter of conditional admission from Rider, you should expect that your interview will be conducted in English.

  • Be clear: Your interview will likely be very short, between one and two minutes; make sure you respond to questions in a clear and concise way, to give a leave a good impression on the visa officer.

  • Leaving family behind: If your spouse or children will remain in your country while you are studying at Rider, be prepared to explain how they plan to support themselves while you are out of the country.

Visa denials and visa delays

The most common reasons for visa denials are:

  • Lack of evidence to prove financial capability to study in the United States

  • Lack of evidence to prove strong ties to the home country

If your visa application is denied, you will be able to reapply for a visa; however, please contact the Office of Admission immediately at [email protected] so we can assist you.

Visa delays can happen due to a number of factors, including but not limited to: holidays, request for additional information, security clearance, etc. That is why we recommend that you apply for your visa as early as possible! Students can apply for their visas up to 120 prior to the start of their program (see your I-20 or DS2019 for your program start date).

F or J Visa

Most students come to the United States on an F-1 student visa. This visa type will be used for students coming to Rider to pursue their degrees (undergraduate or graduate) and language instruction. The Form I-20 is issued by Rider University.

If you are participating in the exchange visitor program, you need to obtain a J-1 visa. Generally, a J-1 visa is required for students who are sponsored by a government agency, international organization, or are a participant in a formal exchange program with Rider and an institution abroad. In some cases, J-1 students may have requirements that prevent them from remaining in the U.S. upon completion of studies.

Early Arrivals and Tourist Visas

Important: DO NOT enter the U.S. as a tourist with a B-1, B-2 visa stamp or with a WT (waiver tourist) if you are a citizen of a country that is eligible for the Visa Waiver Program.

If you enter as a tourist, you must apply for a change of status to F-1 or J-1, in order to enroll as a full-time student. Unfortunately, the change may take several months to process and you are unable to begin your program until your new status has been approved. WT entrants are not eligible to change to any other non-immigrant status. Therefore, if you plan to come to the U.S. to study, it is crucial that you enter with an F-1 or J-1 visa.

If your intent is to arrive in the U.S. prior to your program start date, you may do so up to but not more than 30 days before the date indicated on your Form I-20 or DS2019. If you are unable to arrive on or before your program start date, you must contact the international student advisor at [email protected] to request authorization to enter the U.S. at a later date.

Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens are exempt from visa but must present the following documents upon entering the United States:

  • Admission letter from Rider University

  • Canadian passport

  • Proof of SEVIS I-901 Fee Payment

  • Form I-20 from Rider University

  • Proof of financial support that corresponds to the information on your Form I-20

Other than the visa requirements based upon the port of entry to the U.S., all travel documents and regulations for Canadian citizens are the same as for other F-1 visa holders. Since changes in these requirements are possible, it is best to check with the nearest U.S. consulate to learn if any changes have taken place.

By law, international students may travel to the United States no more than 30 days before the start of classes.

Students Currently in the United States

If you are already an F-1 visa holder because you are attending a language program, high school, college or university in the U.S., you will need a new Form I-20 from Rider to start your program with us. Your new Form I-20 will be issued as soon as your current school transfers your SEVIS record to Rider and your financial documentation has been received.

If you are currently holding another visa type and wishes to change it to F-1, please contact the Office of Admission at [email protected]