This online orientation module will assist you in your visa application process and on making your travel arrangements to Madison, Wisconsin.
Visa Application Process Overview
The visa application process may differ by country the process is subject to change. We recommend researching the visa application process and checking with your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you have questions. The following is meant to serve as a general overview for your reference.
Request your Immigration Documents through Terra Dotta:
For a visual step-by-step guide to this process, download our Terra Dotta Instruction Sheet.
- Visit https://terradotta.wisc.edu, and click on the Incoming Students button to login using your NetID and password.
- Select Visiting International Student Program (and other Special Students) as your admitting office, and click to start a New F-1 Student Request.
- Select a request for the 2020 term.
- Complete the required sections on the Terra Dotta form:
- Attached Documents: you must upload your passport scan as an attached document.
- Affidavit of Support: if you have a financial sponsor you must upload your signed affidavit of support. Hit Submit button at bottom of upload screen.
- Dependent Request Form: Add Dependent (optional): If you have a dependent child or spouse coming with you, you must enter that information here.
- Immigration Information: Currently studying in the USA on a student visa? Enter that information here.
- Document Mailing Information- New Students:
You may see this area–we’re trying to have it removed. If you see this questionnaire, please select ‘by STANDARD MAIL’ from drop down list. Do not select & pay for e-ShipGlobal. Our office automatically pays for express mail shipping for all student forms.
- Verifications: Section for students currently studying in the USA on a student visa.
- E-Signature Documents: Read and digitally sign both documents.
- Hit Submit button at the top of the screen. Until this is submitted, our staff cannot move forward with your request.
- Your Welcome Packet will be ready approximately 2-3 weeks following your Terra Dotta submission.
After you receive your Welcome Packet from VISP:
- Receive and carefully review Welcome Packet (including I-20, admission letter, application instructions from ISS, etc.) from VISP staff, sent by express mail.
- Pay your SEVIS fee online using your personal SEVIS identification number.
- Make your visa appointment at your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate, complete the appointment, and receive your visa back.
- Be sure to keep photocopies of all important documents for your records.
Travel to Madison
There are two airports with easy access to Madison, Wisconsin.
MSN – Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, WI – A small airport located about 5 miles (8km) from UW-Madison. Taxi rides from the MSN airport to campus cost approximately $25 one way. There is a taxi waiting area outside of baggage claim.
ORD – Chicago O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, IL – While much further from UW-Madison, flights to this airport are often much less expensive. The Van Galder bus service offers daily buses between the airport and UW-Madison. Tickets can be purchased from the driver when you arrive, but please consult the bus schedule prior to booking your flight.
Getting to your Housing
Calling a taxi is the easiest way to traverse the city with luggage in tow. Madison is home to several official taxi services including Green Cab of Madison, Madison Taxi, and Union Cab. Additionally, you can use Uber or Lyft if you have those accounts set up.
If you request temporary housing through Madison Friends of International Students (MFIS), your housing volunteer may be able to pick you up.
Checking In with VISP
You are not required to check in with us before your in-person orientation, however, if you have any issues before your orientation feel free to contact your VISP Coordinator.