We understand that studying abroad can be a complicated process, so the Visiting International Student Program (VISP) would like to help you prepare for your upcoming adventure.
Read below to learn about your pathway through the study abroad process. From researching the program, to preparing for your time abroad, onsite orientation, to your return home. From start to finish, VISP is here to help. Be sure to contact your VISP Coordinators if you have any questions along the way.
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Applying to VISP
- Research our program to be sure that VISP is right for you.
- Receive permission to attend VISP from your current university if you are currently enrolled.
- Verify that your passport is valid a minimum of 6 months past the intended end date of your program in the US. You can still apply for VISP if you do not have your passport.
- APPLY to VISP and submit your application materials at least three months before your intended start date. There are a limited number of spots available each semester, so apply early for best consideration.
- Wait for admission review and decision (communication via email).
VISP Admission & Pre-arrival in Madison
- Receive 10-digit campus ID by email and activate your MyUW account.
- Read your Admissions email and the Academics pages of our website.
- Request your I-20 immigration documents via the Terra Dotta portal.
- Start reviewing the course offerings in your Student Center.
- Explore the VISP Canvas course for orientation modules on topics such as: Academics, Course Enrollment, Student Life, Health & Safety, and more.
- Activate your WiscMail email address in your MyUW account. Your wisc.edu email address will be used for all official university communications, so be sure to check it frequently throughout your time at UW-Madison.
- ENROLL in CLASSES or validate your wish list if it is not yet your enrollment time
- Understand enrollment deadlines, academic policies, refund policies, and fees.
- VISA DOCUMENTS – Receive paper admission letter and immigration forms in your VISP Welcome packet.
- Research the visa application process, pay your SEVIS fee and schedule an appointment with the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate.
- HOUSING – Research housing possibilities and arrange for temporary housing if needed.
- INSURANCE – Understand mandatory health insurance requirements. You may purchase SHIP or file a waiver when you arrive.
- ARRIVAL PLANS – Research the airports, orientation date, and arrival information by visiting our About Madison page.
Arrival in the U.S.A.
- ARRIVAL – Attend your required orientation(s) and contact your VISP coordinator if you need assistance.
- Pick up your Wiscard Photo ID and your free Madison Metro Transit bus pass.
- Open a free bank account to facilitate tuition payment.
- HOUSING – Finalize your permanent housing for your time in Madison.
- Purchase Renter’s Insurance to protect your personal property against theft or other incidents.
- Update your mailing address in your MyUW account once you locate housing.
- Stay healthy with University Health Services and the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).
- FINALIZE COURSE ENROLLMENT – Attend and ask for permission to enroll in any courses with limited access that you are interested in taking.
- Add, swap or drop courses so that you are enrolled in your minimum credit load. See deadlines for adding, swapping or dropping classes.
- Buy your textbooks.
- Pay your tuition bill by the deadline. There are several methods of payment including options for paying your tuition with foreign currency.
- Maintain your visa status by working with your VISP Coordinators and International Student Services (ISS).
- Read the monthly VISP News newsletters to learn of campus activities, upcoming events, and other helpful information for your time on our program.
Preparing to Return Home
- Understand when you must leave the U.S. (typically 60 days after the end of your semester for those on F-1 visas and 30 days for those on J-1 visas).
- Contact your VISP coordinator and ISS if you plan to extend your academic stay or transfer into another academic program at UW-Madison or elsewhere in the U.S.
- Check your MyUW for any holds on your account that could prevent you from requesting your transcript.
- Close your bank account, notify any utility companies (Madison Gas & Electric, cell phone providers, cable/internet etc.) of your departure and pay any outstanding bills.
- Update your mailing address in your Student Center.
- Once your final grades are posted you can order your official transcript showing the courses you took and grades received.
- Join the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA). You’re a Wisconsin Badger now!