Before You Arrive

Thank you for choosing Florida International University’s English Language Institute for your studies. We look forward to having you as part of an international student body that comes to our Institute every semester from as many as 38 different countries. This will be one of the most significant and culturally enriching experiences of your life.

Below, you will find important information about how to prepare for your arrival in Miami. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us

Obtaining Your Student Visa

You need a student visa (F1) to enter the United States to study. In order to obtain your visa, you must apply for it at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 

You will need various documents to support your visa application, and visa procedures vary from one consulate or embassy to another, so you should contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate near your home. However, the following documents are always required: 

  • A current, valid passport 
  • The I-20 Form 
  • Your letter of acceptance 
  • A letter from your bank, your parent’s bank or your sponsor’s bank. This is your financial documentation. 
  • SEVIS payment receipt 

You have now received your letter of acceptance and I-20 Form, and you have your financial documentation ready. You must now begin to plan for your trip to the U.S., and we would like to help you. 

This pre-arrival guide is written to help you plan for your trip and to answer any questions you might have as to what you need to do before and right after your arrival. 

Study in the States is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website for International students. Please visit the site at

Packing For Your Trip

Although Miami is known for its beaches and outdoor activities, it is also a cosmopolitan city offering great theater, music concerts, opera, art festivals, and museums. You will want to bring a swimsuit, but you might also want to bring a jacket and tie or a nice dress for those special occasions. 

If you’re coming in December or January, you should bring a sweater. It is very hot and humid from April to August. Other than that, the weather in Miami is sunny year-round, so bring light casual clothes and enjoy our tropical climate. 

If you’re planning to stay in the dormitories, you may want to bring a small pillow and a set of sheets for your first night. Later you will have plenty of time to shop for towels, sheets, pillows or anything you might need. 

A final note: You might want to bring some typical music from your country to share with your new friends, as well as postcards, pictures, or some traditional items from your part of the world. 

Helpful Link:  


FIU offers several on-campus banking options to students at very low prices. There are also Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) on campus to access your money. 

Helpful Links 


All international students must show proof of immunization against measles, mumps and rubella at time of registration. If you cannot show proof of immunization in English, you must get your immunization at our Wellness Center (Health Clinic) for a nominal fee. 

Buying Your Airline Ticket

Miami is an international metropolis and the Miami International Airport is one of the largest in the world. Most major airlines fly to Miami or have convenient connections from other U.S. cities at convenient times and good prices. For more information, please visit the Miami International Airport’s page here 

Helpful Links:  


Do not carry a large amount of cash but bring a small amount of cash in American currency to pay for your first expenses in the U.S. (taxi or shuttle transportation to F.I.U., tips for baggage handlers, taxi drivers, etc.). The rest of your money should be in traveler’s checks or cards. 


All international students are required to buy health (medical) insurance at time of registration. Health insurance is a condition of acceptance at FIU’s ELI. For more information about student health insurance, please contact the ELI Registration Office at 

Off-Campus Housing

You can visit the following website: to learn more about off-campus housing options. 

The listing of rental units on this site is a service to local rental property owners and Florida International University students, faculty, and staff. Florida International University (FIU) and Off Campus Partners (OCP) cannot guarantee the completeness or accuracy of information provided by the property owners. Inclusion of any property or rental unit on this website does not constitute, and shall not be construed or reported as (1) an endorsement or approval by FIU or OCP of the landlord, its properties, or its business practices, or (2) a warranty or representation by FIU or OCP as to the quality, safety or other features of such property and/or its owners or management agent(s). FIU and OCP expressly disclaim any and all responsibility for any problems that may arise with regard to such property or rental units or with regard to disputes between landlords and tenants concerning such property or rental units. All prospective tenants are encouraged to exercise their own good judgment when evaluating a prospective rental unit or landlord.