General Information

Going to University, especially in the US, is very exciting and also intimidating. We know you have plenty of questions so we have put together an FAQ during Covid-19 page as well as much more general information for new students on this page. Please take your time to review the information and let us know what questions arise by emailing us at 

On this page:

GVSU Allendale Kindsche Hall of Science

Visa Advice

When to apply:
You will be able to apply for your visa as soon as you have received your I-20, paid the required SEVIS fee at, AND the US Embassy in your country has opened for non-immigrant visa appointments.  Please check the US Embassy website in your country for details:

Issues applying on time:
Please email Chris Hendree  for details on how to defer or apply for a future semester at GVSU.

Request to defer admission:
We will need final information from you by December 23 for students starting in Winter semester.

Recommendations for the interview:
Be prepared to show that you are academically and financially a strong candidate to enter the US.  You must be able to convince the Visa Officer that your specific degree at GVSU will make a difference in your future in your home country. We believe that finances will be heavily scrutinized during this time, because the pandemic has been devastating to families around the world

Detailed process and advice can be found on the Visa Advice powerpoint on the Get Ready page


Flight Information

As soon as you have purchased your flight to the Grand Rapids International Airport (GRR), submit your flight details here. Flight details must be sent by December 23, 2021. For airport pick-up information, look on the Orientation page.

Travel Advice

Keep all important documents with you at all times. This includes passport, I-20, flight itinerary, prescriptions, insurance cards, etc. Do not put these items in your checked bags. They should be with you in a carry-on item or on your person. 

If you are bringing any prescription drugs to the United States, you must bring an English translation of the prescription with them. Keep these with you In case any prescriptions are needed while you are here, MetroHealth at the Campus Health Center can assist you.

Let your family know it might take up to 24 hours after your planned arrival time to get in touch with them. Although this isn't the usual case, sometimes flights are delayed, phones are dropped in toilets, the wi-fi goes down and your communication plan is changed. Reassure yourself and your family that even if it takes longer than expected, you will be in touch as soon as you can be!

Traveling with Cash


We encourage you, as an international student, to live on campus at Grand Valley. Laker Village is strongly recommended since most international students live in this community and it is home to the International House. When applying, use the transfer application to gain access to apartment style options which include kitchens. Students who apply as freshman are required to live in dorm-style units. 

Visit the Grand Valley Housing website to apply. You will find out your housing placement in December. You will need to provide your home address if possible. If the application will not accept your address, please use the Padnos International Center address: Padnos International Center 130 LOH Allendale, MI 49401 If on campus housing does not fit your needs, off campus housing is also available.

More info can be found here

Course Registration

Undergraduate students will be contacted by their academic advisor in May or June (for FALL) or November (for WINTER) to register for classes. Be sure you respond to emails in a timely manner, as it is important to have a set class schedule before arriving to Grand Valley. Graduate students should contact their own academic advisor in May or June (for FALL) or November (for WINTER). All students should have their classes before International student orientation. There will be a chance during orientation to make last minute changes, but you should have a solid schedule by the time you arrive to Grand Valley.

There are lots of questions around Covid: vaccines, quarantine, testing, safety protocols. We've outlined this information on our FAQ during Covid-19 page. If you still have questions after reviewing the information, please email us at

GVSU does require all students to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19 to attend the University. Standard vaccinations are recommended (Tuberculosis, Polio, Tetans, MMR, Varicella, etc). 

Traveling with Cash

US Customs and Immigration requires anyone entering the USA with $10,000 USD cash or more to declare this money with Form FinCEN 105 when entering the country. If you intend to pay your tuition with cash, please instead consider sending the money via Western Union instead or bringing a demand draft. These are much safer methods. If you do not declare the money you are bringing with you, you may be fined and all the money may be seized (taken away permanently). 

Connect with Current Students

To connect with other international students at Grand Valley, we recommend you become a fan of the GVSU International Students on facebook and GVistudents on Instagram. 

Take a look at our International and Domestic Student run Organization, 'Bringing Together the World' (BTW), to connect with GVSU students and other Internationals. Check them out on Facebook and Instagram. You should also visit Laker Link to find other student organizations you may be interested in joining.

Meal Plan

By purchasing a meal plan through the university, you are allowed a certain number of meals per week to be used at any on-campus dining locations. Meal plans may be purchased through the Campus Dining website. More information can also be found in the Understanding GVSU Meal Plans document.

Cell Phones

We recommend you purchase a pay-as-you-go plan upon arrival to Grand Valley. After you have applied for and received your Social Security number, you will be able to purchase a service contract for your cell phone if you wish.

Health Insurance

GVSU students are able to receive Health Insurance. 

More information can be found on these links:

Page last modified October 25, 2021