Coming to RISD

How to Apply

First-year, Transfer and Graduate students- Admissions Office

Pre-College Program- Continuing Education

This program is managed by the Office of Continuing Education. The Office of International Student Services (OISS) is unable to provide advice with regard to visa applications. This program does not qualify for the F-1 visa.

Summer Studies- Continuing Education

This program is managed by the Office of Continuing Education. This program does not qualify for the F-1 visa.

Exchange Students- RISD Global

This program is managed by the RISD Global office. The Office of International Student Services (OISS) issues the forms DS-2019 to allow students participating in the exchange program to obtain their J-1 visas

Preparing for RISD

Non-U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents wishing to study at RISD require an F-1 or other type of visa status. Click here for How to Get an F-1 Visa


Packing for the U.S. and RISD

  • Art Supplies: Each class that you take at RISD has a very specific art supply list that will be given to you upon your arrival and you will buy the materials for your art classes when you get here. 

  • Housing Supplies and Bedding: We recommend that you buy all of your bedding and supplies for your room when you arrive or order ahead of time and have it delivered to RISD. .


It is a good idea to bring some things that remind you of home, including photographs of your family and friends, your favorite dry foods, a favorite blanket, etc.

For more information about housing at RISD, check out the RISD Residence Life website.

Interested in seeing RISD's campus? Check out the Campus Tour and Graduate Campus Tours!

Arriving from your Home Country into the U.S.

Have all of your important documents ready to present at Customs & Border Protection (CBP) at the airport.


Documents include:

  • Original I-20 (if you have any previous I-20s bring those as well)

  • Passport (valid for at least 6 months into the future)

  • F-1 Student Visa (Canadian citizens do not require a visa prior to entry)

  • Declaration of Finances form and supporting bank statements (same documents that you took to your visa interview)

  • Acceptance letter to RISD

  • Any other forms of identification you may have

The airline will give you a form to complete that you must give to the CBP Officer when going through Customs. This form will be entered into the automated I-94 system and become your arrival / departure document.

Going through Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

  1. Have all of your documents ready to provide to the CBP Officer for the CBP inspection process

  2. Your I-20 and your F-1 Student Visa will be reviewed and your passport will be stamped by the officer. Make sure to enter the U.S. using your F-1 Student Visa!! Make sure CBP DOES NOT record you as a tourist!!

  3. Be polite and answer all questions they ask you truthfully

  4. You may be asked further questions. It is important to have all of the above documents in order to provide supporting evidence of your F-1 status

  5. Electronic devices are subject to search. If the officer determines that they need more information or to search your electronics, you may be asked to complete form DS-5535- Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants

  6. If you have any trouble going through customs, contact RISD Public Safety at +1.401.454.6376 and they will put you in touch with an Office of International Student Services (OISS) Advisor

  7. Complaints about CBP should be directed to either a CBP supervisor or commander. If you need to discuss a complaint further, speak with your international student advisor upon arrival to campus


After you Arrive in the United States

Once you arrive in the U.S., CBP will record your arrival information electronically and this becomes your I-94 record*. You will be able to retrieve your I-94 record electronically from, as follows:

  • In your internet browser, type

  • Select "Get Most Recent I-94"

  • Read the Notification and select "Consent and Continue"

  • Complete your information in the fields provided and select "Next"

  • The I-94 record will appear. Check to make sure that your name, all personal information, visa category and expiration date of your authorized stay is accurate. NOTE: expiration date should say D/S, which stands for Duration of Stay. The name on your I-94 should match your passport

  • If errors are found, CBP should be contacted as soon as possible. You may contact OISS for information on how to reach CBP

  • If there are no errors, print the I-94 record and keep it with your passport and I-20

  • When you arrive on campus, bring all immigration documents to OISS located at Carr House, 210 Benefit St, Room 304, Providence, RI

*You will receive a paper I-94 card only if you enter the U.S. by car or boat.

Directions to RISD for information on how to get to RISD's campus.

Providence Area Hotels