Orientation

Airport Pick-up: 

All students should fly to the Grand Rapids International Airport (GRR). Orientation leaders will be waiting at the baggage claim. There are only three baggage carousels at this airport, so it will be easy to find. Please supply your flight information a minimum of four days before your flight. You will receive an emergency contact number that you can call if there are any emergencies throughout your travel time. We strongly suggest that you NOT attempt to take the train from the Chicago airport to Grand Rapids. Please book connecting flights that bring you to the Grand Rapids International Airport. Orientation leaders will take students to Meijer, a supermarket chain, where they will be able to purchase any food, clothing, bedding or household items they may need. They will then help students move in to their new dorms or apartments on campus. Orientation leaders will have students keys.


Orientation Schedule: 

International students should plan to arrive in Grand Rapids on January 3, 2018.  We will arrange transportation for you from the airport in Grand Rapids (airport code: GRR).  International Student Orientation will begin on Thursday, January 4 at 10:00 a.m. in room 164 Lake Ontario Hall, GVSU Allendale Campus. You should plan on attending the mandatory orientation sessions on Thursday and Friday (January 4 and 5, 2018). A schedule is posted below! Note that there is a charge of $150.00 for the mandatory orientation, even if circumstances outside of your control require you to miss the orientation. The fee will be charged to your GVSU student account.

Orientation Schedule


Immigration Registration: 

Immigration registration will be done during orientation. This will include passport, visa, I-94, I-20 and DS-2019 as well as verifying your SEVIS record.
Orientation Documents: After your arrival to the United States. please take a few moments to complete the following mandatory forms. Please also bring a copy of your passport, I94, visa, and I-20 or DS 2019 with you to orientation. 

Student Information 

F1 regulations (for students with an I20)

J1 regulations (for students with a DS 2019) 


PEEPS Program: 

PEEPS is a student-led ambassador program which creates partnerships between domestic students and international students studying at Grand Valley. The ambassadors provide a support network for you, should you need assistance or want someone to talk to. It is a wonderful opportunity for students on both sides to come together and promote cross-cultural growth.


Hotels: If your flight arrives a day or so early, or later than midnight on the day of pick-up, there are a number of hotels near the Grand Rapids International Airport that you may find useful.


Social Security Number: Students must be in the United States 10 working days before applying for a Social Security number. You must bring: I-20 or DS-2019, Passport, Visa, I-94, Letters from PIC and completed application. The application should be filled out in blue ink and must be printed legibly. 

Process for Applying for a Social Security Number 

Social Security-Map 

SS App-Instructions


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.



Page last modified December 15, 2017