Pre-Arrival Information

Pre-Arrival Information & Checklist

You've been admitted!  Now what?  Read below for important pre-arrival information.

What to Expect in Arcata

Pre-arrival Information

Before coming to Arcata it is important that you are prepared and have all of the necessary materials to be successful at Humboldt State University. Please read the provided information carefully and contact the Center for International Programs (CIP) if you have any questions or concerns.

Prearrival Checklist

☐ Apply for your visa

For information on the visa process and obtaining an F-1 visa, please click here. Additional information may be found at the Department of Homeland Security's Study in the US website.

☐ Housing

Information about on- and off-campus housing may be found on the Housing and Dining Services website.

On-campus Housing

If you would like to live on-campus, you must be admitted to HSU and submit your Housing Application by April 15 for Fall admission.  Spring admits should apply as soon as possible after being admitted.  On-campus housing is not guaranteed and is granted on a first-come-first-serve basis.

If you plan to arrive early (recommended), please read the Early Check-in section. 

Bed Linens

Bed and bathroom supplies are not provided for you.  If you are living on-campus, you must supply your own bedding.  Please note that the beds in HSU dorms are longer than the standard twin, so you must purchase Twin XL.  

You can pack and bring your own bedding, or you can pre-order bedding before you arrive through Residence Hall Linens.  Your pre-ordered bedding will be shipped directly to HSU and will be available when you arrive.  Please wait until you receive your on-campus address from Housing, as you will be using your new address as your shipping address.  Be sure to include your name!

We will provide a field trip to Target on Wednesday, the first day of orientation, where you can buy linens and other things for your room. However, if you fail to purchase bedding prior to your arrival you risk spending a few nights without it.

Off-campus Housing

Locating housing off-campus can be challenging, especially the week or two prior to the start of classes.  If you want to live off-campus, visit the Off-Campus Housing website and make arrangements before your arrival in Arcata.

☐ Confirm Intent to Enroll

We need to know if you plan to attend or not attend HSU for planning purposes.  You risk having your admission cancelled if you do not let us know your plans to attend.

Notify HSU by logging into myHumboldt.  Accept or decline your admission by clicking on the accept/decline link in the "My Applications" box in Student Center.

You must complete this step by June 1 for Fall admits and December 15 for Spring admits.

☐ Orientation and Registration

International Humboldt Online Orientation Program (IHOOP)

All newly admitted students are required to complete the mandatory IHOOP prior to arriving at HSU. The IHOOP program is designed to provide you with an orientation to your academic and bachelor degree requirements, schedule planning, course registration, immigration rules and responsibilities, and general student rights, responsibilities, and requirements. Enrollment in the IHOOP course is automatic at the time of admission.  Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to access and complete IHOOP. 

On-Campus Orientation

In addition to IHOOP, you will be required to attend a mandatory on-campus orientation program. The mandatory on-campus international student orientation will take place the week before class instruction begins. For information about your upcoming orientation and a review of a sample schedule, click here.

Academic Advising

For your first registration cycle, academic advising will take place through the Center for International Programs.  Halfway through your first semester,, you will be assigned an academic or major advisor based on your level and major. You are welcome to reach out to your academic department at any time to ask specific questions about your coursework or plan.

Course Registration

Students who complete the confirmation of enrollment and IHOOP steps by the required deadline are eligible for a priority registration cycle. We strongly encourage students to aim for participation in the priority registration group. Classes fill up quickly. Students who meet the requirements for priority registration will be sent a detailed email prior to the opening of the priority registration cycle, outlining all necessary details and information.

Students who are not able to complete IHOOP by the priority deadline will register for courses during the on-campus orientation program.

During the on-campus orientation program, all students will have an opportunity to make adjustments to their schedules or register for additional courses.

☐ Arrival

You are required to attend the mandatory orientation. We advise you arrive a few days before orientation in order to attend orientation on time.

Transportation from the Airport

The local airport (airport code: ACV) is a 15-minute drive north of HSU.

The CIP will provide airport pickups the Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday the week before instruction begins (dates can be reviewed here) to students who complete the Arrival and Airport Pick-Up Request Form.  If you will arrive on any other date, you must make your own transportation arrangements.

Arrival and Airport Pickup Request Form

In order to reserve a pick-up, we need to know when you will be arriving by submitting the Arrival and Airport Pickup Request Form.  If we have not received your arrival information two weeks prior to your arrival date, the CIP and Housing may not be able to accommodate your arrival and check in. Temporary transportation and lodging arrangements may be necessary in the event we are unable to accommodate a late request.

If you will be arriving by bus or car, please indicate your means of alternative transportation and provide your arrival date on the form.


Please be aware that it is your responsibility to load and unload your luggage and carry it into your lodging. The HSU driver will not perform this service for you.

Greyhound/Amtrak Bus Service

You may take the Greyhound bus service from San Francisco, but you should be aware that this is a long trip (over 8 hours) and not recommended. There is no direct transportation from the San Francisco airport to the San Francisco bus depot. For more information, please visit the Greyhound website.

Travel Delay Tips

Travel delays happen, and we want to make your trip as easy as possible. To help you with a smooth arrival, please download and print these travel tips before you start your journey.

Early Check-In: On-Campus Housing

For students living on-campus, early check-in is available for a cost of $23/night priort to the scheduled Tuesday opening.  We encourage you to arrive a few days prior to orientation.  This will allow you to avoid the large move-in day growd, provide a buffer against unexpected travel delays, allow you time to recover from jet-lag, and time to explore your new home.  If you would like to check-in into the dorms prior to the move-in date of, please notify Housing directly and complete the Early Arrival Form.

☐ Health Insurance

All international students enrolling at HSU are automatically enrolled in the mandatory California State University (CSU) HealthLink plan. You cannot opt out of or waive the HSU health plan. The bill you will receive after registering for classes will include a fee of approximately $330 - $410 per semester for this insurance. For information on the health insurance plan you will be purchasing, please click here.

Immunization Requirements

You are required to have been immunized (vaccinated) against measles and rubella to study at HSU.  You must show proof of two doses of vaccine directly to the HSU Student Health Center. The CIP does not manage the collection of this required information. For information and instructions on how to submit verification of immunizations to HSU prior to your arrival, please visit the Immunization Information for New Students website.

If your immunization record is in a language other than English, it must be translated into English.

Though the Student Health Center can provide these vaccines, they must do so at cost (approximately US $45). As the Student Health Center does not bill insurance companies, it is best if you receive immunizations from your own doctor in your home country prior to your arrival, where insurance can be billed and the fee may be lower. Please be aware you must comply with all immunization requirements. A hold will be placed on your records if you fail to comply and you will risk your academic and immigration status.  

☐ Tuition Payment/Finances 

HSU estimates that a minimum of $32,985.00 will be required to meet educational and living expenses for the academic year (fall and spring semesters). This $32,985.00 figure does not include the cost of international travel, vacation trips in the U.S., summer session tuition fees, or the support of dependents. You can review our estimated costs of attendance here.

Student Financial Services is responsible for the collection of fees. Please make sure you review their website and policies, payment plans, dues dates, etc. carefully.  Please review tuition and fee payment deadlines here.

Students who register during the priority registration cycle: fees will be due prior to arrival.

Students who register during the on-campus orientation program: fees will be due within 72 hours of registration. Tuition and fees are subject to change by the State Legislature without prior notice. Final tuition and fee rates are normally set by early summer for the academic year to begin in August. You are urged to carefully evaluate your available monetary resources to be certain you are financially prepared for your study at Humboldt State. To allow for possible tuition and fee increases—as well as cost of living increases, we recommend that you budget an additional $4,000.00 for each subsequent year of study.  

☐ Final Tips and Tricks 

If you are sponsored by a government organization: always notify them of your plans. Your sponsor can assist you with many predeparture arrangements and provide valuable information.

  • What to bring - Avoid bringing excess items that can be purchased here and appliances that cannot be used in the U.S. Click here to download a Packing List.
  • Make travel arrangements - Arrive on campus at least two days before International Student Orientation begins in case of travel delays or jet lag.
  • Make Financial Arrangements
  • Make copies - Copy medical records, x-rays, and prescriptions. Also, have prescriptions written in generic terms rather than brand names. A certified birth certificate translated into English may be required to obtain an California driver’s license.
  • Label your luggage - Label all luggage, inside and outside, with your name address, and phone number (if you have them) in Arcata.
  • Carry all legal documentation - Carry your passport, I-20, financial documentation and any other legal documents, on your person, not in your luggage! You will need these to clear Customs.
  • Check with the airlines - Ask about their luggage policy and reconfirm your flight reservations 72 hours before departure.
  • Leave a phone number with someone in your home country - Use someone you know in Arcata or your department. If you do not know anyone in the U.S. to use as a contact, please use the Center for International Programs Office phone number: 1-707-826-4142. Leave a message if calling after normal business hours (Monday - Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, PST) and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. If it is an emergency call after business hours or during a holiday, and there is no emergency contact information on the voice mail, please call 1-707-826-5555 so a staff member can be notified to assist you.

While you may find answers to most of your questions online, please do not hesitate to email us for answers to your questions as well. Again, congratulations and welcome to Humboldt State University!

Sincerely, CIP Staff

What to Expect in Arcata

The City of Arcata

Arcata is a friendly community of about 17,000 residents. The Arcata population enjoys many of the same conveniences (coffee shops, art galleries, theaters, clubs, bookstores and bike paths) of a much larger community. Nearby, you will also find some of the best (and least crowded) sites for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, surfing, and exploring on the north coast.

Visitors from around the world come to this beautiful part of California to see the pristine beaches, clear blue rivers and world-famous Redwood trees. Redwood National Park, located 60 km north of Arcata, is home to some of the oldest Redwood trees in the world. For city-lovers, San Francisco is just a 5-hour car ride away, or a one-hour flight from Arcata/Eureka Airport. Direct flights to San Francisco leave several times a day.

Transportation in Arcata

Whether you are travelling to class or just running errands, Arcata is safe and easy to get around. From the Humboldt County bus system to car rentals, there are plenty of transportation options to help you reach your destination. Arcata is a very bike friendly town, and students can walk everywhere.  Students can also use the Bicycle Learning Center on campus—it’s a student volunteer run program that provides tools and knowledge for learning to repair and maintain your bike.

Jack Pass

Humboldt State’s Jack Pass provides unlimited free ride access on the Humboldt County bus systems. Save car and parking expenses and help protect the environment at the same time. Simply slide your HSU student identification card through the bus fare box to receive a free ride.  Please go here to view bus schedules.


An alternative to riding the bus, HSU’s two Zipcar rentals offer students another way to run errands or simply get around. For a small fee, students can rent a car for as little as an hour or for multiple days. Gas, insurance, reserved parking spots, up to 180 miles of driving per day and roadside assistance are included in the hourly and daily Zipcar rates.


Arcata has a moderate climate year-round, so you’ll never have to worry about being too hot or too cold. Our average low is 4 C and our average high is 14 C.   We are on the coast near the ocean, so we do get some rain year round.  An umbrella and rainboots are good to have for walking around campus.  Our campus is also known as Hills and Stairs University – so bring good walking shoes.

 For more information about Arcata and Humboldt County: