Coming to RISD

Learn what you need to know to secure a visa, travel to the US and set yourself up for life at RISD.

F-1 visa instructions

If you are not a US citizen or permanent resident and wish to study at RISD, you will need an F-1 or other type of visa. Read below to learn how to obtain your F-1 visa.

All F-1 students must obtain an F-1 visa, with the exception of Canadian citizens.

Banks and phones

Here are some banks and wireless phone companies located within walking distance of campus. (Please note that our office cannot endorse any specific bank or phone service provider.)

To decide what bank or phone company is best for you, you may consider asking:


  • What are your international wire transfer fees?
  • What are your ATM fees?
  • How many ATMs are locally nearby?
  • Are your checking and savings accounts free?
  • Do you offer discounted student accounts?


  • Can I keep my current phone by equipping it with a SIM card?
  • Is there an upfront fee to start a plan?
  • What price/minutes options are available to me?
  • Do I need to sign a contract? What is the charge if I break the contract?

Please note, when you receive your acceptance materials you will also receive a SIM card from CampusSIMs.

Adjusting to a new culture

It can be exciting to go to a new place that is culturally different from your home. However, living in a new country for a long period of time can take some getting used to.
Here are some tips as you adjust to life in the US and at RISD:

  • Learn about Providence before you travel. Knowing more about the history, social norms, customs, politics and geography of the US, Rhode Island, Providence and RISD will help you to understand your experiences while living here.
  • Expect to make mistakes. Even after learning about a new culture, living there can present some challenges. Don’t be afraid to take risks and learn from them.
  • Keep in touch with your family and friends at home.
  • Tell people about how you are feeling. You are not alone in your discomfort. RISD’s student body is comprised of 37% international students from around the world.
  • Do not isolate yourself. Meeting new people can be scary sometimes, but well worth the risk.
  • Keep a journal so you can reflect on your experiences.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, familiar foods, stay hydrated, get adequate sleep and exercise regularly.
  • Make a routine and stay with it.
  • Get involved on campus. The more you take part in campus life, the more RISD will feel like home—and you’ll make new friends.
  • Know your resources. In addition to our office, we have many campus partners (listed below) with staff members ready to help you.