Skip to main content

Information for International Students and Scholars

General Information
Application and Admission to NC State
After Arrival To-Do Lists 
Housing Information
Mobile Phones
Local Home Furniture and Home Essentials at Affordable Prices
Groceries and Dining
Language Assistance
Things to Do at NC State
Things to Do in Raleigh
Helpful Contacts and Resources

We welcome you here at NC State

General Information

If your university has an exchange agreement with NC State University and you would like to study in the College of Natural Resources as an exchange student, please follow this link to the Study Abroad Office for more information.

Visiting Scholar Information

Most “visiting scholars” obtain a J-1 Visa.  To obtain a visa, you will need to work with the professor or program who invited you to the college.  They will need to request the visa for you. A full checklist of items required for the visa are listed here.

Steps you can take include:

  • Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the date of your arrival in the US.
  • Verify whether you have insurance that meets the requirements described here.
  • Fill out the DS-2019 form at the end of the guide, and send that form, along with your CV and a copy of your passport profile page, to your sponsor in the College of Natural Resources.
  • Confirm with your sponsor whether they will help you or you need to make arrangements for:
  • Scheduling a meeting with the Office of International Students within a week of your arrival

Application and Admission to NC State

International Graduate Students and Scholars should first reach out to faculty within the college to find a program advisor. Find faculty in your area of interest from the department links below: 

Once these connections have been made, students/scholars should use the links below to check eligibility requirements and officially apply.

Graduate Program Application Process by Department

After Arrival To-Do Lists 

The NC State Office of International Services (OIS) provides checklists for incoming international students, scholars, and interns. These lists include information about Orientation, OIS Check-In, Social Security numbers, banking, and other information critical to your stay here. 

International Students can view their checklist here.

International Scholars and Interns should access the PDF documents found at the bottom of this page. These guides contain to-do checklists as well as other helpful information about NC State and the Raleigh area.

Housing Information

NC State On-Campus
Incoming international students may apply for University Housing. Many of the options are dorm rooms with a shared bathroom and no kitchen.  However, there are also several apartment style University Housing options.  Learn more about the different housing options and how to apply on the University Housing webpage. For short-term (four months or less) guest housing visit the ES King Village Apartment webpage.

NC State Off-Campus Housing
NC State’s Off-Campus Housing website provides off-campus housing listings. There is also a map feature that shows the listings in relation to NC State’s campus. Incoming students and scholars can also create profiles to search for roommates through this webpage. 

Other Methods for Finding Off-Campus Housing
Facebook groups such as NCSU Off Campus Housing serve as a forum for local housing opportunities. Whether you are in the process of finding housing, need to find someone to sublease your current apartment, or are looking for a roommate, this is a great place to get connected. Browse through current listings or make a post stating what you’re looking for. A facebook account is required to use these groups  Also try: 

Contact the graduate program coordinator for your program to see if they can send a request to current students. When inquiring about housing opportunities, make sure to include information about preferred location, furnishings, price, timeframe, and any other relevant details.

OIS Country and College Ambassadors are another great resource to connect with. These students represent their specific academic department and/or country. They serve as points of contact for current, incoming, and prospective international students (graduate and undergraduate) and scholars at NC State.

Renters Insurance 
Housing providers have insurance that covers the building itself; however, their insurance usually does not provide coverage for the belongings of the tenants. Renter’s insurance policies will provide compensation to the tenant in the event of theft or severe damage to belongings (fire, storm, etc.). These policies also usually provide the owner with compensation if the tenant damages the building. 

Although having renters insurance is not required by law in North Carolina, many landlords require it to protect themselves from lawsuits and property damage. Renter’s insurance is fairly inexpensive at $140-$200 per year, and can provide some peace of mind. Not all housing providers will require it, but it is definitely still worth considering. Learn more about renters insurance from the NC Department of Insurance webpage. See the Office of International Services (OIS) website for more information about housing.


All international students and scholars in F-1 or J-1 status are required to maintain health insurance throughout their degree program at NC State University.  If you have an assistantship or fellowship, insurance will be provided as part of that support. Learn more about the requirements on the OIS Health and Safety webpage

Student Healthcare vs. Scholar Healthcare
Students have access to the many services that NC State Student Health Services provide. These services are paid for by tuition and student fees, so most office visits will be free or significantly cheaper than outside services.  Visit the Student Health Services webpage to learn about the services offered and to book appointments.  They can also refer you to a specialist, if needed. Visit their Insurance & Charges page to learn about the costs associated with these services.

Students also have access to mental health services through the Counseling Center

Scholars do not pay tuition and fees and will not have access to NC State Student Health Services. They should instead use nearby Primary Care Physicians/ Urgent Care Practices.

Most health care providers will offer similar care. The biggest difference between providers will be their specific physicians and their cooperation with insurance companies. Most providers offer some information about their physicians on their website (education, specialties, etc.). Sites like or can provide physician reviews also.

It is recommended that you ask the doctor’s office or urgent care facility if they accept your health insurance plan prior to your appointment. 

Types of Healthcare Providers

  • Primary Care Physicians should typically be used for non-emergency healthcare and preventive healthcare. These physicians can diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions. They can also make referrals to specialists for more serious or complex health complications. Appointments with Primary Care Physicians should usually be scheduled in advance. 
  • Urgent Care Practices can be used similarly to Primary Care Physicians, but are typically open longer and more days each week. They also take walk-in patients and same-day appointments. These practices are typically used for serious but non-life threatening conditions and medical situations occurring after typical working hours (5:00 PM). A list of nearby Urgent Care Practices can be found here
  • Hospital Emergency Rooms should be used for life-threatening health conditions. A list of nearby hospitals can be found here

For life-threatening emergencies requiring immediate attention, call 911. When calling 911, be prepared to provide the precise location of the emergency, the phone number you’re calling from, and the nature of the emergency (This number should also be called in the event of a crime,  fire, or driving collision). Note that police and firefighter services are paid for by taxes and will not typically cost; however, ambulance transport services will be expensive. 

If you accidentally call 911, don’t immediately end the phone call. It is important to tell the call-taker that there is no emergency. They will try to call back, but if they do not hear from you, they will dispatch emergency personnel to your location.


Campus and Regional Bus Lines 

  • NC State operates the Wolfline,  a fare-free campus transit system. The routes go through Main and Centennial Campus and the nearby residential and shopping areas. 
  • GoRaleigh and GoTriangle buses have stops all around Raleigh and the surrounding Towns and Cities (Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, etc.). These buses typically require a small fare, but fares are suspended until June 30, 2022, due to COVID-19.
  • Use the TransLoc app for local bus routes.
  • For more information about buses visit the NC State local regional transit page.

App-Based Transportation Services

  • Uber and Lyft  are both app-based transportation services. You can request rides to any destination, and these services will send drivers to pick you up. The app will provide an estimated arrival time and an estimated cost. When using these rideshare services, the phone app will need to be installed. Payment for these services will need to be entered through the app. Drivers cannot accept payment directly (i.e. cash payments). These services are relatively affordable most of the time, but ride prices will increase substantially during busy times.
  • Lime is an electric scooter share program. Scooters can be found all across NC State Campus. Learn more here.

Taxi Services

  • Taxi Services are available outside both terminals at RDU airport and can be ordered from other locations as well. It is customary to give the driver a small tip of approximately 15-20% of the cost of the ride.
  • Taxi Taxi, is a very popular taxi company in the Raleigh area. You can book a taxi online through their website or by phone (919-333-3333.)

If planning to bike on campus, make sure to register your cycle here. Also, make sure to keep your bike locked with a good lock when left unattended. 

If you plan to drive in the U.S., you are permitted to drive with a license issued by your home country for up to 60 days after your arrival date. After 60 days, you will be required by law to have a North Carolina Driver’s License if you wish to continue driving in the U.S. The “International Driver’s License” is not valid in the state of North Carolina.

If interested in obtaining a North Carolina driver license, visit the NC State OIS Driving and Cars Page  and/or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website to learn about the requirements. **Note that you must obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) before obtaining a driver license. 

If you will be required to drive for your job or are interested in renting a car for travel but do not plan on purchasing a car, it is still possible to obtain a driver license. However, the process can be more complicated.

Proof of financial liability insurance is required in North Carolina. If you do not own a car, you probably will not have a liability insurance policy. The DMV can grant you a license, but you will be restricted to “fleet vehicles.” This means you will be restricted to driving vehicles owned by organizations that can insure you through their insurance policies (e.g. NC State fleet vehicles, rental cars, company cars, etc.). This restriction can be removed later at the DMV if you present proof of liability insurance and pay a duplicate-license fee.

Even if you don’t own a car, you will still need to bring a car to the DMV to complete the driving test. The car can be rented or borrowed, but liability insurance is still required. If renting, you can take out a temporary insurance policy with the rental company for an extra charge. If borrowing, you can purchase short-term non-owners insurance from an insurance company such as Geico or State Farm. 

Rental Cars 
There are several rental car companies relatively close to NC State:

Most other rental car companies can be found at RDU Airport. The GoRaleigh bus system has routes that reach the airport. 

Many rental companies have minimum age restrictions or charge a fee to younger drivers. Check these restrictions and any other requirements online before visiting a rental office. 

Parking on Campus
To park on campus during the day, a parking permit is required. Parking is enforced from 7 am-5 pm daily. Passes are $220 per semester for Residential parking (overnight parking is permitted) and $80-$210 per semester for Commuter Parking (overnight parking is not permitted). Note that parking permits are designated for specific lots on campus. Visit the student parking website to view lot locations and to purchase a permit.  Hourly Parking is also available. See details and locations here.

Mobile Phones

It will likely be cheaper for you to set up a new phone plan while you’re in the U.S. You can either bring an “unlocked” phone or purchase a phone with your new provider. If you are not sure if your phone is “unlocked,” contact your current carrier. Keep in mind that they may charge an unlock fee. U.S. cellular providers offer contract and prepaid plans. 

  • Contract plans will require you to sign a contract for a specified amount of time, typically a year or two. You will be charged at the end of each month, and will be subject to a cancellation fee for ending the plan early.  
  • Prepaid plans charge you at the beginning of each month. These plans can be ended without cancellation fees and offer more flexibility.
  • Prepaid plans with unlimited data typically range from $45-$65 USD per month (the variation is usually due to data speeds and mobile hotspot availability). Most plans don’t include international calling, but some providers allow you to add it on for $10-$15 USD extra per month. 
  • Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint are some of the more common cellular providers with physical stores in the area. Plans can also be purchased online, and the company will send a SIM card in the mail if you prefer. Providers such as Google Fi and Mint Mobile operate solely online. If you need a plan that supports eSIM, make sure to inquire with the provider before setting up a plan.

Local Furniture and Home Essentials at Affordable Prices:

Especially if incoming students/scholars know they will only be in North Carolina for a short amount of time, used furniture and home essentials are a great option.

Facebook MarketPlace – is found within the Facebook interface (a Facebook Account is required). Craigslist does not require an account. Both of these sites allow people to buy and sell items in the local area.  You can search for specific items and then contact the sellers to negotiate prices and meeting locations. 

Please be careful using these sites. Be especially wary of offers that look too good to be true.  Try to arrange pick-ups in well-lit public locations, and it is a good practice to bring a friend along, particularly if you must pick something up from someone’s house. 

There are several thrift stores in the Raleigh area, such as Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity ReStore. These stores sell a wide variety of used clothing, furniture, kitchenware, electronics, books, and other items.

Cause for Paws (1634 S Saunders St) is only a few miles from NC State and usually has a great selection.

Also consider reaching out to the CNR International Listserv You must already have your email to send messages into this group. International students and scholars finishing their programs may be in the process of moving and selling furniture and other household items.

Groceries and Dining

Nearby and Delivery Grocery Options 

On-Campus Dining Options

  • Tally Student Union – Located on Cates Avenue, across from the Wellness and Recreation Center. For hours and more information
  • Atrium Food Court – Adjacent to the Brickyard on the lower level of D.H. Hill Library.
  • Fountain Dining (buffet style) – Located near the corner of Dan Allen Drive and Sullivan Drive.
  • View all NC State Dining Options
  • Grubhub Online Ordering is required to order food at most NC State Campus Dining Locations. This includes the on-campus coffee shops. Visit the NC State Grubhub Online Ordering page to learn more. There is troubleshooting information at the bottom of the page if you are experiencing difficulties downloading or using the app from a foreign mobile device.

Language Assistance

  • NC State’s Intensive English Program (IEP) Offers courses that meet weekly, specifically for visiting scholars. There is a Conversation Skills course ($40) that meets 1 hour/week for 10 weeks.There is an Academic Writing Skills course ($80)  that meets 2 hours/week for 10 weeks. Email if you have any questions about the program.
  • NC State OIS English Conversation Club has groups that practice English together on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. 
  • The Raleigh government has free English Courses and an English Language Lounge to practice English in conversation.
  • Forest Hills Baptist Church offers free English classes every Wednesday night at 6:30. The sessions are currently online through Zoom. Visit their website for a link to the Zoom.

Things to Do at NC State

Things to Do in Raleigh




Helpful Contacts and Resources 

Immigration Status and Documentation Information
Contact the Office of International Services Advisor Contacts for issues with immigration status and documentation.  

College of Natural Resources 

Forestry and Environmental Resources 

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management 

Forest Biomaterials

Center for Geospatial Analytics