Recommendations for Arriving International Students | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center


Make sure your documents are always with you while traveling and are readily accessible before you get onto your flight. You need to be able to present your Passport and I-20 on demand. An I-94 ( will be issued to you for you to print once you arrive and have a computer/printer available. Please check the I-94 for accuracy. You cannot apply for a social security number if the name is inaccurate. Also, bring your offer letter with you; this will be required for international student check-in.


Initial F-1 students can enter the US 30 days before the semester start date. Current students have reported that it would have been better to arrive the week before so that they had more time to set up their apartment and take care of some business, such as shopping for necessities and meeting the internet installation company before they were scheduled to start classes and attend orientation.

TTUHSC International Students Website

Refer to the orientation website and academic calendars for orientation dates and semester start dates.

Arriving for the Summer/Fall Term (May/August)

If you are arriving for the Summer or Fall term, it is very warm in Texas (avg. 95°-100°F). Normally, you will wear jeans, athletic shoes, etc. in the labs. Due to safety regulations, you must have your legs and feet covered while in the lab, therefore shorts and sandals are not appropriate for work/school.

Arriving for the Spring term (January)

Texas weather is very unpredictable in the winter. Generally, temperatures are mildly cool, ranging from lows of 30°F in the evenings to 50°F during the day. However, we experience many frigid days during this time and a warm coat is essential. Temperatures and chill factors can and frequently do reach below 0°F. Snow, freezing winds, and frostbite are a concern, so warm under and outer garments, gloves, and shoes are necessities.

Lighter coats or jackets are good for many days, so we recommend you bring or purchase one here.

You should be prepared to stay in a motel for the first week after arriving, with costs of approximately $100 per day, if an apartment is not available. Include costs for food of about $10-$15 per meal. When you rent an apartment, generally you must pay a deposit of at least one month’s rent due to lack of credit history. Apartment rent can average between $500-$800+ per month depending on where you live and whether you will have a roommate or not. Most students prefer living in the apartments closest to the school until they can obtain a driver’s permit and vehicle.

Miscellaneous Information

For MS students, semester fees and tuition (after a competitive scholarship is applied) may be as much as $4200 for 14 credit hours.

A complete listing of textbooks is available on the GSBS website:

International students are required to purchase medical insurance through TTUHSC and have coverage throughout the duration of your degree. More information about mandatory health insurance is available at The estimated cost for medical insurance, textbooks, and supplies is $4,523.

Living expenses differ from campus to campus. You may wish to contact one of the international students currently enrolled if you have questions.

GSBS requires all students to have a laptop computer. Refer to this website for specifications:

Information for Research Assistants

Because international students on a Research Assistantship must first obtain a social security number (allow 3 weeks), and since the university only pays once per month, it may be two months before you receive your first pay. It is recommended that students have approximately $5000 to cover living and school expenses until your salary begins.

Example timeline for Fall start date Research Assistants:

  • July 1 – Submit online employment application (link will be sent to you).
  • July 15 – Accept the job offer AND Submit background check information (Please be advised the background check can take a couple of weeks to complete – it is better to do these first two steps sooner to allow ample time for the background check)
  • August 5 – Complete the on-boarding process (you will need Adobe Acrobat on your computer to complete the online onboarding process)
  • August 5 – Submit I-9 documents (Driver’s License/SSN, Passport) to HR; if you were unable to complete the onboarding process from your computer, then you will need to complete this process while at HR (please allow about 20 to 30 minutes for this requirement)
  • August 15 – Projected start date (I-9 documents MUST be submitted on or BEFORE this date so that the ePAF {payroll document} can be generated, approved, and finally applied for your payroll to begin).
  • International students initially entering the US will not be able to complete the onboarding phase of the process until you have entered the US and obtained your I-94 (alphanumeric). The I-94 is required for at least one of the documents in the onboarding process.
  • August 10 – Gain access to Banner and complete online safety training. Safety training is required before working in the lab.

Please be advised that a background check must be conducted to be a student/employee at TTUHSC; therefore, you will receive an email from HireRight (check your junk email folder) requesting information. Please complete the information at your earliest convenience to expedite the process of the background check.

For new students who will be entering the US just before classes begin and who do not have an SSN, within the job application request a placement holder (temporary SSN {social security number}) will be sent to you to enter into the employment application in a separate email. Please use this specific number – do not make up your number or use your R# (unless it specifically asks for the R#).

One of the questions asked in the application: Are you currently enrolled as a graduate student at TTUHSC, in good academic standing? The answer must be ‘yes’.

Please do not wait to complete the employment application or the background check request – this will delay the process in your start date for payroll and access to the safety training that must be completed BEFORE you can begin working in the lab. Please follow completely through with submitting your online application and background check at least two weeks BEFORE you arrive on campus. The final step of the employment application process will be to complete the onboarding phase of the employment application and submit your I-9 documents to HR upon arrival so that your ePAF (payroll document) can be approved/applied; then, you will be allowed access to Banner in which you can complete your online safety training.

You must meet with the DSO before applying for a social security number or your application will be denied.

Applying for a Social Security Number:

Social Security Card Application:

Social Security Offices


1202 E SOUTH 11TH ST

Phone: 1-877-607-9525
TTY: 1-800-325-0778
Fax: 1-833-902-2586

Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM
Saturday/Sunday Closed



Phone: 1-877-803-6318
TTY: 1-800-325-0778
Fax: 1-833-519-3209

Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM
Saturday/Sunday Closed


Address: 5825 16TH STREET

Phone: 1-866-467-0460
TTY: 1-800-325-0778
Fax: 1-833-902-2582

Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM
Saturday/Sunday Closed