Pre-arrival information

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 Cal Poly Humboldt. Please read the provided information carefully and contact the College of Extended Education & Global Engagement (CEEGE) if you have any questions or concerns.

Prearrival Checklist

Apply for your visa/I-20 Shipment

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.


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 Humboldt and submit your Housing Application as soon as possible. Housing space is limited.

If you have secured on-campus housing and plan to arrive early (recommended), please read the Early Check-in section.

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 Humboldt 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 Humboldt 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!

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.  The Off Campus Housing Liaison ( is available to assist you with securing off-campus housing, transitioning from on-campus to off-campus housing, as well as landlord and roommate issues.

Packing List

Download our recommendations for packing here.

Confirm Intent to Enroll

We need to know if you plan to attend or not attend Humboldt for planning purposes.  You risk having your admission canceled if you do not let us know your plans to attend.  If you have not already done so, please notify Humboldt by logging into myHumboldt.  Accept or decline your admission by clicking on the accept/decline link in the "My Applications" box in Student Center.  Or, email with your decision.

You must complete this step by June 1 for Fall admits and November 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 Humboldt. The IHOOP program is designed to provide you with an orientation to your academic requirements, schedule planning, course registration, immigration rules and responsibilities, and general student rights, responsibilities, and requirements prior to you coming to Humboldt. Instructions about how to access and complete IHOOP are sent as an attachment along with your acceptance email.  Click here for more information.

On-Campus Orientation

In addition to IHOOP, you will be required to attend a mandatory on-campus orientation program. The mandatory on-campus orientation will take place the week before class instruction begins.  Information about the on-campus orientation and the schedule will be emailed to all confirmed students.  You can also find the information online HERE.

Course Registration

Students are required to complete the online, pre-arrival IHOOP orientation before they will be allowed to register for classes. Information about your specific registration date/time is communicated in the IHOOP flyer emailed with your admission letter. If you have questions about the registration process, please email


Important information and resourced on how to get to Arcata and Cal Poly Humboldt can be found on our website, HERE.  We advise you arrive a few days before orientation in order to attend orientation, settle into your new living community and adjust to the time change.

You will need to arrange your own transportation from the local airport (airport code: ACV) or from the Greyhound/Amtrak Bus station to your housing. International Programs/CEEGE does not provide an airport pick-up service.

Transportation from the Airport

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

You can use the following services to arrange your transportation from the airport to your housing:

Transportation from Greyhound/Amtrak Bus Service

You may take the Greyhound or Amtrak bus service from San Francisco, but you should be aware that this is a long trip (over 8 hours) and not recommended.

If you would like to travel by bus to Arcata, please follow the directions below. 

  • From San Francisco Airport (SFO): The SFO airport is 16 miles south of Downtown San Francisco, which is where you will catch the bus. There is no direct transportation from the San Francisco airport to the San Francisco bus terminal.
  • From SFO, you can take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) or a Taxi to the Transbay Transit Center. If you take BART, get off at the Embarcadero Station. See a map of the route. If you take a taxi the Transbay Transit Centeris located at 200 425 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94105.
  • Bus Tickets: To purchase tickets, please visit: Greyhound and Amtrak website.

Note: There are NO TRAIN SERVICES to Arcata.

  • Arrival: After you arrive in Arcata, you can take the Arcata & Mad River Transit System (A&MRTS) bus from the Arcata Transit Center to campus. If you do not want ot take the bus from Arcata to campus, you can use the following services to arrange your transportation from the bus depot to housing:

Health Insurance

All international students enrolling at Humboldt are automatically enrolled in the mandatory health insurance plan. Your student account will be billed each 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 Humboldt.  You must show proof of two doses of vaccine directly to the Humboldt Student Health Center. The International Programs does not manage the collection of this required information. For information and instructions on how to submit verification of immunizations to Humboldt 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 

Review costs here. This figure does not include the cost of international travel, vacation trips in the U.S., summer session tuition fees, or the support of dependents.

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

Final Tips and Tricks 

Check out the following websites to prepare for your time in the U.S.

If you are sponsored by a government organization: always notify them of your plans. Your sponsor can assist you with many pre-departure 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 International Programs/CEEGE 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 Cal Poly Humboldt!

Sincerely, International Programs 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

Cal Poly Humboldt'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 Humboldt student identification card through the bus fare box to receive a free ride. 


An alternative to riding the bus, Humboldt'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 rain boots 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: