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When and How International Admits Gain Access to Terra Dotta

This document provides information about how admitted international applicants gain access to Terra Dotta as well as FAQs about the process.


Once an international applicant is admitted to the Graduate School, it takes 3 business days to gain access to Terra Dotta. Upon admission, International students are emailed the following directions about how to access Terra Dotta:

  1. Activate your University of Wisconsin-Madison NetID
    • Complete this step today if you have not already done so
    • You will need your 10-digit Campus ID, included at the bottom of this email
    • For any problems activating your NetID account, contact the DoIT Help Desk or call at 608-264-4357
  2. Three (3) business days after receiving this email, log in to Terra Dotta
    • Click on the picture of Bucky Badger under Incoming Students
      • If you are a F-1 new student, select F-1 New Student – Request an Initial Attendance I-20
      • If you are a J-1 new student, select J-1 New Student - Request an Initial Attendance DS-2019
      • If you are neither a F-1 new student or J-1 new student, select the option that describes your situation
    • Select Log in with Campus NetID and log in
    • Once logged in to Terra Dotta, select the option that matches your situation. Choose the visa type you are applying for (F-1 or J-1)
    • Follow the instructions within Terra Dotta to complete your request

FAQs about access to Terra Dotta

Can my student gain access to Terra Dotta before being admitted?

No. Terra Dotta access is granted only to applicants that have been officially admitted to the Graduate School. Upon admission, it takes 3 business days for a student to have access to Terra Dotta.

My applicant needs access to Terra Dotta ASAP. Is there any way to speed up access to Terra Dotta once a student is admitted?

No. The delay (3 business days) is due to automated processes that cannot be sped up.

My applicant is having issues accessing Terra Dotta. How do I help them troubleshoot? Who do I contact?

Common Issue 1: NetID Problem

Remind the applicant that they will need to activate their University of Wisconsin-Madison NetID in order to create a Terra Dotta account. For any problems activating a NetID account, direct the applicant to contact the DoIT Help Desk or call at 608-264-4357.

Common Issue 2: Outstanding Admissions Documentation

Check the applicant’s admission status. If the applicant has not been admitted to the Graduate School, the applicant will not have access to Terra Dotta. Common issues that need to be resolved before the student is officially admitted:

  • Missing official transcripts
  • Missing proof of English Proficiency (e.g. official IELTS or TOEFL test results)
  • A Pro Sheet has been requested or is still being processed

Common Issue 3: Processing Time

Check to see that it has been 3 business days since the student was admitted to the Graduate School. If it hasn’t yet been 3 business days, access to Terra Dotta is still processing.

Common Issue 4: In Need of Directions

Check in Applicant Review to see if/when the applicant received the email with the subject line: I-20 / DS-2019 and Terra Dotta Information for UW-Madison

  • If the email was sent a long time ago, the applicant may have missed the email and is accessing Terra Dotta incorrectly. Resend the student the directions found at the top of this KB document.
  • If the student was never sent this email, contact Graduate School Admissions at to send out the email.

Common Issue 5: Follow the Login Directions

New students should NOT click Login in the upper right hand corner. Closely follow the directions below:

  1. Go to the main Terra Dotta page at
  2. Click on the picture of Bucky Badger where it says "Incoming Students"
  3. On "Incoming Students" page, there are multiple different options to choose depending on the circumstances of your admission to UW-Madison. Please select the option that best describes your situation and follow the instructions that are given.

Common Issue 6: Visa Info Has Not Been Updated in SIS

Check to make sure the visa info has been input for the international applicant.

  • In SIS, navigate to Maintain Applications
  • Search for applicant by Campus ID (if multiple rows show up in Search Results it doesn’t matter which one you select) 
  • On the Biographical Details tab, select the Visa/Permit Data link near the bottom of the page
  • If no visa information exists in the fields, contact the Graduate School at 

Common Issue 7: None of The Above

Contact International Student Services:

My applicant has access to Terra Dotta, but there is another issue with their I-20. Who should I contact?

Direct applicants to work with International Student Services (ISS) for all questions about I-20 and immigration. Many questions can be answered by reading through ISS's Becoming a Global Badger page, which provides a thorough step-by-step explanation to help international students transition into UW-Madison.

If admitted applicants would like to contact their ISS advisor, they can find their ISS advisor following these directions and send an information request to their ISS advisor in Terra Dotta. Admitted applicants can also schedule advising appointments with their ISS advisor in Terra Dotta.

If students are looking for general help on how to navigate the Terra Dotta platform, please direct them to the Terra Dotta Tutorials page.  

KeywordsTerra Dotta, Admissions, I-20, I20, immigration   Doc ID128216
OwnerEric L.GroupGraduate School
Created2023-05-10 08:54:07Updated2024-04-02 15:26:41
SitesGraduate School
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