This page covers all of the important things you’ll need to prepare for your trip to the U.S.—from what to pack to what to expect upon arrival. You may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date indicated on your I-20 form. We encourage you to come as early as possible to allow time to get acquainted with the area and to complete all steps to enroll.
WHAT TO PACK
When coming to study in the U.S., it’s best to pack light. In addition to your airline’s luggage weight restrictions, you don’t want to be hauling around too much through local transportation and to your housing when you arrive. We suggest bringing clothing, important personal items and some of your favorite foods or products from home. Be sure to check the Transportation Security Administration website before packing to find out what is permitted and what is not, especially related to food. Other than that, everything you need, you will be able to purchase in the U.S. CVS and Walgreens are pharmacy/convenient stores where you can purchase over-the-counter medicines. Wal-Mart and Target sell home goods, electronics and food.
Important Documents to Carry with You During Travel
- Valid passport and visa
- Evidence of financial resources
- School registration forms or receipts
- Name and contact number of the school program advisor
TRAVEL AND ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES
During your flight to the U.S., you will be asked to fill out the CF-6059 Customs Declaration Form. If you do not understand a form, ask a flight attendant for assistance.
Immigration Inspection Upon Arrival
During your inspection, it is important that you tell the Customs and Border Protection Officer that you will be attending school as an F-1 student. Once your inspection is complete, the officer will stamp your I-20 form for duration of status (D/S). Your entry record, called your I-94, will be recorded electronically and can be accessed later online.
In the case that your admission to the U.S. needs to be verified at the port of entry, be sure to have the name and phone number of the school’s program advisor on hand. You will go through the US-VISIT registration, which involves obtaining a scan of two index fingerprints and a digital photograph. It is conducted for all nonimmigrant visa holders.
Some individuals may be asked to provide additional information under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. Follow all instructions given by the Customs and Border Protection Officer.
Most international students will arrive to the Orlando International Airport. If you plan to arrive through Miami International Airport, you will need to fly to Orlando or arrange for ground transportation. Going through customs can add up to an hour, or even more, to your arrival time, so be prepared. After you go through customs, you will be required to pass through another security and baggage checkpoint.
Orlando airport links:
Due to college policy, Valencia cannot provide airport pick up. From the Orlando International Airport, you can take a taxi cab to your accommodations or use one of the popular ride sharing services. Taxis use metered rates in Orlando. Rental cars are also available at the Orlando International Airport and Miami International Airport. However, you must be at least 21 years old to rent a car with most companies and will have to pay an extra charge if you are under 25 years old. Most hotels will provide airport pick up for free or at an additional cost. Contact your hotel for more information.