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Preparing for your Trip to the USA

Now that you are admitted to UB, it’s time to prepare for your trip to Buffalo. Careful preparation will make your trip successful, so here are some answers to common questions about traveling to the United States.

On this page:

Where can I get more information about studying in the U.S.?

The U.S. has educational advising centers in many countries. Visit a center to ask for advice on preparing to come to the U.S., or to participate in a pre-departure orientation program.

Where can I find out more about UB and life in Buffalo?

Before arriving in Buffalo, you can experience UB and the beautiful Buffalo-Niagara region online.

After you arrive in Buffalo, your best source of information will be International Student Orientation. This one-week program is designed to help you get the things you need to be a UB student, inform you about campus resources and services, get you off to a good start academically, introduce you to other new students, and provide valuable information about U.S. culture and life outside UB.

How can I register for International Student Orientation?

You can email the Office of International Student and Scholar Services or register online.

What should I do with my Health Background Form?

The State of New York requires all students born on or after Jan. 1, 1957, to provide proof of immunity against measles, mumps and rubella. It also requires that all students receive information about meningococcal disease and make an informed decision about whether or not to receive immunization against meningococcal disease.

To satisfy this requirement, you must submit your completed Health Background Form to UB. Since you will not be able to register for classes until you do so, you should complete and return this form as soon as possible. You can fax it to (716-829-2564) or use regular Air Mail or Express Courier Service (Attention: Susan Snyder).

The mailing address is:

Student Health Services
University at Buffalo
Michael Hall
3435 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14214

Please do not return the forms to the International Admissions or International Student and Scholar Services offices. Also, scanned copies and email attachments are not permitted.

What advice do you have about flying to Buffalo?

Unless you are flying from Canada, there are no direct flights from your country to Buffalo. Therefore, you will need to fly first to another U.S. city (e.g., New York City, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco) and change flights to fly to Buffalo.

Be sure that you book your flight to arrive by the start date on your I‑20 or DS-2019. If you arrive late, you will miss helpful information and valuable tips shared at International Student Orientation. Since the orientation program also provides “one-stop shopping” for the things you need to start your life in Buffalo (e.g., University ID card, email account, bank account, cellphone account, Social Security card, etc.), arriving on time will save you the trouble of getting those things on your own.

The earliest you can enter the U.S. is 30 days before the program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019.

What immigration documents should I carry with me?

You will need to carry the documents below with you. Do not pack them in your luggage because you will need to show them to the immigration inspector when you enter the U.S.

  • Passport
  • U.S. Visa Stamp
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • Proof of SEVIS Fee payment
  • Financial Documents

If my dependents are accompanying me, are there any additional documents which they should bring?

We recommend that your dependents bring the following documents:

  • Marriage certificate (for spouse)
  • Birth certificate(s) (for children)
  • Health and immunization records

How should I bring money to the U.S.?

Please bring a money card, credit card, bank draft or travelers’ checks when you fly to the U.S. It is not advisable to carry large sums of cash of any type.

We recommend that you exchange some local currency to U.S. dollars in your home country before flying to the U.S. That way, you will have some cash for incidental expenses (e.g., taxi fare) when you arrive here.

What temporary housing arrangements should I make before coming to Buffalo?

Please make temporary housing arrangements prior to your arrival in Buffalo. It is not a good idea to arrive on campus with lots of luggage and no place to spend the night, as it is very difficult to find housing in one day. There is a list of hotels in the New International Student Guide.

You can also contact international student clubs that provide assistance to new students.

What kind of clothes should I bring to Buffalo?

Buffalo has four seasons, so you should be prepared for all types of weather (but remember, snow is fun and beautiful!). In winter, heavy jackets, warm hats, scarves, gloves and snow boots are necessary. During autumn and spring days, you will need a raincoat or lightweight coat or jacket. In the summer, shorts and T-shirts are adequate. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended for any season.

Unless good quality winter clothing is available in your country, you should purchase it after you arrive in Buffalo. You will find a large selection of winter clothes available at different price levels.

What if I cannot arrive in time for orientation?

Although we don’t recommend it, you can join International Student Orientation late. We will have a Late Arrivals table, where you can check in. However, since the orientation schedule is quite full, we urge you to come as soon as you can so that you don’t miss too much.

You must have the university's permission if you think you will arrive late for Orientation or after classes begin.