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What to Expect When You Arrive

Your journey to the UB will be the start of an exciting new chapter in your life. Here are some tips to make your arrival in the U.S. and Buffalo as smooth as possible!

On this page:

What will happen when I arrive in the U.S.?

First, after deplaning you will proceed to passport control.

  • An immigration officer will inspect your passport, U.S. visa stamp, I-20 or DS-2019, and financial documentation.
  • You will provide ten fingerprints and be photographed.
  • I-94 cards are being phased out so you will likely not receive one. If you do, the inspector will stamp your I-94 card, write your visa category and “D/S” on it, and return all your immigration documents to you.

If you receive an I-94 card, be sure to enter your name on it as it appears on your passport and I-20 (not your U.S. visa stamp) when you fill it out.

Second, you will proceed to the baggage claim area and go through customs.

  • At your first city of arrival in the U.S., you will collect your checked baggage (even if this city is not your final destination).
  • A customs inspector may examine your luggage to see what you are bringing into the U.S.
  • It is important to declare certain items at the border, including plants, certain foods and large amounts of money.
  • You must declare to the officer any amount of money above $10,000 that you are carrying. This includes cash, money order, certified check, travelers’ checks or letter of credit. If you don’t, it can be seized.
  • After exiting the customs area, you will place your baggage on the "re-check" belt or give it to the baggage attendant (your bags will then continue to Buffalo or to your final destination).

Always be honest

Never make false statements to a border officer as the penalty for doing so is very severe.

What is the airport in Buffalo like?

  • Buffalo Niagara Airport is a medium-sized airport with approximately 30 gates. It is very safe and clean. If you need assistance, airport staff will help you.
  • The arrivals and baggage claim areas are on the lower level.
  • A currency exchange office is available on the upper level. However, this office is open only for limited hours and only converts Canadian dollars to U.S. dollars. Therefore, we recommend that you exchange your local currency to U.S. dollars in your home country or at a U.S. bank after you arrive.

What do I do if my baggage is delayed or lost?

Sometimes baggage is delayed or lost. If that happens to you, you should go to the airline office in the baggage claim area (lower level) to file a report. When the airline finds your baggage, they will fly it to Buffalo Niagara airport. When it arrives, the airline will deliver it to you at your hotel or residence.

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you provide an accurate Buffalo address and telephone number when you report your lost luggage. If you provide a phone number that doesn’t work, the airline will not be able to reach you when your luggage arrives or make arrangements to deliver it to you.

How should I get from the airport to UB or my temporary housing?

The best way is to take a taxi. Airport Taxi Service (ATS) charges approximately $30 to drive one person to UB’s North Campus and $20 to UB’s South Campus. It should take 15-20 minutes to reach either campus from the airport. While not required, it is common to give the taxi driver (and any airport staff) a small tip if they help you with your bags ($1 – $2 per bag is appropriate).

Where can I stay on my first night in Buffalo?

You can check in to your residence hall right before orientation begins. No check-ins will be permitted before this time.

> For specific date information check the current orientation schedule here.

You can stay in a hotel, or at a  friend’s or relative’s home, or at a UB student’s apartment. 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.

Please make temporary housing arrangements prior to your arrival in Buffalo. We do not recommend arriving on campus with lots of luggage and no place to spend the night, as it is very difficult to find permanent housing in one day.

Where can I get answers to other questions international students frequently ask?