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:

Arrival Process

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.
  • Finally, once admitted to the U.S., you will be issued an I-94. Paper I-94 cards are only issued at land borders (U.S. Canadian Border or U.S. Mexican Border). If you make your initial entry to the U.S. from a land border, 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 arrive in the U.S. by plane, your I-94 will be electronic. To view and print your electronic I-94, visit https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home.

If you receive a paper 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).

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.

Buffalo Niagara International Airport Information

  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport is a medium-sized airport and has been recognized as the number one medium-sized airport in the U.S.
  • 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.

Getting to UB

To get to UB or your temporary housing from the airport you can hire a taxi or request a ride via Uber or Lyft. 

  • 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).
  • Uber and Lyft are available in Buffalo. To get to North Campus, use “University at Buffalo” as your destination for ride sharing. 
  • For directions to UB by car, bus or train, visit UB’s comprehensive direction site.

Once you arrive in Buffalo you should:

Addressing Basic Needs

Temporary Housing

If you are living on campus and have made arrangements for early arrival, please refer to the UB Campus Living website for information about check-in days and times.

Otherwise, you can stay in a hotel, or at a friend’s or relative’s home.

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.

Food, Shopping, and Restaurants

Here's a list of popular food stores for international students:

Places to shop for Other Needs

There are plenty of shopping options near campus if you're looking for clothing, bedding (sheets, blankets, pillows), toiletries, cleaning supplies, and more.

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