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!
ISS has complied a list of common tasks that international students should address after arriving.
When Should I Arrive?
You may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the start date listed on your I-20/DS-2019.
Orientation begins Monday, August 23, 2021 and classes begin on Monday, August 30, 2021. Arriving by Sunday, August 22, 2021 will allow to you participate and engage in International Orientation programs and events both virtual and in-person events. Please make travel plans that will allow you to arrive at UB by August 22, 2021.
We are aware that travel issues and visa appointment delays may arise that are outside your control. Please review the information below if you will arrive in the U.S. after August 30, 2021.
- Undergraduate students who will start their first semester at UB during the Fall 2021 semester must contact International Admissions (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request late arrival permission if they will arrive after August 30, 2021.
- Undergraduate students who began their academic programs remotely and will being coming to UB campus for the first time this Fall 2021, and any other undergraduate students who will be entering the U.S. with an “Initial” I-20 to return to campus for the Fall 2021 semester, need to contact ISS (email@example.com) to request late arrival permission if they will arrive after August 30, 2021.
- Graduate students who will start their first semester at UB during the Fall 2021 semester must contact their academic department to request late arrival permission if they will arrive after August 30, 2021.
- Graduate students who began their academic programs remotely and will being coming to UB campus for the first time this Fall 2021, and any other graduate students who will be entering the U.S. with an “Initial” I-20 to return to campus for the Fall 2021 semester, need to contact ISS (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request late arrival permission if they will arrive after August 30, 2021.
We do not recommend arriving late to UB, however, sometimes situations occur where students are delayed in coming to Buffalo. If you do arrive late into Buffalo, you will still need to complete your ISS Check-in.
Preparing Immigration Documents
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.
- U.S. Visa Stamp
- I-20 or DS-2019
- Proof of SEVIS Fee payment
- Financial Documents
Traveling with Dependents
If your dependents accompany you traveling to the U.S. we recommend that your dependents bring the following documents:
- Marriage certificate (for spouse)
- Birth certificate(s) (for children)
- Health and immunization records
Going Through Customs
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:
Arriving to UB During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Social Distancing & Quarantine Planning
Students coming to campus should understand and follow both local town and UB campus guidelines for quarantining, social distancing, vaccination requirements, etc.
UB guidelines and information on these policies is available on UB's COVID informational pages.
Addressing Basic Needs
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, 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.
Student Life partners with local hospitality companies to offer both convenience and value to guests visiting UB. If you're looking to stay at a local hotel be sure to check out these options.
Food, Shopping, and Restaurants
If you're on campus before the start of the semester some campus dining locations may not be open yet.
Here's a list of nearby stores popular with international students:
Food and Grocery Delivery Services
If you are living off-campus and you need access to grocery or prepared foods delivery, the following apps will connect you to resources that provide delivery services.
- Instacart - Buy food from your favorite grocery stores with contactless delivery and pickup
- Wegmans Meals 2GO - Order delicious restaurant food and catering for delivery, curbside, or carryout from this popular grocery store chain.
- 675 Alberta Dr, Amherst, NY 14226 is the store location that is the closest to both North campus and South campus
- Appétit- This new and user-friendly app created by Buffalo locals is dedicated to social responsibility. Unlike other food-delivery apps, this one prioritizes local business and provides detail-rich recommendations. Check out their website by clicking here.
- Uber Eats- American online food ordering and delivery platform
- Door Dash- Restaurant delivery service with a wide range of culinary options
- Grubhub- Offers delivery and pick-up choices from various local eateries
All of these apps are available on Google Play and the App Store. They are free to download.
Places to shop for Other Needs
There are plenty of shopping options near campus if you're looking for clothing, bedding, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and more.