When You Arrive

Review helpful tips and important resources to make your arrival in the U.S. and Buffalo as smooth as possible.

On this page:

Post-Arrival Tasks

ISS has complied a list of common tasks that international students should address after arriving. 

When Should I Arrive?

  • Information on Fall 2023 arrival dates coming soon...
Arriving Late

Learn about what to do if, due to circumstances beyond your control, you can't arrive in Buffalo by the first day of class.

If you do arrive late, you still must complete your entire  International Student Check-in.

Arrival Process

Preparing Immigration Documents

You will need to carry the documents listed 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

Traveling with Dependents

If your dependents will accompany you to the U.S., we recommend that they carry the following documents (in addition to their immigration 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 arriving 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 that services the Western New York community.
  • If using cash, 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, as the currency exchange facilities in the airport may be limited.

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. 

  • 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, North Campus” as your destination for ride sharing. (A credit card is required to use these ride sharing apps).
  • For directions to UB by car, bus or train, visit UB’s comprehensive direction site.

Once you arrive in Buffalo you should complete your Post-arrival Task List and any remaining tasks in your Pre-arrival Task List

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, 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.

Partner Hotels

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. 

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.

Grocery 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 

Restaurant Delivery

  • 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.