Planning for U.S. Arrival

F-1 or J-1 international students are required to arrive at Washington University by the form I-20 or DS-2019 start date. This will allow you to participate in the mandatory new international student orientation programs.

PLEASE NOTE: You may not enter the United States more than 30 days in advance of the I-20 or DS-2019 start date.

Visa/Immigration Procedures

Once you receive your I-20 or DS-2019, learn about the student visa application process and about obtaining a visa.

COVID-19 Departure Procedures

The U.S. Department of State manages current travel restrictions. Due to the unpredictability of COVID-19, we suggest all incoming students monitor this website prior to their arrival to the U.S.

In addition, the Department of State provides COVID-19 related travel information and updates. Please visit this site as well to learn about any new COVID-19 updates that may impact your travel to and from the United States.

Port of Entry Requirements

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) no longer requires international nonimmigrant visitors to fill out a paper form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record upon arrival to the U.S. by air or sea. CBP now gathers travelers’ arrival/departure information automatically from their electronic travel records.

Your immigration details, such as your admission status (e.g., F-1, J-1), date of entry and status end date will be stamped directly into your passport. Your arrival/departure information will also be recorded electronically by CBP. You can access your CBP arrival/departure record information online on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. It is important to print this information after arrival, as you will need it to verify immigration status and/or employment authorization.

Please note: CBP will still issue a paper form I-94 at land border ports of entry (i.e., Canada and Mexico). The Office for International Students and Scholars encourages you to ask for an I-94 when you are enter the U.S. from Canada or Mexico, if you don’t automatically receive one.

Documents you should carry on your person:

  • Valid passport (including attached envelope of immigration documents provided by Embassy or Consulate) with F-1 or J-1 entry visa stamp
  • SEVIS Form I-20, or DS-2019
  • Receipt Notice or Internet Receipt verifying SEVIS fee payment
  • Evidence of financial resources
  • Name and contact information for Designated School Official (DSO) or Responsible Office (RO) at your intended school or program

Upon arrival at the port of entry, proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers to begin inspection. As you approach the inspection station, ensure that you have: passport, SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019 and SEVIS fee receipt for presentation to the CBP officer.

Like all entering visitors, you will be asked to state the reason you wish to enter the United States. You will also be asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important that you tell the CBP officer that you will be a student. Be prepared to include the name and address of the school where you will enroll.

Once your inspection is complete, the inspecting officer will:

  • Stamp your passport with your immigration details (admission status, date of entry and status end date).
  • Return the I-20 or DS-2019 and passport to you.

For more information on entering the United States, please visit the Customs and Border Protection website.

Housing – New Undergraduate Students

If you are living on the South 40, please check in at the Residential Life Office on Shepley Drive in the South Forty House, the building on the right, across from the Clocktower plaza. The Residential Life staff will give you your room key. They will also direct you to your building and let you know the best place to park for unloading your vehicle.

If you are living in The Village, Millbrook apartments, Village East, House 1, House 6 or Greenway, Rosedale, Waterman Court, University Terrace, University Drive apartments please check in with The Village staff. You should enter campus on Snow Way Drive. The Village staff will give you your room key. They will also direct you to your building and let you know the best place to park for unloading your vehicle.

Housing – New Graduate Students

New Graduate Students

For information on locating off-campus housing, visit our housing page, which includes information about finding WashU-owned and non-WashU-owned apartments, rental housing scams, as well as temporary on-campus Transition Housing for international graduate students in June, July, and early August.

Getting to WashU from the St. Louis-Lambert International Airport

Transportation from the St. Louis-Lambert Airport

Information Booth at the Airport: You can visit the St. Louis-Lambert Airport’s main Information Booth, located in the Terminal 1 Baggage Claim area between carousels 4 and 5, for assistance with questions regarding baggage claim locations, ticket counters, meeting areas, ground transportation, directions, hotel shuttle services, etc. Terminal 2 passengers can contact the Information Booth by cell phone, or via courtesy phones which are located by Gate E10 and in the lower-level across from the Southwest Airlines Baggage Office.

Taxi: Taxis are available 24 hours a day and can be picked up directly at both terminals. The cost from the airport to WashU is about $30-40 USD for most neighborhoods close to campus, plus a 15-20% tip.

Go Best Express Shuttle: Go Best offers a shuttle that services most hotels as well as both the Danforth Campus and Medical School. Discounts are offered to the Washington University community using the online reservation system.

In addition to bringing you to the WashU campus, Go Best Express Shuttle will take you from the airport to several hotels and service areas.

Hotel Shuttle Service: Many of the hotels near St. Louis-Lambert International Airport offer shuttle service to and from the airport at a free or discounted rate for guests of their hotels. We recommend that you inquire directly with the hotel you are booking about this service.

Ride Sharing Apps: The Uber and Lyft mobile apps allows consumers with smartphones to submit a trip request which is then routed to drivers who use their own cars to transport the consumer to their destination. You must download the Uber or Lyft app and create an account in order to use the service. For more information, visit their websites: Uber in Saint Louis and Lyft in Saint Louis

MetroLink: The MetroLink light rail system has two stations on the Danforth Campus including the Skinker and Big Bend Stations. The Medical School Campus is located within walking distance of the Central West End Station. For fares and departure information, go to: Metro

If you are traveling to either campus for the first time, maps of both the Danforth and Medical School campuses are available to assist you.

Health Insurance

All F and J students at WashU are required to purchase the WashU health insurance plan. Information about this plan and healthcare in the U.S. can be found on the Healthcare & Insurance page.