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6. Arrive

Entering the U.S.

When you first enter the U.S., you will immediately go through an immigration and customs inspection with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). You will only go through the inspection process at the airport where you first enter the U.S. Make sure you allow 2 to 4 hours to complete the inspection process.

There are some airports outside the U.S. where you may go through this inspections process prior to your departure. These “Preclearance Locations” can be found here: https://www.cbp.gov/border-security/ports-entry/operations/preclearance.

Documents to Present at the U.S. Port of Entry

When you enter the U.S. you must bring all of your immigration documents with you, and keep them with you at all times when you travel. Do not put your immigration documents in your luggage! You will be required to go through the inspection before you will be allowed to collect your luggage.

Carry the following documents with you to present to CBP:

  • Passport (with at least 6 months of future validity)
  • I-20 for F students, or DS-2019 for J students
  • Valid visa
  • SEVIS fee receipt (for F-1 and J-1 students)
  • Proof of finances for your study in the U.S., including for the support of dependents who accompany you
  • Letter of admission to the University of Kansas

The CBP officer will examine all of your documents, and may ask you several questions about why you are traveling to the U.S. and how you plan to finance your stay. Politely and honestly answer the CBP officer’s questions. The CBP officer will then decide if you will be admitted to the United States.

Secondary Inspection

You may be sent to another area for a second inspection with a CBP officer. The CBP officer’s decision to send a person to secondary inspection is sometimes random, or it may be because they decided they needed more time to look at your documents and perform additional inspections. It is important to remain calm and polite during the inspection process. 

Admission to the U.S. and your I-94

Once the CBP officer has made the decision to admit you to the U.S., you will be photographed, fingerprinted and an admission stamp will be put in your passport. The stamp will indicate the status you are being given (F-1, J-1 etc). Your arrival will be registered electronically. Afterwards you can log into the CBP website at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov to view and print a copy of your I-94, a document that verifies your legal entry.

When you leave the inspection area, make sure you do not leave any of your documents behind! Once you have finished the inspection process, you will be able to claim your luggage and continue on your way.

For more information about Port of Entry, immigration status and what you can bring into the U.S., visit https://www.cbp.gov/travel and https://www.ice.gov/sevis/students

Make sure you enter the U.S. before your program start date!

Transportation from the Airport to Lawrence

If you are flying in, you will need to connect into Kansas City International Airport (Airport Code=MCI). The ride from the airport to Lawrence is approximately one hour. We encourage you to carefully view the choices below for reserving a ride to Lawrence before you arrive in Kansas City.

Limited Free Shuttle (Fall or Spring Orientations Only)

If you are a new KU international student for a fall or spring semester, limited free shuttle transportation is available through a Lawrence church based community organization. Please email bwhit356@gmail.com with the following information:

  • Name
  • Gender
  • E-mail address
  • Flight number
  • Arrival date and time to Kansas City

The shuttle coordinator will be in contact with you to confirm your pick-up shortly after you e-mail.

Arranged KU Shuttle (Fall or Spring Orientations Only)

Depending on demand there may be an airport shuttle coordinated through KU for a $65 fee*. This shuttle runs only on the program start date for a fall or spring orientation. If available, information will be provided in an email about a month before a fall or spring orientation begins.

*Subject to change each semester

Other Options

You can make your own reservations with a commercial shuttle, a taxi, or a car rental company for transportation from the airport to Lawrence. Below is information about various companies currently connecting from the Kansas City airport to Lawrence:


  • Flat Rate 
    • Flat rate means that this is the total cost of the shuttle reservation, regardless of whether or not it is used by only one passenger or more than one passenger.
  • Shared Ride
    • Shared ride means that you pay the specified amount to reserve your space in a shuttle that may also be providing transportation to other individuals.
Better Alternative Transportation Services (BATS)
They recommend reservations made within 24 hours of your trip by email (reservations@kcibats.com). If less than 24 hours, you can give them a call at 913-634-5484 to check availability. Visit here for more information.
Ground Transportation Services. (GTS)
For more information and the shuttle schedule, visit the Ground Transportation Services Website or call 1-888-467-3729.
5 Guys Transportation
For more information, call the office at 816-891-9999 or go to the 5 Guys Transportation Website to book your ride.
Super Shuttle
For more information, go to the Super Shuttle Website, email reservations@supershuttle.net, or call 1-800-BLUEVAN (1-800-258-3826) toll-free from within the U.S.
SDM Transportation
Please call 785-979-2428 and leave a message for a reservation or email reservation@sdmtransportationks.com.
Taxi Service
Taxis are available through various taxi service telephones located at the baggage claim areas in each terminal and outside the terminal exits. Taxi service from the airport is very expensive, but it may be possible to share the ride with other people to reduce the cost. Before entering a taxi, establish the estimated cost with the driver.    
Rental Car
There is typically a minimum age requirement of at least 21 to rent a car (with a younger driver surcharge up to age 25), and drivers must have a license that will allow them to drive legally in the U.S. If you would like to rent a car, please see the car rental link on the Kansas City International Airport webpage for options. Many companies require that the car be returned to their originating rental facility, so please be aware of this if you decide to rent one.
Student Organizations
You may arrange for personal transportation from the airport through a friend or a relative. Some of the campus student nationality organizations also assist students from their representative countries. Please take a look at the list of campus student organizations.

Please note - For any of these services, it is customary to tip the driver 15% of the charge.

What is an I-94?

Your I-94 tracks your arrival and departures from the U.S. It also says what status you were admitted to and how long you're able to stay.

Note: Your I-94 becomes available AFTER you enter the U.S.

How do I find my I-94?

Once you arrive in the U.S. your I-94 document will be available on the government website. Please print the document once you arrive in the U.S. Legally, you are required to carry your I-94 with you at all-times. Upon arrival, you may visit the following website to retrieve your I-94.

You will get a NEW I-94 with a NEW admission number every time you enter the U.S. You should have the letters "D/S" on your I-94, which means that you are admitted to the U.S. for the "Duration of Status", or for as long as your are maintaining status - this is typically the time that it takes for you to complete your degree/program.

Find Your I-94 Record
Note: Your I-94 becomes available AFTER you enter the U.S.

After you have entered the U.S., retrieve your I-94 record, and upload it to iHawk on the "ISS Check-in" tab.

Arrival Timeline



Immigration Documents






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