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. Review the list of "Preclearance Locations" before you travel.
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 checked 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.
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.
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 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 an overview on being an international student studying in the U.S. please review the Department of Homeland Security’s "Guide to Studying in the States".
Make sure you enter the U.S. before your arrival 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.
If you are a new KU international student, limited free shuttle transportation is often available through a Lawrence church based community organization.
NOTE: This option is not available for Fall 2018 anymore because all available spots have been taken.
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 one month before a fall or spring orientation begins.
*Subject to change each semester
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.
Please note - For any of these services, it is customary to tip the driver 15% of the charge.
Transportation in Lawrence
Public transportation in Lawrence and its surrounding areas may not be as comprehensive as you are used to in your home country. However, Lawrence does offer options for you. For information about how to get around in Lawrence, please review the options below.
The Lawrence and KU campus bus service is an integrated system of buses. All buses (with the exception of the K-10 Connector) are free to ride if you show your KU ID card, which you will receive at orientation registration. If you do not have your KU ID card, there is a small fee to ride the bus. Buses run Monday through Saturday, with reduced schedules on Saturdays and when classes are not in session. You may also hear the city bus service referred to as “the T”.
SafeRide and SafeBus, operated by KU Parking & Transit, also offer safe transportation options for students at night. SafeRide operates during the fall, spring, and summer semesters and SafeBus operates during the fall and spring semesters. For more information and for schedules, please visit their website.
GTS (Ground Transportation Services)
Recently, Uber has become a popular alternative to taxis. Instead of taxi cabs, Uber drivers go through an application process and background check to offer taxi-like services in their own cars. Prices vary depending on demand, but Uber is generally a cheaper option than taxis and tips are not currently expected.
Parking on Campus
For information on parking and parking permits, please refer to KU’s Parking & Transit website.
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 below. 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.
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.
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.