When to Arrive

Look carefully at the dates of Orientation and International Check-In because attendance is mandatory. Review important arrival dates and make your travel plans accordingly.

Initial F-1 and J-1 students may enter the country no more than 30 days before the program start date listed on their I-20 or DS-2019. This date is the same as the first day of classes. You are responsible for arranging accommodations if you arrive in Austin prior to the official Residence Hall move-in dates. **LINK***


You will be given a Customs Declaration Form while on the plane en route to the U.S. Complete this form before landing. Once you exit the plane, proceed to the immigration line. An immigration officer will request to view the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-20
  • Customs Declaration Form

All entering visitors are asked to state the reason they want to enter the U.S. They will ask you to provide them information about your final destination. Tell the immigration officer that you will be a student at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. In addition, they may ask you other questions such as how long you plan on studying English, and how long you plan to stay in United States. Answer all questions honestly and confidently.

The officer will then:

  • Take your digital fingerprints
  • Take a digital photo
  • Stamp your passport with the date of your arrival, end date of stay, your visa class
  • Create a digital I-94 Record
*** I-94 Entry & Departure Records ***


After immigration, follow the signs to Baggage Claim. Go to the correct baggage claim carousel and claim your checked baggage. After you have picked up all of your bags, proceed to the customs lines. Make sure to have your completed Customs Declaration Form that you received on the plane. On your form, you stated whether or not you had any items to declare. If you responded no, proceed to the green lanes marked “Nothing to Declare.” If you do have items to declare, proceed to the red lanes marked “Goods to Declare.”  It is not unusual for customs agents to randomly search baggage. Don’t be alarmed if you are stopped. The process generally takes only a few minutes.

After the customs officer indicates that you may continue, either follow the signs to the Connecting Flights/Connecting Baggage Drop-off Area or, if you have reached your final destination, follow the exit and ground transportation signs.

Transportation to your Hotel/Apartment

Once you arrive in Austin, you have the following options to get to campus or your apartment/hotel:

  • Arrange airport pick-up for a fee through our partner Simply International
  • Super Shuttle: You must make reservations online prior to arrival.
  • Download the Fasten App (a rideshare company like Uber) on the App Store or Google Play
  • Taxi: Taxi cabs like Yellow Cab queue directly outside the baggage claim exit doors.