Preparing for Your Arrival

Important Arrival Tips

International students are advised to review the guidance below when traveling to the United States. 

  • International students must not arrive to the United States more than 30 days prior to the start date set on their I-20.
  • International students’ arrival must fall within the effective and valid dates indicated on their visa stamp.

  • International students must arrive in time to participate in their required orientations.

  • International students must go through immigration and customs at their first port of entry in the United States, and this may be time-consuming. For this reason, students are advised to allow 3-4 hours between connecting flights if they have not scheduled a direct flight to Tampa.

Checking into on- and off-campus housing

USF offices are open Monday through Friday and normal business hours are traditionally 8am-5pm (Eastern Standard Timezone; EST).

Students traveling to USF on the weekend (Saturday or Sunday) or after 5pm on a weekday will need to make prior arrangements because they may not be able to move into their on-campus housing accommodations. 

Off-campus apartments may also have specific days and times in which students can move into their accommodations. For this reason, students are encouraged to learn the hours of operations of their off-campus apartments before arriving to Tampa, St. Petersburg, or Sarasota-Manatee. 

For Students Arriving to USF on the Weekends and/or After-Hours

Many students make hotel reservations in advance when traveling to Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota-Manatee on the weekends or after-hours. Some students also choose to stay with friends or family members located in or near a USF campus.