Arriving to the U.S.
Put your preparation into action!
- Do not attempt to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the program start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019 form. You may be refused entry!
- Keep in mind that sometimes luggage is temporarily misplaced. In order to avoid considerable problems if this happens to you, we recommend packing items you need for 2-3 days in your carry-on luggage (extra clothes, money, prescription medication, eyeglasses, contact lenses, personal toiletry items, etc.)
- Check this list of prohibited and restricted items to bring to U.S.
- Check this list of prohibited items to bring into an airplane.
Hand carry the following items
- Passport (needs to be valid for at least six month beyond the date of your expected stay). If your country is listed on this list, your passport will be valid until the date of expiration.
- SEVIS Form I-20/ DS-2019. For new students, U.S. Consular Officer may put your I-20/DS-2019 in a sealed envelope, sometimes attached to your passport—Do NOT open the envelope! The CBP officer at the U.S. port of entry will open it.
- Address of where you live in the U.S. (on-campus room assignment info or off-campus address)
- Contact information of our office:
Heather Jacobson, Coordinator of ISS, PDSO/ARO
Pacific Lutheran University
Office Hours: Monday- Friday, 8:00AM-5:00PM (PST)
For emergencies, contact Campus Safety at 253-535-7441. The office is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- In addition, it is strongly recommended that you hand carry the following documents:
- Evidence of financial resources.
- Evidence of student status, such as recent tuition receipts, transcripts, letter of acceptance and class schedule.
- Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797.
What to expect at the Airport
- Have the following documents available for presentation: a valid passport, a valid student visa, a valid SEVIS Form I-20/DS-2019 or DS, Customs Declaration Form CF-6059 and other recommended documents.
- When you arrive you will proceed to the customs/inspection area. Inform the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer that you are a new or returning student in the United States.
- The CBP officer will process your I-20/DS-2019 form and return it to you, take a digital photo and your fingerprints.
- Pick up your baggage at the baggage claim carousel.
- Proceed through CBP checkpoint and show your Customs Declaration Form (CF-6059) to the CBP officer (your baggage may be examined).
- If your first entry to the U.S. is at Sea-Tac International Airport, you may need to drop off your baggage once after inspection, take a shuttle train to the Main Terminal Baggage Claim area, and pick your luggage up again there before leaving the airport.
PLU operated airport pick-up is available on move-in day. To learn more, please visit the Airport Pick Up page.
If you would like to arrange your own airport pick-up, we recommend services by Capital Aeroporter.
When you go to book a ride on the Capital Aeroporter website, make sure that you are reserving one-way transportation from Sea-Tac Airport. For your drop-off location, ignore the “City” drop-down menu and click on the second menu (School/University), selecting the option that says “PLU (Harstad Hall).” This way the shuttle will drop you off in front of Harstad Hall where Campus Safety is located.
Capital Aeroporter’s shuttle leaves from the far end of the terminal building (arrival floor) near the baggage claim table #1. There are several desks for different shuttle companies. You should see the sign for “Capital Aeroporter” and their desk is the one closest to the terminal entrance door. A person who works at the desk is not always there but he/she will always come out 5-10 minutes before the departure time of each shuttle. Just show them your reservation confirmation and they will take care of you. There are a lot of students who take this shuttle so they know what to do even if you don’t explain details. You can just say you are going to PLU (though a driver knows already from your reservation). If you are late for your reservation, they will just put you on the next shuttle available with no additional fee so there is no need to panic.
Be sure to be dropped off in front of “Harstad Residence Hall” where Campus Safety Office is located. If you have on-campus housing assignment, an International Peer Advisor will meet you at Campus Safety and can take you to your residence hall room. Please do NOT go to the assigned building directly.
Lodging for Family and Friends
Take a look at this list of recommended local lodging by Office of Admission.