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Arrival and Getting to SCU

Preparing for Arrival in the U.S.

Once you have received your official immigration document I-20 (F-1 Student) or DS-2019 (Exchange Visitor) and secured your Visa Stamp, you are ready to plan your arrival in the U.S. Please keep these guidelines in mind when planning your travel:

  • You are eligible to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date on the -20 (F-1 Student) or DS-2019 (Exchange Visitor).
  • You must enter the U.S. no later than the day before your International Student Welcome (ISW) so that you are able to complete immigration check-in.
  • Any F-2 or J-2 dependent family members will need to enter with you or after you have already arrived.

Before You Leave for the U.S.

The following items should be in your carry-on luggage and should not be checked with the airline:

  • Original Passport
  • Original I-20 (F-1 Student) or DS-2019 (Exchange Visitor)
  • Proof of Admission to SCU
  • Proof of funding for your time at SCU
  • Prescriptions for any medications that you are bringing to the U.S.
  • Cash for food, transportation, and other expenses
  • Phone charger or battery pack (with converters for U.S. electrical outlets)
  • Written emergency contact information for your family and someone in the U.S. 
  • Written transportation plan for getting from your airport to SCU

On the day of your entry into the U.S.

At the U.S. Port of Entry (either an airport or land entry) you must go through immigration inspection with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent. During this process you will be asked to present your immigration documents (including valid passport with the valid F-1 visa stamp as well as your Original I-20) and answer questions.

It is a good idea to carry any supporting documents showing the funding for your time in the U.S. and to be prepared to answer questions about SCU (our location, your planned course of study and your academic program) as well as questions about where you will stay and how you will pay for your studies.

Once you've completed the immigration process, your passport will be stamped with an admission date, class and duration.

Before you leave the immigration check point, make sure that the CBP Officer returns your original documents including your I-20 and your passport.

Once you have left the immigration check-point you should always confirm that you were admitted properly by downloading your Electronic Admission Record or I-94.

Getting to SCU

The Santa Clara transit station is conveniently located directly across from campus.  The transit station is served by Cal Train, Amtrak, and other transportation providers. There is a free shuttle from the San Jose Airport (SJC) to the Santa Clara transit station.

Air Transportation to the U.S.

Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)

From the San Jose airport (SJC), you can take the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority’s (VTA) free shuttle service to the Santa Clara station, just across the street from campus. The shuttle stops every 15 minutes and makes a continuous loop between the Airport (both terminal A and B), the Metro Light Rail station and the Santa Clara station.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Santa Clara University can be reached in about 90 minutes from SFO using a combination of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Caltrain. More information including rates, route planning and timetables can be found on their websites.

Oakland International Airport (OAK)

You can reach Santa Clara University from Oakland International Airport in approximately 2 and a half hours using a combination of buses and trains. Rates, route planners and timetables can be found on their respective websites:

Ground Transportation in the Bay Area

Super Shuttle is a private shuttle service that will take passengers to and from the Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose airports to points throughout the Bay Area for a fee. You can find more information and get a rate quote here.

Private Taxi: You can also choose to take a private taxi from the airport to your final destination. There are dozens of licensed taxi cab companies who serve the entire bay area. Prices from SFO or OAK to Santa Clara should range from $120 - $170. From SJC to Santa Clara should cost anywhere from $15 - $30 depending on your destination and the company.

Ride-share Apps: You can choose to download and use a ride-share app on your phone to arrange transportation. Popular apps include: Lyft and Uber.

US immigration regulations are complex and change frequently.  The University strives to maintain a website that is both current and helpful, however, Santa Clara University is not responsible for students maintaining lawful immigration status; this is the responsibility of the student.  Further, resources and links do not constitute endorsement by Santa Clara University.