Arriving in the United States

It is important to think about arrival procedure at your port of entry before you leave home. On the day of your arrival, you will probably be tired after a long flight and it may be your first day in an English speaking country.

Prior to Your Arrival in the US

Always hand-carry your documents: Do not check the following documents in your baggage. If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will be unable to present the documents at your port of entry and as a result you may not be able to enter the United States.

  • Your passport
  • SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019

It is also strongly recommended that you hand-carry the following documentation

  • Evidence of financial resources
  • Evidence of student status, such as your admission letter
  • Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee (Form I-797)
  • Name and contact information for your "Designated School Official," including a 24-hour contact number at the school

For further information on arrival procedures in the US visit the EducationUSA website.

If arriving by air your flight attendant will distribute Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059) and Arrival Departure Record Forms (I-94). These must be completed prior to landing. If arriving by land or by sea a Customs and Border Patrol Officer at the port of entry will distribute these forms to be filled out before entry.

What Happens on Arrival

You will present your documentation to the Department of Homeland Security Official and you will be photographed and electronically fingerprinted. This process is known as taking your biometrics and it is administered by the Office of Biometric Identity Management a division of the Department of Homeland Security, which includes fingerprinting and a digital photo. We recommend you look at the website to familiarize yourself with the process and the purpose before you leave for the United States. After passing immigration inspection you will collect your luggage and you will show your luggage to the Customs official. Finally you will exit into the arrivals hall, and now you are on your own in the United States!

 What to Do After Customs 

  • Change money - You will need some money for telephone calls, transportation, food, etc. There should be a bank in the airport. Or, you may want to bring some US dollars with you, in case you arrive late at night.
  • If your onward travel is by plane, you will clear immigration and customs at your first port of entry in the US. You will then recheck your luggage to your final destination. Some airports have a luggage transfer counter; others will ask you to take it to the new airline counter to check in.
  • If you need to go into the city to catch a bus or train or to stay overnight, locate the Ground Transportation Desk. Tell the attendant where you want to go; you will be told which companies operate on that route and their costs. A city bus may be cheaper than a taxi. It is important to be sure that you use licensed taxis; the unlicensed one might cheat you.
  • If you need to stay somewhere overnight, ask for suggestions in your price range. The YMCA offers budget accommodations.

Who Can Help

Americans are used to being asked for help. Don't be afraid to ask, but you should choose the person(s) you ask. The person(s) best able to help you are:

  • Travelers Aid Desk - Most airports have a Travelers Aid desk, which is staffed by volunteers who are ready to help travelers.
  • Information or Ground Transportation Desk
  • Officials in uniform, such as airline personnel and airport police

Arrival in New York

You can take a bus from New York City to Worcester. There are two bus companies (Greyhound Bus or Peter Pan Bus Company) that offer service from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, on 42nd Street and 8th Avenue in New York to Worcester, MA. There is a shuttle bus that can take you from JFK Airport to the Port Authority Bus Station. The trip takes about five hours and costs approximately $42.00 one-way.

Upon arrival at the Worcester Bus Terminal, we suggest you take a taxi to the WPI campus. Taxi services are available from Red Cab or Yellow Cab of Worcester at a cost of approximately $8.00.

Arrival in Boston

If you are arriving in Boston at the Logan Airport there are a few websites that will help you  navigate the city and get to Worcester. The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) has an interactive website with maps and schedules for the metro (called the "T") and the train which can take you to Worcester. Upon arrival at the Worcester train station we suggestion you take a taxi to the WPI campus. See information above.

You can also arrange transportation from the airport directly to WPI. For more details you can contact Knights Limousine Service or Worcester Airport Limousine.

See Directions for travelers arriving at WPI by car.

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