Traveling to the U.S. & WPI

In preparing for your trip, we recommend you contact your local Institute of International Education Office for any pre-arrival information they might have.

It is also advisable to learn more about the area you will soon be traveling to. Visit the City of Worcester page for information on the local Worcester community as well as additional links to community websites.

The climate at WPI varies throughout the year. Summers are often warm and humid, with average temperatures ranging from 60°F (15°C) to 70° (21°C) in June, July, and August. Spring (April through June) and fall (September through November) are very enjoyable, particularly in the fall when the tree leaves change color. For some, the winter months are more challenging. Worcester will often have snow during the months of December, January, and February with average temperatures between 20°F (-6°C) and 30°F (-1°C). It is best to bring or budget for clothes that will make you most comfortable in these various types of weather. If you are arriving in summer or early fall you can buy winter clothes when you arrive, but if you are arriving in winter you should make arrangements to have warmer clothes (coat, scarf, hat, gloves, boots, sweaters) for when you arrive.

Prior to Your Arrival in the U.S.

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.

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.

For more information on arrival procedures in the U.S., visit the EducationUSA website.

Arriving in the U.S.

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 will be administered by the Office of Biometric Identity Management, a division of the Department of Homeland Security. We recommend you look at the website to familiarize yourself with the process and the purpose of the procedure before you leave for the U.S. After passing immigration inspection, you will collect your luggage and show it to the Customs official. Finally, you will exit into the arrivals hall, and you have officially entered the U.S.

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. You may want to bring some U.S. dollars with you, in case you arrive late at night.
  • Recheck your luggage: If your onward travel is by plane, you will clear immigration and customs at your first port of entry in the U.S., 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.
  • Locate the Ground Transportation Desk if you need to go into the city to catch a bus or train or to stay overnight. 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.
  • Ask for suggestions on where to stay overnight if necessary. 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 carefully. 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. The trip takes about five hours and costs approximately $42.00 one-way. There is also a shuttle bus that can take you from JFK Airport to the Port Authority Bus Station.

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

Arrival in Boston

If you are arriving in Boston at 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 subway (called the "T") and the commuter rail, which can take you to Worcester. Upon arrival at Union Station in Worcester, we suggest you take a taxi to the WPI campus.

You can also arrange for transportation from the airport directly to WPI. For more details, contact Knights Limousine Service .

You can also download directions if you’re planning on arriving at WPI by car.

Always hand-carry your documents!

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 U.S. Do not check the following documents in your baggage:

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