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​Moving to the United States

We look forward to welcoming you to campus and helping you become comfortable in your new community.

The Center for International Services is dedicated to the success of all international students at Syracuse University. The Center’s multicultural, multilingual staff have assisted thousands of students from around the world, and are ready to help you with travel procedures, immigration documents, living arrangements, and more. Please check the Center's website  before leaving for Syracuse to ensure you're making necessary preparations.

Immigration Regulations

Strict U.S. government rules and regulations will apply to you during your stay in the United States. It is your responsibility to learn and comply with the regulations, but we're here to guide you throughout your time at Syracuse University.

If you've been accepted by more than one American university and receive a Form I-20 or DS-2019 from each of them, you must apply for your visa using the form issued by the university that you plan to attend. You must enter the United States using that same form.

Information is included with your Syracuse University admission packet referring to the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee payments made by F-1 and J-1 students. If you're transferring from another U.S. school, and your SEVIS record is transferred to Syracuse University, you do not have to pay the fee . If this is your first entry into the U.S. as an F-1 or J-1 student or if your SEVIS record is not transferred, then you must pay the fee prior to your visa interview.

SEVIS Transfer

You must follow  SEVIS transfer procedures  if you are currently studying in the United States in F-1 or J-1 student status and want to have your SEVIS record transferred from your current school to Syracuse University. After you submit the SU  Transfer-In Form to the Center, a transfer I-20 or DS-2019 form will be prepared for you based on the transfer release date you provide on the form. If you plan to travel outside the U.S. before coming to Syracuse University, the SEVIS transfer process must be started before you leave the U.S.

When You Arrive

When making your travel arrangements for Syracuse, be aware that you may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before the program start date noted in page one of your I-20 form or item 3 of your DS-2019 form.

If you arrive in Syracuse by plane, train, or bus, taxi service is available from the Syracuse Hancock International Airport or from the William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center (train and bus terminal) to the University. Taxi service costs approximately $30.

Check-in at the Center for International Services after you arrive in Syracuse. The Center is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., during the academic year. During the summer, the Center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The office is also open the weekend before classes begin.

International students who have registered for the  International Student Orientation before arriving in Syracuse are automatically registered for early move-in to their residence halls. You may be required to pay a daily fee if you move in to your residence hall early.


U.S. Immigration regulations restrict employment opportunities for international students. Most F-1 and many J-1 students are allowed to work on the Syracuse University campus, but employment is limited to 20 hours a week during the academic year and only a limited number of positions are available each semester. 

After you've been in the United States for one academic year (August-May), you may be eligible to apply for permission to work in your field of study.  Curricular Practical Training Optional Practical Training , and  Academic Training  provide authorization for F-1 and J-1 students to work for a U.S. employer. However, there are restrictions on this type of work permission and you should not assume that you qualify automatically.

University Vacations

Residence halls are closed during winter break (from mid-December to mid-January) and summer break (the last two weeks of August). If you're staying in the area during these times, you must make arrangements for a place to stay.

Temperature and Clothing

Our climate varies greatly during the year. During the summer, temperatures may go as high as 35 degrees Celsius (with humidity). During the winter, there's a lot of snow and temperatures average about –14 degrees Celsius. When the wind blows, it can feel much colder.

Students generally dress casually and for comfort. Depending on the weather, they usually wear jeans, shorts, T-shirts, sweaters, and sweatshirts. Every student should have a heavy coat, snow boots, a hat, and warm gloves for the winter.

In general, American students dress very informally, although there are occasions when you need to look more formal. You may want to bring a professional outfit to wear for an interview, presentation, or other special occasion.

Religious Programs

Hendricks Chapel  is the center of spiritual and religious life at the University. It is an interfaith chapel that hosts many diverse traditions through its chaplaincies. We have a variety of  religious groups  and  regular schedule of services  for the many faiths practiced on our campus.

The Chapel also provides programs for community service and the arts. It hosts speakers, performances, and other special events all year round.