Read below for more information on packing for
the U.S., what the travel procedures will be for entering the United
States, what documents you should have with you when you board the
plane, and transportation options from the San Francisco International
Airport to USF.
Although California is known for being the “land of
golden sunshine,” the city of San Francisco does not have a very warm
climate. The temperature in San Francisco averages between a high of 70 degrees and a low of 40 degrees
Fahrenheit (21 to 4.5 degrees Celsius). The summer months (June through August) can be cold and foggy. You will require a
light-weight jacket or coat at all times of the year and a medium- to
heavy-weight coat for certain winter months. You should bring plenty of warm clothing as students who come from warm
or tropical climates usually find San Francisco’s temperatures to be rather cool. Most of the students dress informally for
class (jeans and shirts) but dress more formally when they go out to dinner or attend
Do not ship any of your personal belongings to your campus address prior to your arrival: they will be returned if you are not there. USF will not accept any packages on your behalf and cannot store them for you on campus. If you wish to ship some of your belongings in advance, you will need to ship them to a private address. You can obtain information about freight and
shipping services through your local travel agents or postal service. Insure any valuable items that you ship overseas.
Plan to bring with you enough money to cover the expenses. Be careful if you choose to carry cash, and avoid carrying a large sum of cash. Travelers’ checks are a safer way
to carry money but not all vendors accept them.
Also, plan ahead when making your banking arrangements for your stay in San Francisco. You will
be required to pay your USF tuition and fees prior to the start of
classes. Please note, when you set-up your local bank account in San Francisco,
you will not be able to access that money for at least two weeks. Be certain you are able to access money from
your home country bank in order to pay your tuition and fees. You cannot pay your tuition with a credit card. We suggest you
discuss the situation with your home country bank prior to your departure.
Bring with you to the United States any important
documents that relate to your immigration, travel, legal, academic, and medical
- Passport, identification cards, driver’s licenses, etc.
- Marriage certificate, birth certificates (for you and your dependents if applicable)
- Proof of health insurance coverage in the United States (if you already have
- Information about medical conditions or treatments, prescriptions for medication
(including the generic and brand names), and eye glasses
- Medical and dental records, including certificates of immunizations and
vaccinations (especially rubella, rubeola, and tuberculin for you and
- Any other copies of immigration and travel documents from the past
If possible, obtain English
translations of these documents and have the translations certified by a U.S.
educational advising center at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Retain photocopies of all original documents
for your records.
Toward the end of your flight, the airline flight
attendant will give you a Customs Form. Please fill this form while
you are on the airplane and have it ready with your Passport and I-20
when you depart the plane. It is
forbidden to bring certain items into the United States (for example, fruits,
vegetables, drugs, or firearms). You
will be asked to report the value of the things you are bringing in to the
United States. Simply follow the
directions on the forms. If you have
questions, ask the flight attendant for clarification.
Wait in line in the immigration
area until an Immigration Officer is available to process your
documents. Present your Passport, Visa and Certificate of Eligibility
to the officer. After
questioning you about your plans in the United States, the officer will
your documents for entry. You will be
required to use an inkless, digital finger scanner to scan two of your
fingerprints. Follow the officer’s
instructions by placing your left index finger and then your right index
on the scanner. The officer will also
take your digital photograph. These
procedures add only seconds to the overall processing time.
The immigration officer will stamp your passport with one entry stamp
and all of your documents should be returned to you. Please check that
your passport has been stamped with the date of your arrival and marked
“F-1 or J-1” and
Proceed to the appropriate baggage claim area to pick up
your luggage. Baggage carts are
available inside this area. After this,
you will be directed to the Customs Service for inspection of your baggage. Give the Customs Form to the Customs Official
and allow your baggage to be checked.
After your baggage has passed through Customs you will be allowed to
exit the airport.
Look for signs that will direct
you to “Ground Transportation.”
Transportation in the form of shuttle buses and taxis will be in this
area. You may ask for help from airport
staff or security officers if you need more information about transportation
into the city of San Francisco.
Shuttle Bus Service: Shuttle buses, or door-to-door vans, leave
from the Departures.
Ticketing Level at all terminals approximately every 12
minutes and will drop you off anywhere in the city of San Francisco. Depending on the number of passengers,
door-to-door vans may make multiple stops.
No reservation is necessary but is recommended for passengers arriving
after 11:00 pm.
Taxi Service: Taxis are also available at the airport but
are more expensive. The cost of a taxi
from the airport to the USF campus is approximately $40. As a courtesy, you should tip the driver 15%
of the total cost. If you share the trip
with other people, passengers can divide the bill to pay an equal portion of
the fare. To be sure you have enough
cash to pay the taxi driver, ask how much the ride will cost before entering
the taxi. Only U.S. dollars will be
accepted as payment.
Public transportation called BART, or the Bay Area Rapid Transit, is
also available from the airport. Follow
the signs from the International terminal to BART. If your destination is San Francisco, take a
Dublin/Pleasanton-bound BART train.
Downtown San Francisco is only half an hour away. Once you get on the BART go to the Powell Street Station. Here you will
get off and transfer onto the 31 bus. This will take you directly to the
university. The total ride should cost no more than $10. If you have lots of
luggage, you may want to take a shuttle bus service or taxi rather than BART.
Whichever method of transportation you choose, if you are
coming to the USF campus, ask the driver to take you to the following location:
of San Francisco (USF)
Golden Gate Avenue at Roselyn Terrace (Between Parker Avenue and Masonic Avenue)
There will be a small security building at the visitor’s
entrance on Golden Gate Avenue. The
attendant will be able to give you directions to your residence hall or any
location on campus.