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Arrival Information

Fall 2021 International Arrival & Orientation Information

The Office of Student Engagement, International Student Life assists all incoming international students and scholars with visa and immigration matters, as well as their adjustment to Fairfield University. We are thrilled about your acceptance to Fairfield and are looking forward to assisting you as you prepare for your arrival on campus! 

Important Dates for Fall 2021 Arrivals

Mandatory International/Global Student Orientation
All international students must attend International or Global Student Orientation. During this time, students will review immigration benefits and responsibilities and participate in sessions relating to adjustment and life at Fairfield. More details about Global Student Orientation will be sent closer to the date.

Fall ONLY: Undergraduate Students must also visit Undergraduate Orientation to learn more about other essential information and important action items on your checklist.

Housing Information

Exchange Students: Please follow the instructions provided from the Office of Study Abroad & Office of Residence Life on how to indicate your preferred housing. Residence Life will contact undergraduate students via their Fairfield e-mail account to confirm their rooming assignment; Contact the Office of Residence Life at for further assistance.

Claiming Your Fairfield University Net ID

Please have the following information available:

  • First name, Last Name
  • Date of birth
  • Fairfield University Student ID number
  • The first five characters of your zip code or postal code on record with the University
    • If the first five characters of the zip code or postal code entered is not accepted by the system, enter five zeros "00000"
    • If entering five zeros ("00000") doesn't work, please contact the ITS Help Desk at or +1-203-254-4069

Our office is located in Barone Campus Center: Room 96, and we are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST. You can contact us with any questions by e-mail at or by calling +1-203-254-4110.

International Admitted Students

Entering the Country

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Entering the Country

Please be aware that you are not allowed to come into the country earlier than 30 days before the Program Start Date.

When you arrive in the United States, a border inspector will review your documents and may interview you. After verifying that you have a valid passport, a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, and that the information contained is correct, the immigration officer will return to you your copy of the I-20 or DS-2019 and give you the entry stamp on your passport with the entry date.

The visa that you obtain from the embassy allows you to apply for entry into the United States. Your I-20 or DS-2019, after review at the port of entry, determines whether or not you will be admitted. If admitted, you may remain in the United States even if your visa expires. Your legal presence depends upon the validity of the I-20 or DS-2019. If your visa does expire while you are in the United States, you may remain here as long as your I-20 or DS-2019 is active, but if you leave the country, you must obtain a new visa.

Your I-20 student copy or your DS-2019 is a permanent record of your legal presence in the United States. It should not be taken from you.

U.S. Customs

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U.S. Customs

After being processed through the U.S. Public Health and Naturalization Station, pick up your luggage at the baggage claim area and proceed to the U.S. Customs Inspection Station where the Federal Inspection process is completed. Here, you present the Customs Declaration form, which you filled out on the plane. Do not bring fruits, plants, or meats. Possession of these items may require additional inspection, resulting in delay.

You may bring any amount of currency, but if you are carrying more than $5,000 USD in any form, you will need to fill out a reporting slip and possibly owe taxes on the money. We suggest bringing enough money to last a couple of weeks, and then opening a U.S. bank account where you can electronically transfer funds from your home country.

Transportation from the Airport

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Transportation from the Airport

Most students come into the United States through John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City. Others arrive through LaGuardia Airport in New York City or through Newark Airport in New Jersey.

Fairfield University is an hour and fifteen minutes by car from Kennedy or LaGuardia, barring heavy traffic. Newark Airport is two hours from Fairfield.

Office of Student Engagement provides limited airport pick up service. The service is set on the day before the International Student Orientation. The airport pick up service is communicated through our office during the summer.

Although Bradley International Airport is in Hartford, Connecticut, we do not recommend that you travel there. It is farther away than New York, and transportation to the University is not as frequent and is more expensive.

If you want to take the train from New York City, take the Metro-North train (New Haven line) from Grand Central Station to the Fairfield station. The Fairfield train station is a 5-minute drive from campus, or a 20-minute walk.

Exchange Students

‌Application Procedures

  • Fulfill your home institution's requirements and be recommended by them to Fairfield University's Office of Study Abroad
  • Complete all requirements through your checklist with Fairfield University's Office of Study Abroad
  • Provided required documentation for your DS-2019 to the Office of Student Engagement

DS-2019 Documentation

Once your exchange is confirmed, the Office of Student Engagement will reach out via email for all required documents to issue the DS-2019.

As a J-1 exchange visitor, per the U.S. Department of State, you must maintain minimum insurance coverage while in the United States. To ensure you have the correct insurance, we will automatically enroll you in Fairfield University's insurance plan for your exchange program dates. The insurance costs will be added to your Fairfield University bill, and will be due upon arrival. Due to the program requirements, a waiver of the health insurance is not allowed. Even if you purchase separate travel insurance in your home country, you will still be enrolled and billed for the university plan.

Important Documents

In order to arrive successfully in the United States to begin your studies, there are some important documents you must have. The most common documents are described below:

  • A valid passport
  • A valid U.S. visa
  • A valid Form I-20 (only if you are coming as an F1 student)
  • A valid DS-2019 (only if you are coming as a J1 student)


The passport is a document issued by your government giving you permission to travel outside of your country and confirming your identity.

In order for you to maintain your legal status in the United States, your passport must remain current for six months into the future at all times.

United States Visa

A visa is a document which grants you permission by the U.S. government to request entry into the United States as a non-immigrant under specific conditions.

You should prepare yourself adequately for your appointment at the Consulate or Embassy by taking with you any documents that the Consul requests. You may show whatever supporting material you have, if the interviewer asks for it. The strongest factors taken into consideration by the Consular Officer are family ties, property, job, and other financial commitments in your home country. The Consular Officer will review your application and documentation in order to be certain that you are indeed a non-immigrant and that you do not intend to live in the United States permanently.

Types of U.S. Visas

F-1 International Student
The most common student visa for Fairfield undergraduate students is the F-1 student visa. The F-1 visa allows you to enter the U.S. as a full-time student in a degree-granting program. After confirming your admission to the university, the Office of Student Engagement will reach out with further information.

J-1 Exchange Visitor
Students coming for one semester or one academic year through an agreement between your home university and Fairfield University, will be arriving as J-1 exchange visitors. J-1 students should first contact the Office of Study Abroad ( for further information. Once confirmed for exchange, the Office of Student Engagement will reach out with further information.

Form I-20

A Form I-20 is a government form which tells the U.S. government that you are eligible for F-1 student status. You need a Form I-20 to obtain an F-1 student visa, or to maintain your legal status while transferring schools in the United States. You only need to obtain a Form I-20 if you wish to study on an F-1 non-immigrant status. Be aware, however, that we can only issue a Form I-20 once you have received your admission letter and the University has received your admission deposit.

Form DS-2019

A Form DS-2019 is a government document which certifies your eligibility to come to Fairfield University as a J-1 exchange student. You need a Form DS-2019 to obtain a J-1 exchange visa. Be aware, however, that we can only issue a Form DS-2019 once you have been nominated by your home university and accepted into the exchange program through Fairfield University's Office of Study Abroad.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspects all foreign national students, scholars, dependents and visitors to the U.S. arriving at an air, land or sea border. Admission to the U.S. in a specific immigration status is documented via an entry stamp in the passport, as well as an electronic I-94 arrival record. Electronic I-94 records can be downloaded and printed from the I-94 official website.

Occasionally when entering the U.S., errors may occur on the passport stamp notation and/or electronic I-94 record. These errors must be corrected to ensure that the status of the student, scholar, dependent or visitor is documented properly and that immigration benefits (such as permission to study or work) are correctly applied. Please contact the Office of Student Engagement if you encounter this error.

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