Arriving in the United States

When to Enter the U.S.
You are allowed to enter the United States no more than 30 days before the reporting date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019. You will not be allowed to enter the United States after the start date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019. If you are facing unexpected delays in arriving please notify International Services as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Documents to carry with you on the plane in your hand luggage

  • Passport
  • I-20 or DS-2019 (the immigration officer at the embassy or consulate put this in a sealed envelope. Do not open the envelope; the officer at the airport will open it)
  • Payment receipt of SEVIS Fee
  • Evidence of financial support
  • Name and contact information of Designated School Official or Responsible Officer at Montclair State University: Aditi Patel, Assistant Director, International Student & Scholar Services, 973-655-6862

Inside the Terminal: I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

  • Once inside the airport terminal proceed to the immigration booth, and present your passport and your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019.
  • Expect to have your index fingers scanned for fingerprint purposes and a digital photograph taken, as required by regulations.
  • The officer will stamp your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 for duration of status (D/S) and the date you entered the U.S.
  • The officer will create an electronic I-94 record for duration of status (D/S) and the date you entered the U.S. You can access your I-94 online immediately at‎.  When you are able to check it, be sure the I-94 has the appropriate visa status (F-1 or J-1).

In certain cases, if there is a problem with your documents, you may be issued a 30 day entry on your I-94 card, and issued a form I-515, with instructions to see your international student advisor. If you receive this form, come to the International Student & Scholar Services office upon your arrival.

If you are traveling by land, you will be distributed I-94 Arrival-Departure Record Form, before arriving. It is a long white card and students complete the top and bottom sections of the form. Complete the form accurately. Make sure your name, date of birth, citizenship matches exactly as it is written in your passport. If you do not understand a form, ask an attendant for assistance.

Secondary Inspection Requirements

If the officer at the port of entry cannot initially verify your information or you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be directed to an interview area known as “secondary inspection.” Secondary inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in order to verify information without causing delays for other arriving passengers.

The inspector will first attempt to verify your status by using the Student and Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS). In the event that the Officer needs to verify information with your school or program, provide them the name of the Assistant Director of International Services, Ms. Aditi Patel, 973-655-6862. In the event you arrive during non-business hours (evening, weekends, holidays), you can call campus police at 973-655-5222 and they will contact Ms. Patel on your behalf. For more information, visit


Getting to Montclair State University
We strongly recommend that you arrange your airline flights arriving at Newark Liberty
International Airport (the closest airport to the campus) between 7am and 6pm. Arrival at LaGuardia or JFK airports located in New York State will require a lengthy drive to the campus.

From Newark International Airport:
From the airport, take the New Jersey Transit bus No. 62 to PENN Station in Newark. Make sure you have single dollar bills and coins before boarding the bus (The bus fare is approximately $2.00 from the airport to Newark PENN Station).  When you arrive at PENN Station in Newark, take bus No. 28 of New Jersey Transit to Montclair (The bus fare is approximately $5.00 from Newark PENN Station to Montclair). This bus will take you directly to Montclair State University. Be sure to keep close watch of your bags. You may want to consider bringing just what you will need and ask your family to ship the remainder of your belongings at a later date.

Although it will cost more money, we strongly suggest that you take a taxi from Newark Airport. Ask the taxi driver to take you to Montclair State University in Montclair (Valley Road Exit off Route 3 West). The cost will be approximately US$50.00 including the customary driver’s tip. Cost should be arranged with the driver before leaving the airport. Enter the University at the Normal Avenue entrance and proceed to either Russ Hall or the Village at Little Falls. Go to the Residence Hall Office and ask for assistance in getting to your assigned room. If you plan to live off-campus, give the taxi driver the address of your arranged housing.

If you must arrive at LaGuardia or JFK airport:
If you must arrive at LaGuardia or JFK airport, we suggest that you arrange for a friend or family member to pick you up and bring you to campus. Do not take a taxi from these airports; the cost will be very high. However, you can arrange to take the "Olympic Airporter", a ground shuttle bus from Kennedy Airport to Newark Airport. The "Airporter", runs from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and the cost is $30.00. For more information, go to this link: Once you arrive at Newark Airport, follow the directions above.

Contact Information
If you have difficulty in your travels, you may call us from anywhere toll-free by dialing 1-800-624-7780; when you hear a recording, dial 0 - a campus operator will answer - then ask for International Services at extension 6862.

International Services Office Hours:

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the regular office hours August through June.

8:00 a.m. - 5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday (The campus is closed on Fridays)  during the summer schedule of June through August.

After office hours, you may contact the Campus Security at (973) 655-5222.