Photo of large, bronze statue of Red Hawk with red flowers blooming.

Pre-Arrival Information

Welcome to Montclair State University!

The staff of International Engagement is excited to meet you and introduce you to your new home. We hope that your stay here will be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for you. We have put together some tips as you plan your trip to the U.S. Please contact us if you have further questions after reading this information.

Arriving in the U.S.

New Jersey Climate and What to Pack:
New Jersey has variable climates: cold winters with periodic snowfalls, humid summers, and some very pleasant periods in between. Warm jackets, scarves, hats, gloves, and boots are essential for winter (November-March). Waterproof outwear and umbrellas are essential in rainy weather.

If you will be living on campus, basic furniture is provided; however, bed linens, blankets, pillows and towels are not. If possible, bring a bed sheet, light blanket and a towel with you from home. Keep in mind the single bed is extra-long, so bring an extra-long sheet and blanket, if possible.

You might also want to bring small personal items, such as photographs, traditional dress, or other items to personalize your new home. Keep in mind residence halls have limited space. It is best to purchase electrical appliances after you arrive in the U.S., as appliances manufactured outside the U.S. may not be compatible with the power supply.

It is advisable to carry a small amount of U.S. cash, in paper currency and coins, for telephones, baggage carts, bus fares and tips. Most airports have currency conversion stations for this purpose.

When to Enter the U.S.

When purchasing your plane ticket, please note the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. You are allowed to enter the United States no more than 30 days before the reporting date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019. You should not 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 Engagement as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Important 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 may have put this in a sealed envelope or stapled it to your passport. Do not open; 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 at Montclair State University: Aditi Patel, Assistant Director of International Admissions & Immigration, 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 passport 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-1or J-1).

In certain cases, if there is a problem with your documents, you may be issued a 30 day entry and issued a form I-515, with instructions to see your international student advisor. If you receive this form, come to the Office of International Engagement 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 our Assistant Director of International Admissions & Immigration, Aditi Patel, 973-655-6862. In the event you arrive during non-business hours (evening, weekends, holidays), they can call campus police at 973-655-5222 and they will contact Ms. Patel on your behalf.

For more information, visit US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Getting to Montclair State University.

We strongly recommend that you arrange your airline flights to that you arrive at Newark Liberty International Airport (the closest airport to campus) between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. because arrival at LaGuardia or JFK airports (located in New York State) will require a lengthy drive to campus. We also strongly recommend you take a taxi from the airport.

From Newark International Airport

By Taxi:

  1. The cost will be approximately $50.00, including the customary driver’s tip. Cost should be arranged with the driver before leaving the airport.
  2. Ask the taxi driver to take you to:
  • If your housing assignment is in the Village at Little Falls: 147 Clove Road, Little Falls, N.J.  From there, enter the Abbott and Costello building and proceed to the 2nd floor to obtain your key.
  • If your housing assignment is in any other building on campus: 1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ (this it the main address of the University).  You can then use the campus map to get to your housing assignment.
  • If you plan to live off-campus: The address of where you will be staying.

By Train:

  1. You will need to catch the NJ Transit train from Newark Airport to Secaucus Junction
  2. Once in Secaucus Junction, you will need to connect with the Montclair-Boonton Line. Please note that this is a commuter train that does not run on weekends. Use the NJ transit website to search for instructions for catching the train (Newark Airport to Montclair State University) or download the NJ Transit Mobile App. The cost will be $13.25. You can purchase tickets on the app or at the train station using cash or a credit card.

From JFK or LGA International Airport

  1. If you must arrive at JFK or LGA airport, we suggest that you arrange for a friend or family member to pick you up and bring you to campus. We do not recommend taking a taxi from these airports, as the cost will be very high. You can arrange to take the “ETS Airport Shuttle”, a ground shuttle bus from JFK or LGA airport to Newark airport.  The cost is approximately $34 per person.  The shuttle from JFK to Newark Airport runs every hour from 7:30am-9:30pm and the shuttle from LGA to Newark Airport runs every hour from 8:30am-8:30pm.
  2. Once you arrive at Newark Airport, follow the directions above.

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 to speak with a campus operator, and ask for the Office of International Engagement at extension 6862.
If a campus operator is not available, please call 1-800-624-7780. When the automated phone directory prompts you to “Please say the name of the department you wish to reach”, say “Global Education Center”.

Our office hours are:
Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
**SUMMER HOURS (June – mid August): Monday – Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

After office hours, you may contact Campus Police at 973-655–5222.

Billing and Payments

When the bills have been posted, they will be available on NEST. You are responsible for checking your NEST account online and making all payments. A bill will not be mailed or emailed – you will need to either log into your NEST account or stop into Red Hawk Central for a copy of your bill when you arrive on campus. This bill will reflect your balance, as well as the current tuition costs as of the beginning of semester.

If you will be living on campus your room charge will also be added to your NEST Account. Health Insurance will also be charged (please see the Health Insurance content for more information).

You can find out about how to make payments, including international wire transfer instructions here. Please note that you can make payments by credit card through your NEST account but you will be charged a 2.75% fee of the total payment. Therefore we suggest either making payments by international wire transfer or opening a bank account in the US when you arrive. We recommend Bank of America because they have an ATM on campus in the Student Center and also a branch in Upper Montclair about a mile from campus (560 Valley Rd Upper Montclair, NJ 07043). During Welcome Week activities, students will have an opportunity to take a shuttle to the branch and open a Bank of America student account. There are no fees to open the account and all you need is your passport, student ID card and some cash to deposit to get the account started. You can find out more here.

If you make any payments by wire transfer please make sure you include your name and CWID in the wiring instructions so that our Students Accounts department know which account to credit. Also please check with your bank if any wire transfer fees will be charged. Normally banks charge about $25-30 per wire transfer and they deduct these fees from the amount your send. This means when the funds arrive to Montclair they are often $25-30 less than you expected and you still have a balance owing on your account.

Payment Deadlines: You may receive automated emails from “msu-administration” regarding your bill. New international students may wait to pay until they arrive on campus, and must make payment by the first week of classes. Failure to pay by this time will result in a $150 late fee, normally around October 15 (Fall Semester) or February 15 (Spring Semester). You can find out more about payment deadlines and late fees here.

Payment Plans: If you are interested in the option of setting up a Payment Plan you can find out more here.

If you have any questions about your bill or making a payment please contact Student Accounts. You can find their contact information here.

Checking Into Campus Housing

In case of an emergency upon arrival – if you are locked out, if your taxi driver cannot find the residential complex, etc. – please feel free to reach our office during regular office hours (8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday) at (973) 655-6862 (the front desk) to ask for directions. If you are arriving in the evening or on a Saturday or Sunday, call your assigned Residence Hall for assistance:

Bohn Hall – (973) 655-5262

Stone Hall – (973) 655-3784

Freeman Hall – (973) 655-4487

Blanton Hall – (973) 655-3289

Russ Hall – (973) 655-4487

Dinallo Heights – (973) 655-4664

Machuga Heights – (973) 655-4668

Hawk Crossings – (973) 655-4475

Sinatra Hall – (973) 655-5257

The Village at Little Falls (973) 655-6689

If you arrive after hours and your Residence Hall office is locked, there will be an emergency phone number posted on the door. You can also call the university police at (973) 655-5222 if you are not able to reach anyone else – they are available 24 hours a day.

If you will be arriving late in the evening, please make arrangements to stay at a hotel the first night and come to campus the next morning.

Please consider your flight arrival time and allow 1 1/2 hours to clear immigration and customs, receive your baggage, and locate your transport. Travel times by car from Newark Airport to campus, depending on the time of the day, will be approximately 30 minutes. Travel times by car from JFK Airport will be at least 1 1/2 hours. If you are traveling by train allow for at least 2 hours.

Living on Campus

By late December, you should have received an email from Residence Life that will include your room details and information regarding how to see the names and contact details of your fellow roommates. The email will be sent to your new Montclair email address, so be sure to check your email.

Each room has one bed, closet, desk, and chair per student. You might choose to bring some things with you or order supplies online and we will arrange for them to be available when you check in.

An example of items you should order or bring are:

– Set of sheets: bottom, top and pillow case (Sheets must be Twin XL: Extra Long Twin)

– Blanket

– Pillow

– Set of towels

For a list of other items you may want to bring, as well as a list of prohibited items please click here.

Here are the types websites you could use to order supplies –

Our Campus Market

Bed Bath and Beyond



We also plan a shopping trip during International Student Orientation for the purchasing of groceries, personal items, apartment supplies, school supplies, etc.

How do I get mail if I live on campus?

Mail will be sent directly to your Residence Hall. Packages are sent to our Central Receiving Office and you will be notified through your Montclair email address to come pick them up. There is a free shuttle to the Central Receiving Office, which is located in Lot 60.

For students residing in Blanton, Bohn, Sinatra, Freeman and Russ Halls, The Village at Little Falls and The Heights, your address is:

Your Name

Montclair State University

1 Normal Avenue

Your Residential Building Name & Room Number

Montclair, NJ 07043

For students residing in Hawk Crossings, your address is:

Your Name

Montclair State University

65 Clove Road, Apt. #

Little Falls, NJ 07424

Meal Plans

Residential students living in Blanton Hall, Bohn Hall, Freeman Hall, Russ Hall, Stone Hall, Dinallo Heights, Machuga Heights, and Sinatra Hall are required to have a meal plan. Meal Plans range from unlimited plans in our Dining Halls to plans that just cover a select number of meals. Often meals plans include Red Hawks Dollars and/or Flex Dollars. Flex Dollars are for dining only and can be used in every dining location campus wide, including vending machines and the Diner which is open 24 hours a day. Red Hawk Dollars can be used at any of the dining facilities on campus including vending machines but also off-campus at select dining and other locations. You can find out more about where to use Red Hawk Dollars here. You can purchase Red Hawk Dollars without purchasing a Meal Plan.

Find out more about Dining on Campus, where to eat on campus and the hours of operation.

Those residing in Hawk Crossings or the Village at Little Falls and commuter students are not required to have a meal plan, as your apartment has a kitchen so you have the option of cooking your own meals. Each Saturday the university offers a free Shopper’s Shuttle to a local grocery store. You can see the schedule here.

Special Dietary Needs
If you have a special dietary need, the Pulse on Dining at Sam’s Place and Freeman Dining Hall Balance Kitchen are designed to accommodate a wide variety of dietary preferences and needs. They offer vegetarian and vegan meal options daily, and provide a wide variety of menu choices to suit many food allergies and intolerance including Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. Please make an appointment with our Senior Director of Residential Dining, Bill Heslin at or our Executive Chef of Residence Dining, Carlos Mohammed at to tour the dining facilities, discuss your needs, and design a customized plan.

Student ID Cards

If you will be living on campus you will swipe your Student ID card to get access to your apartment building. Your Student ID card also gives you access to campus facilities/services such as the following:

Campus Recreation
Library Services
Computer Labs
Printing Labs/Laptop Rental – All students must swipe-in with their valid MSU student ID to access the printing labs. Undergraduate students receive a non-transferable, non-refundable $40 allowance for printing each semester.

So your Student ID card can be available when you arrive on campus, please follow the instructions below. If you submit your photo by December 27th, your Student ID card will either be given to you when you check-in to your residence hall, or if you are not living on campus, you will receive your card at our International Student Orientation. If you do not upload your photo by December 27th, you will have to go to the ID Office once you arrive to campus.


    • Find/take a great photo of yourself! (Color photo only)
    • Crop from just above the top of your head to your shoulders. (Important – do not crop off any part of your head!)
    • Photo should have you looking straight ahead into the camera.
    • No hats, sunglasses, emojis, hands, hair or anything else should be obstructing/touching your face.
    • Use a flash to eliminate shadows on your face.
    • Stand against a light colored wall or door for the background.
    • Think of a driver’s license/passport photo but with a smile!

    How To Upload Your Photo

    1. Log into the eAccounts website with your NetID and password and register your account if this is your first time visiting eAccounts.
    2. To register your account:
      • Click on the “Profile” tab
      • Click “Transaction System Registration” in the menu bar
      • Click “Register” to connect your account to the transaction system
    3. Now you can submit your photo, click the “Profile” tab and then click “Click here to submit your photo link”, from here you will be prompted to upload your photo.
    4. Within 24 hours (business days only) you will receive an automated email saying your photo was either approved or rejected.

    Please Note: Photos are reviewed during business hours/days (excluding Fridays in the Summer, Saturdays, Sundays). After review, an automated email is sent informing you whether your photo has been accepted or rejected.

Students with Disabilities

Montclair State University is committed to the full inclusion of students with disabilities in all curricular and co-curricular activities as mandated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) will assist you in receiving the accommodations and services necessary to equalize access. The DRC provides assistance to students with physical, sensory, learning, psychological, neurological, and chronic medical disabilities.‌ Please contact our Disability Resources Center if you have have questions or require assistance.

International Student Orientation

Our International Student Orientation week for the spring semester will be held from Monday, January 13th – Friday, January 17th and is mandatory for all new international students. You should plan to arrive to campus on Monday, January 13th. A detailed schedule will be sent out via your Montclair State email address and can be accessed here.

For any questions regarding International Student Orientation, please email