Once you have accepted admission, gotten a student visa and made your travel plans, it is time to come to campus. Learn how to enter the United States and get to Lehigh University.
As you plan your travel to the United States, remember that you cannot enter the country more than 30 days before the program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019, or after your program start date. If you cannot arrive before International Orientation, please contact us. We may need to give you documentation to present at the port of entry.
At the Airport
When you land at a U.S. airport, the immigration officer will likely ask to see the following documents:
- Passport and visa
- I-20 or DS-2019 issued by Lehigh University
- Lehigh University admission letter
- SEVIS fee receipt and financial documents
If you are transferring to Lehigh from another U.S. school and you have a valid visa with that school’s name, you can enter the U.S. with that visa stamp.
The officer may ask questions to assess your intent to study in the U.S. and return home. The burden is on you to convince them. They may ask to see the documentation you provided to the embassy or consulate. Be prepared to provide financial statements, admission letters, scholarship letters and proof that you have paid the SEVIS fee.
The officer will review your I-20 or DS-2019 and confirm in SEVIS that you have checked in to the United States.
The officer should return your documents and should only stamp your arrival date in your passport, which shows your visa class as F-1 or J-1. If the stamp shows a visa class other than the one on your visa, let the officer know immediately. Notify OISS if you find out after you arrive at Lehigh.
Pick up your luggage at baggage claim. If you do not know your way around the airport, you can always ask—people are friendly and happy to help. Some U.S. airports are busy, and it may take you up to three hours to exit the airport.
Getting to Campus
From New Jersey – Newark Liberty International Airport
We strongly recommend that you fly into Newark Liberty International Airport. It is much closer to Lehigh than the John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport in New York. The airport code for Newark is EWR. Trans-Bridge Lines offers bus service from the airport to the Bethlehem Transportation Center at 635 Guetter Street on the North Side. When you land, ask for the Trans-Bridge Bus Station.
From New York – John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport
Trans-Bridge Lines also offers bus service from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) airport in New York to the North Bethlehem bus terminal. When you land, ask for the Trans-Bridge Bus Station. You can only purchase tickets for this bus directly from the driver and you need exact change.
From Philadelphia International Airport
If you fly into Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Bieber Transportation Group offers bus service from Downtown Philadelphia to the South Bethlehem bus terminal about two blocks from the Lehigh campus. At the airport, take the SEPTA train from Terminal A to the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. At the station, ask for the Bieber bus to Bethlehem.
Once on Campus
Plan your date of arrival so you have time to:
- Relax for a couple of days and recharge your energy
- Find housing and review your living arrangements
- Attend the mandatory International Orientation
- Register for classes
- Get your Lehigh ID and other documents you may need
Early Arrival to Lehigh
Remember that you can only arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019. If you arrive early but within the 30-day window, contact OISS. We can help you with logistics like getting your student ID or driver’s license. Undergraduate students cannot access their student housing until August 19. If you arrive before then, you need to make alternate arrangements.