Arriving in the U.S.

When you arrive at the U.S. Port of Entry, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official will give you a short interview and ask you for your visa documents, which will be date-stamped and returned to you. Do NOT pack your legal documents in your check-in luggage. You will not be able to access your luggage prior to going through U.S. Customs. Be prepared to present the following to CBP officials:

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid Visa
  • Valid DS-2019 form
  • UCSF appointment letter
  • Financial Support (if not funded by UCSF)
  • SEVIS fee receipt

At some airports, you may be asked to go to a second room where they will date-stamp your documents. With recent changes in the laws governing the exit and entry of international visitors, you will have your fingerprints and photograph taken.

Transportation from Airport

If you are arriving at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), you can take Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), a metro rail service, into San Francisco. BART is safe, fast, and comfortable and is available from early morning to just before midnight every day of the week.

If you have a lot of luggage, you can arrange to take an airport shuttle or taxi into San Francisco. Airport shuttle and taxi stops are located on the Arrivals/Baggage Claim level of all terminals. There is no need to make a reservation in advance. Both shuttles and taxis are available 24 hours a day. Rental cars can also be reserved in advance and are available 24 hours a day.      

ISSO Check-In and Orientation

It is mandatory that you attend your designated UCSF Human Resource (HR) on-boarding meeting upon arrival to the United States.  He or she will gather data necessary for the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) to validate your program in SEVIS.  Failure to do so may result in the termination of your program and can lead to serious consequences if ISSO cannot confirm your arrival with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Your HR representative will provide you with your employee I.D. number so that you can get a campus I.D. badge, library card, and UCSF e-mail account. 

If you are a student, you will want to check in with your academic department. You will receive your student I.D. badge, and UCSF e-mail account after you register for classes and pay tuition and fees.