We are so pleased to welcome you to Notre Dame! As you enter the U.S. and make your way to campus, there are a few instructions on entering and traveling to campus that you should be familiar with, as it will help ease the transition.  

Program Start Date

You may arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the program start date on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. If you attempt to enter the U.S. after this start date, you may be denied entry.  

Arrive at the U.S. Port of Entry

At the U.S. port of entry, you will need to present the following documents to the inspections officer, so do not pack these items in your checked luggage:

  • valid Passport with a valid F-1 or J-1 Visa stamp (except for Canadian citizens who are not required to have a visa stamp)
  • Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 issued by Notre Dame;
  • Notre Dame admission letter; and
  • evidence of financial resources.

Please be aware that CBP officers have the authority to search all electronic devices (phones, computers, etc.), even without probably cause, at the port-of-entry to the U.S. 

In Chicago, there is a separate line for F-1 and J-1 visa holders; be sure to use the appropriate entry lane so you are processed as an F-1 or J-1 student.

I-94 Record and Admissions Stamp

Upon arrival in the U.S., a Custom and Border Protection official will review the documents listed above. Once they have determined you are eligible for entry, they will enter your status into the I-94 system and put an admission stamp in your passport.  

You should review and print your I-94 record each time you enter the U.S. so you have evidence of your immigration status, which includes the length of time you may remain inside the U.S. F-1 and J-1 visa holders will see the notation "D/S" on their I-94 record and their admission stamp. D/S means "duration of status," which refers to the program end date on your Form I-20 or DS-2019. When your status is marked D/S, you may remain in the U.S. as long as your Form I-20 or DS-2019 is accurate and unexpired.

Get to Campus

Though the closest airport to Notre Dame is the South Bend International Airport, most students fly into Chicago-O’Hare Airport (ORD) or Chicago Midway (MDW) and take the bus, an UBER, or the South Shore Train from downtown Chicago to the South Bend airport. See the quick reference guide below for transportation options from Chicago-O’Hare Airport (ORD) or Chicago Midway (MDW) to South Bend / Notre Dame.

Summer Transportation from O'Hare to Notre Dame

ISSA is sponsoring transportation for new international students traveling from Chicago-O'Hare Airport (ORD) to campus on select days in June, July, and August. Cost is $60.

Sign up for a seat here.

Shuttle Dates

  • Tuesday, May 31 @ 12pm  
  • Thursday, June 9 @ 12pm  
  • Thursday, July 21 @ 12pm  
  • Monday, August 1 @ 12pm  
  • Thursday, August 11 @ 12pm  
  • Friday, August 12 @ 12pm 
  • Tuesday, August 16 @ 12pm - (Undergraduates)
  • Wednesday, August 17 @ 9am - (Undergraduates)

Generally, the shuttle will leave Chicago O'Hare at noon, providing students enough time upon arrival in the Notre Dame area to go to their housing office and pick up their keys. Except for August 16 and 17, the bus will drop students off at Fischer Graduate Residences, The Landings, and Irish Row/Overlook.

*If you miss the shuttle bus, you will be responsible to organize your own transportation to South Bend. Refunds will only be issued if you can provide documentation that your flight was delayed, preventing you from utilizing the shuttle.

The timing of the shuttle may require you to spend a night in Chicago airport hotel or at the airport, so be sure to include that in your budget when planning your trip. 

We highly recommend flying into Chicago if you cannot get a flight to South Bend, as there is no convenient public transportation from Indianapolis, IN, or Detroit, MI, to South Bend.

If you arrive at the South Bend International Airport, there are a variety of taxis waiting that can drive you to campus for a fee, typically $15-30 for a 15-minute ride to campus.

Download the Quick Reference Travel Guide

Travel Table

Complete F-1 or J-1 Registration

As an F-1 or J-1 student visa with a Notre Dame-issued Form I-20 or DS-2019, you must register with ISSA within 30 days of the program start date on your Form I-20 or DS-2019.

  • Graduate & professional students: Upon arrival on campus, go to and complete the F-1 or J-1 New Student Registration form. You are still required to attend International Student Orientation, and you will be responsible for adhering to all responsibilities and regulations we discuss at orientation. 
  • Undergraduate students: Bring your passport and I-20 to international student orientation. An ISSA advisor will help you complete the New Student Registration form. We ISSA will provide an overview of responsibilities and regulations at orientation. 

If you fail to check in within 30 days of your program start date, your I-20 record may be terminated.

Attend International Student Orientation

All new international students are required to attend International Student Orientation or an ISSA-led "Maintaining F1/J1 Status" session within their program's orientation schedule. See our International Student Orientation site for info.