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.

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 shuttle bus with Coach USA, which will drop you off by the Eck Visitor Center on campus. A few things to know about the bus: 

  • You can reserve tickets at or buy tickets on the bus. 
  • At Terminal 1, follow the signs for the Bus Shuttle Center at Level 1. 
  • At Terminal 5, follow the signs for Ground Transport and Gate 5E (past the McDonalds); you will cross the first set of lanes and wait at the charter bus stands. 
  • The bus takes about three hours. 
  • It will drop you off by the Eck Visitor Center on campus.

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.

Arriving to Notre Dame

Graduate & professional students: The CoachUSA bus stop is still 1-6 miles from on and off campus housing options. Public transportation in South Bend is minimal and is not offered at night. Plan to use UBER to you and your belongings from the bus stop to your home.

Undergraduate students: On Wednesday, August 21, the ISSA staff and International Ambassadors will be in the Eck Visitor Center from 12-7:00pm for Orientation check-in. Visit us for help moving luggage, check in for orientation, and F-1/J-1 Registration. If you will arrive after 7:00pm on Wednesday, notify your Rector of your expected arrival time. You can still move in to your residence hall, and we will see you on Thursday morning for orientation.

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. Bring your passport and I-20 to your international student orientation session, at which point an advisor with check your passport and help you complete our New Student Registration form. If you miss orientation, you must register with us within 30 days.

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 session within their program's orientation schedule. See our International Student Orientation site for info.