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Travel Checklist

Main Information

Getting Started
Visa Tips
Housing/Meal Plans
  • If you are an undergraduate student, you can apply to live on campus.
    • If you are 20 years old or younger, you are required to live on campus.
  • Plan ahead and make housing arrangements if you are planning to live off campus.
  • Students must complete a separate meal plan application/form.

Travel Information

General Information
  • Check out the EducationUSA and ICE sites for helpful information immigration and living in the U.S.
  • Make your travel arrangements. Remember to arrive before orientation.
  • DON’T FORGET your Travel Documents: Passport and I-20/DS-2019 or plane ticket.
  • Make plans to get from the airport of arrival to SDSU’s campus either by making arrangements with Office of International Affairs or by becoming familiar with our transportation options.
Before You Depart Your Home Country

Preparation is the most important part of your journey. Please use the following information as a guide.

  • Leave a contact number with your family, such as the Office of International Affairs.
  • Special Note:
    • Canadian students do not need visa stamps to enter the U.S., but they must present the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 at the port of entry to be properly classified in non-immigrant student status.
    • Students who are eligible to enter the U.S. under the visa waiver program should not choose this travel option. Please apply for the appropriate student visa.
  • Make arrangements to fly to Sioux Falls Regional Airport, Sioux Falls, SD. The airport code is FSD.
    • If your flight connects in another country, ask your travel agent or airline if you need a Transit Visa (or Direct Airside Transit).
    • You may enter the U.S. 30 days before the program start date listed on your I-20 (Fall 2021 program start date is August 16), but on-campus housing may not be available yet. 
  • Make sure you plan to arrive on or before August 15th for International Student Orientation (to ensure you are well rested.)
  • Make Arrangements for OIA Pickup Service/Arrival – Make arrangements for travel by completing the Shuttle Service Form HERE. Students will receive an email confirmation following the completion of the form.



Research the weather and pack accordingly. Plan to buy winter clothes.

Average  high/low in C Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Average high in C: -5.1 -2.3 4.1 13 19.7 24.8 27.6 26.5 21.7 14.3 14.6 -3.3
Average low in C: -16.2 -13.3 -6.3 0.4 7 12.7 15.1 13.8 8.3 1 -6.7 -13.7
Need a Ride?
  • Free shuttle services for new international students runs July 17th to August 16 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Make arrangements for travel by completing the Shuttle Service Form HERE. Students will receive an email confirmation following the completion of the form.
  • You will receive a confirmation! When you arrive, there may not be someone at the airport until shortly before the designated pick up times. DO NOT take a taxi cab as this will be very expensive (usually around $150 USD). Please wait until the next pick up time to travel to Brookings. 
    • If you are unsure of your situation when you arrive in Sioux Falls or have questions, please call Derek at 605-688-4477. Please note: students arriving for the 11 p.m. shuttle and those arriving on the weekends and who are planning to live on campus will need to stay in a Brookings motel or other accommodations until the next business day.
Make travel plans if you will be arriving before or after the dates for the free shuttle:
  • Jefferson Bus Lines is an economical way of traveling to Brookings. Tickets are estimated at around $16 to $20 USD (one way):
    • Option 1: You can pre-book your ticket at the following website:
      • Departure city would be Sioux Falls, SD. Arrival city would be Brookings, SD.
      • Buses leave from Sioux Falls once a day at 10:10 a.m and arrive in Brookings at 11:10 a.m.
    • Option 2: If you have not pre-booked your bus ticket, you can call the Yellow Cab Company from the airport (phone number 605-336-1616) and have them bring you to:
      • Cross Couriers, Ltd, 1500 West Russell Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57104
      • Cross Couriers will sell you a one-way bus ticket from Sioux Falls, SD to Brookings, SD (business hours until 7 p.m. daily).


While Traveling Tips
  • Never leave your luggage unattended.
  • Travel with moderate amounts of cash or use credit cards or traveler’s checks for immediate personal expenses.
  • DON’T FORGET to travel with your passport, passport and I-20/DS-2019 (or plane ticket) on your person. Do not place these items in your checked luggage bag after you check in.
  • Please call our office at 1-605-688-4477 or email Derek Schmidt anytime during your travels if there are flight delays.
Once You Arrive at SDSU

Check-in at the Office of International Affairs, Hilton M. Briggs Library 119, or at Orientation. Bring your passport and I-20. Attend New International Student Orientation from August 16-20.

  • Attendance is required and will assist you greatly in your life in the U.S., Brookings and at SDSU.
Attend the scheduled Health Record Review and receive a Tuberculosis (TB) skin test. Testing will be done during Orientation (please inquire with Kirsten Linke regarding the charges). A chest x-ray performed in the U.S. will be required for anyone with a positive TB skin test per US Center for Disease Controls standards. Please see for details. Purchase International Student Health Insurance
  • Students may choose from one of two plans:
  • The Office of International Affairs will host seminars regarding health insurance.
Pay for tuition and fees!
  • Payment is due by September 3. Financial Guarantees are also due that day. LATE PAYMENT = LATE FEE.

Important Items to Remember

Immunizations and Health Requirements

Prepare your medical records.

  • Print the attached “Mandatory Immunization Record
  • Carefully read the instructions and have the form completed and signed by a doctor or health care provider.
  • Bring the original form to orientation.
  • 2021-2022 academic year fees (prices may increase without notice)
    • Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR vaccination) - $84 each
    • Immunization Review (to be completed during orientation) - $59
    • TB Skin Test (to be completed during orientation) - $20
  • Be familiar with SDSU’s Immunization and Health Requirements. Look into information regarding travel insurance. Proof of Immunizations and/or medical records of existing illnesses. (Especially allergies)
Financial Tips
  • Anticipate funding needs (Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students with an Assistantship or Graduate Students without an Assistantship) and how you are going to pay for your expenses. (Students must pay their balance within the first 10 class days.)
  • Use a bank card, International or U.S. traveler’s checks, or a credit card to avoid carrying large sums of cash with you.
  • Consider having important documents (final secondary school transcripts – if you have not already provided them, marriage license, prescriptions, etc.) translated into English before you leave your country.
  • Create copies of important documents such as passport, immigration documents, transcripts, financial statements, street address where you will be going when you arrive.

Packing Tips

General Items
  • Bring medications you use, including extra pair of prescription glasses or contacts.
  • Be sure to pack light because if you forget things you can purchase them when you arrive. 
  • Refer to for packing advice.
  • Plan to bring clothes for at least the fall and you will want to have at least a coat or light jacket to start with. You can buy other clothing items after you arrive.
  • Be sure to include your name and new address on your bags.
  • You may want to consider bringing recipe of native foods, small souvenirs from your country, a camera, cultural clothing, your favorite music and photos from home.
  • It is recommended that you pack your valuable items and documents in a carry on flight and carry your immigration document on your person during your flight.
  • Remember not to pack: weapons, electrical appliances, important items that might be lost or stolen, candles or incense, animals, illegal drugs, fresh food.
Suggested Clothing Items
  • Comfortable Clothing   
  • Shoes (comfortable walking shoes)
  • Jeans 
  • T-shirts
  • Sweater(s) – (1 or 2 at most) 
  • Sweat pants and shorts 
  • Swimsuit
  • Underwear (5-10 pair) 
  • Sleeping Apparel/Robe
  • Light Jacket (rainproof with hood)
  • Dress Clothes
  • Dress Shoes 
  • Belt
  • Shirts/Blouses
  • Slacks and Khakis
  • Men - a tie (1 or 2)
  • Men – Suit or Sportcoat
  • Women – Dress/Skirt (1 or 2)
  • Warmer Clothing (if traveling in January)
  • Socks/nylons
  • Hat, Mittens/Gloves, Headband for Ears 
  • Winter Jacket/Down filled
Miscellaneous Notes on Clothing and Dress
  • Clothes are fairly cheap (market or thrift stores are a great option to buy more. Only 1 or 2 “good outfits” are needed.)
  • It is recommended that you bring 1 traditional/national dress or cultural outfit from your home.
  • Bring clothes that can be layered. It is rather cold in South Dakota during the winter months. Layering helps.
Other Necessities
  • Travel size toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, contact solution)
    • Keep them small… otherwise they may be required to be thrown at the airport.
  • Travel Alarm Clock
  • Mp3 player/iPod/Headphones
  • Laptop Computer
  • Pocket Calculator (can be purchased in the Bookstore on campus)
  • Favorite Book (or two)
  • Musical Instrument
  • Picture album of family
  • Camera
  • International Telephone
  • Calling Card
  • Special Spices/food from home (again, no fruit)
  • Cold Medicines, aspirin, etc. (can be purchased at the Miller Wellness Center on campus)
  • Padlock for Luggage
  • Watch/Conservative Jewelry
  • Backpack/Carry On Bag

Pack lightly. The week before departure, you should pack everything you think you will need, pick up all your bags and walk around for a bit. If you have trouble, you have packed too much.