Prepare to Become a Blue Hen
One of the great things about living in Delaware is being so close to amazing cities, beaches, mountains, parks and gardens, historical landmarks, entertainment options and much more. Learn more about your new home on the CGPS Life in the U.S. & at UD webpage.
Prepare to Become a Blue Hen
Steps to Join UD
If you haven't already visited your Undergraduate My Blue Hen Home portal or your Graduate Application Status Page please select the appropriate button below for pre-arrival steps to make your admission/offer official and obtain your visa:
In addition to everything you need to do regarding admission and immigration, there are many practical things to think about when preparing to move to the U.S., which are described below. We've also developed this quick reference guide Getting Ready to Arrive in the U.S.
Find more information to help you prepare for your new life, about housing, shopping, transportation, healthcare and more, on the Life in the U.S. & at UD webpage.
For the latest guidance about traveling to the U.S., including transportation and quarantine requirements upon your arrival, visit the CPGS COVID Updates & FAQs webpage. For information about obtaining a visa to come to the U.S., visit the appropriate CGPS webpage for your academic level listed above.
Once you are here there are a variety of transportation options available for you, described on the CGPS Transportation webpage. Please read below for details about how to get to the U.S. from your country.
We recommend that you arrive a couple of days prior to your mandatory International Student Orientation (ISO), and no later than the day before.
If you are an undergraduate student, you must apply for early check-in to your on-campus housing. To apply for early Housing check-in, log into your My Housing portal and complete the Early Arrival application. Please be sure to check your UD email regularly in the days prior to your arrival for information regarding your housing placement and how to check in upon your arrival to the University of Delaware. Those with questions are encouraged to contact Residence Life & Housing.
Flying to the U.S.
The University of Delaware campus is located in Newark, Delaware. Most visitors coming to the university arrive in the United States at JFK Airport in New York or Newark, New Jersey or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia International Airport (airport code PHL) is less than one hour away from campus while JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark International Airports are two/four hours from UD’s campus. The most convenient way is via PHL. Please note that Newark International Airport (airport code EWR) is in Newark, New Jersey and NOT in Newark, Delaware.
You will need to make additional arrangements to travel from the airport to campus when you arrive in the U.S.
If you are flying into New York, you should purchase an add-on ticket to Philadelphia from New York at the time you purchase your ticket to the U.S. It is much more convenient and less expensive.
From the Philadelphia International Airport or the Wilmington Amtrak (train) Station, we recommend using Delaware Express. If you are flying into JFK, EWR, BWI or IAD we recommend taking Amtrak to Wilmington, Delaware and Delaware Express or Uber from there to campus or directly to your housing.
If you are flying into JFK, EWR, BWI or IAD we recommend taking Amtrak to Wilmington, Delaware’s Amtrak (train) Station. From there, we recommend using Delaware Express or Uber/Lyft to travel to campus or directly to your housing.
Those arriving in New York City can reach Newark, Delaware by bus. After you arrive at Kennedy International Airport (JFK), take the Shuttle Bus to the East Side Terminal in Manhattan (around $15) and you will be transported to the Port Authority for free. Bus service from the Port Authority to Wilmington, Delaware (around $35) leaves at frequent intervals. At that time, call (800) 343-9999 for bus schedule information. Make sure to take the bus to Newark, Delaware (150 miles from New York City) rather than to Newark, New Jersey (across the Hudson River from Manhattan). The bus arrives at 2nd & French Street in Wilmington, Delaware across the street from the Amtrak train station. There is DART bus service available at the train station. The DART bus (cost under $3) goes to Newark, Delaware several times a day.
ELI students visit the ELI website for more information.
Other Ports of Entry
Regardless of how you enter the U.S., you will need all of the documents listed in the What to Pack section below. If you are from Canada, you are not required to apply for a visa, but must carry your I-20 or DS-2019 to enter the United States and must obtain an I-94 stamp in your passport clearly indicating F-1 or J-1 status at the port of entry (airport or border crossing).
If you wish to send parcels to the University of Delaware prior to arrival, the parcels must be wrapped securely and marked clearly with your name, c/o General Services Building, Room 110, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716-6410, USA. Or you may choose to shop for most necessities when you arrive in town. DO NOT bring or ship items that are easily available in the U.S. (utensils, food, school supplies etc.).We have provided information about local and online shopping options on the CGPS Life in the U.S. & at UD webpage.
Carry (on your person not in your checked baggage!) your passport with the U.S. visa stamp (note: Canadian citizens do not need a visa stamp in their passport), your I-20/DS-2019 form*, SEVIS fee receipt, and the supporting documentation you provided to obtain the visa when you travel to the U.S. You should have U.S. currency available for travel expenses and any emergencies that might occur.
*Note: H-1B employees will need their 1-797 Approval Notice.
It is advisable to bring sufficient items of personal use as you might not be able to visit the stores here immediately after your arrival.
Students in the U.S. tend to dress quite informally; jeans, T-shirts, shorts, sweatshirts and sneakers are all very acceptable to wear around campus and in class.
Delaware experiences all four seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall), so you will need both summer and winter clothing (temperatures get above 86F (30C) in summer and below 26F (-3C) in winter).
International visitors have found it useful and enjoyable to bring their national dress to wear on special occasions.
Furniture & Houseware
Where you will live will determine what items you need to purchase. Find more information on the CGPS Housing page about what is usually provided and what you'll need to set up your new home.
Be sure to bring all of the documents listed in the What to Pack section.
If the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry cannot verify your information, or if you do not have all of the required documentation, a CBP officer may direct you to an interview area known as “secondary inspection.” Secondary inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in order to verify your information without causing delays for other arriving passengers. The inspector will first attempt to verify your status by using SEVIS. In the event that the CBP officer needs to verify information with the University of Delaware, we strongly recommend that you provide the CGPS phone number: (302) 831-2115. If you will arrive during non-business hours (evening, weekends, holidays), you may provide the officer with the UD Public Safety phone number: (302) 831-2222.
Do not leave the immigration area at the port of entry until your documents are in order as follows:
When you enter the U.S. you will receive a Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record,” at the port of entry. If you enter the country at an air or seaport, you will be issued an electronic form. Please check that your I-94 is accurate by going to the DHS I-94 website. If you enter at a land border crossing you will be issued a paper Form I-94. For more information, please see Accessing your I-94 Form.
Your I-20/DS-2019 will be returned to you. If you have any questions or if there is a problem, it is much easier to take care of it there before leaving the immigration area.
J-1 Scholars: You should have your passport stamped 'J-1' and the letters 'D/S' (for 'Duration of Status') printed on it. Family members should have 'J-2' and 'D/S'.
H-1B Employees: You should have your passport stamped 'H-1B'.
If the U.S. Customs and Border Protection
(CBP) officer at the port of entry needs
to verify information with the
University, have them call CGPS:
Your First Days in the U.S.
Once you've arrived on campus, there are some important and mandatory tasks you must complete. Please select the appropriate button below for upon arrival steps to ensure you maintain your visa status and are fully prepared to begin your new life as a Blue Hen:
ISSS Disclaimer: The information contained on this web site is provided as a service to international students, faculty, staff, employees, and administrators at the University of Delaware, and does not constitute legal advice on any immigration, tax, or other matter. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of official counsel. For assistance on your immigration status, we encourage you to contact an ISS advisor for specific guidance at firstname.lastname@example.org.