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Pre-Departure Information

We hope the following information will help ease your transition to Loyola! 

Please, read our New International Student Brochure very carefully as it contains essential information for preparing for your time in New Orleans.

You must review and be familiar with this important information.

The Center for International Education has prepared the following Pre-Departure Checklist to assist you before your arrival in New Orleans: 

Immigration Requirements

  • Valid passport: Ensure that your passport will be valid at least six months past the date you enter the U.S.
  • Certificate of eligibility: Form I-20 or DS-2019. Ensure that you enter with the form issued to you by Loyola.
  • Valid travel visa (not required for Canadian citizens): If you are entering with a I-20 you must have a F-1 visa. If you are entering with a DS-2019 you must have a J-1 visa.
  • I-901 SEVIS Fee: Proof of I-901 fee payment must be presented at the visa interview or port of entry. For more information see page 2 of the Information for New Students brochure or visit the SEVIS fee website.
  • Financial Support Affidavit: Proof of financial support for your studies will be required upon entering the U.S.

Loyola Requirements 

  • Immunization Records: Be sure to fill out and bring the Immunization form that was sent to you by Loyola. Proof that you have received all the vaccinations listed on the form is required before you can begin your classes. More information about immunizations can be found here
  • Health Insurance Waiver: Loyola University requires that all international students have health insurance. You will be charged an insurance fee and covered under a policy obtained by Loyola (covered by LewerMark Insurance) on your behalf unless you submit proof of comparable personal coverage. Complete Health Insurance Waiver to apply to use your personal coverage.This form must be submitted to LewerMark by June 30 (Fall Semester start date) or November 1 (Spring Semester start date).
  • Residence Hall Contract: Ensure that you have applied for Housing with Residential Life. Please, let us know if you plan to arrive before on-campus housing is available, so that we know that you have made arrangements for staying in a hotel.
  • Contact Information: Carry with you the names, addresses and phone numbers of the Center for International Education (CIE):

Loyola University New Orleans
Center for International Education, Box 205
New Orleans, LA 70118
Phone: 504-864-7550
Fax: 504-864-7548

  • Copies of your immigration documents: Carry these items separate from your passport and immigration document (I-20 or DS-2019).
  • Letter of acceptance from Loyola: Keep accessible in case the United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) requests to view it at your port of entry into the United States.
  • Money: Bring enough accessible money in cash, debit cards or traveler's checks (approximately US $900) for initial living expenses such as food, household items and transportation. Please, note that while travelers checks are a safer way to bring in money, they are hard to cash in shops and this needs to be done in a bank. Textbooks are quite expensive in the U.S. Budget for US $300 to $600 per semester after initial semester.
  • Medications: A supply of medications for existing medical conditions (if applicable). Prescriptions from abroad cannot be filled in the United States. It is a good idea to have your physician provide you with a description of the prescription medicine(s) you take. You can then consult a United States physician for a prescription that can be filled in the United States.
  • Your driver’s license or international driver’s license.
  • An extra pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  • Photographs, souvenirs, music, crafts, videos, picture books, recipes and clothing from your home country, which you can use to share about your culture with your friends. These items can also be used at the Country Fair, which is an annual event in which international students cook and display tables with information for the Loyola community.
  • You may not enter the US more than 30 days prior to the start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019 Form.
  • If you wish to enter the US prior to the 30-day start date you may be able to enter on a B-2 tourist visa temporarily, but should plan to leave and subsequently re-enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 student status before commencing your program. Please, plan your travel to the US accordingly.

Which Visa Should I Use to Enter the U.S.?

  • F-1 or J-1: You should enter the United States for full-time study using either your F-1 (degree-seeking student) or J-1 (exchange visitor) visa.

  • You should not enter the US on a B-2 tourist visa, if you do not plan to leave the U.S. shortly after your arrival and re-enter in the correct status.
  • In special cases, U.S. consular offices could issue a B-2 visa marked "prospective student" which will allow you to change to F-1 or J-1 status without leaving the US. CIE does not recommend that you enter the US as a "prospective student" because you will not be able to commence your studies until your change of status to F-1 is approved by the USCIS. Generally, it takes the USCIS at least several months to process a change of status application to F-1 and approval of the change of status is not guaranteed.

At the Port of Entry

  • At the port of entry in the US, an immigration officer will examine your I-20 or DS-2019, passport, and entry visa (not applicable to Canadians) and will create an I-94 Admission Record with your arrival data. You can access your form I-94 online here and will have to print out a copy for yourself.
  • After the immigration officer inspects your I-20 or DS-2019 form, please, keep this extremely important immigration document in a secure place.
  • Students must attend the school whose I-20 or DS-2019 form was used to obtain a student visa and to enter the U.S. If, for example, you enter the U.S. on a Form I-20 issued by another university, but then attend Loyola, you will almost certainly have to leave the U.S. shortly after your arrival and re-enter using Loyola's I-20 or DS-2019 Form.
  • Keep in mind that you cannot accept any employment at Loyola unless you hold F-1 or J-1 status valid for attendance at Loyola University New Orleans.


Once you arrive at the U.S. port of entry and complete the immigration inspection, you must go through customs. 

  • You will be asked to declare what you are bringing into the country.
  • In most cases, you will fill out a declaration form on the plane or in the arrival area and make a verbal statement to the official, who may ask to inspect your baggage.
  • Also common are dogs sniffing baggage for illegal drugs.
  • If you are carrying any prescription medication, please, have the prescription form readily available.
  • You may bring your personal use items, such as clothing, jewelry, toiletries, etc., without paying duty. To read more about Customs visit


  • New Orleans can be reached by air from every major city in the U.S. In addition, there are direct flights from Central America and Mexico to New Orleans.
  • The New Orleans International Airport is located approximately 15 miles from Loyola and you can take a taxi or the Airport Shuttle to the University. Taxis cost $36.00 and the Airport Shuttle costs $20.00.
  • Taxis from the airport do not turn on their meters because the prices are fixed. Taxis are located outside the baggage claim area. Tickets for the Airport Shuttle can be purchased by the door near the baggage claim exit.
  • The railroad and bus stations are located downtown, a short distance from the University.

If you know the residence hall in which you are staying, you can tell the driver to take you directly there.

Cabra Hall (Broadway Campus)
7214 St. Charles Ave.

Founders Hall (Broadway Campus)
580 Broadway St.

Biever Hall
200 La Salle Court

Buddig Hall
100 La Salle Court

Francis Family Hall
300 La Salle Court

If you do not know your residence hall and you arrive between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can call the Center for International Education at +1-504-864-7550, or call Residential Life at +1-504-865-2445 for your residence hall and room number. After hours or on the weekend, call the Loyola Department of Public Safety at +1-504-865-3434.

Related Links

Education USA: Comprehensive and timely information about education institutions in the United States and guidance to qualified individuals on how best to access those opportunities.

Study in the States: This website maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers useful tips for students and exchange visitors about arriving at a port of entry, maintaining your status, important immigration documents, travel, employment and more.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP): Information for "temporary residents for work and study" including requirements for visas, arrival procedures for students and exchange visitors, admission into the U.S. and more.

The Office of Biometric Identity Managament (OBIM): The OBIM Identification Services provide visa-issuing posts and ports of entry with the biometric technology that enables the U.S. government to establish and verify your identity when you visit the United States.