Title

Arrival Dates

New incoming international students should plan to arrive on campus mid-January for the Spring semester and mid-August for the Fall semester. It is important to note that the International Pre-Orientation is mandatory for new international students; it takes place before the Fall and Spring Orientations. Specific date information will be mailed to you well-before arrival so you are able to plan accordingly.

Travel Documents

  • valid passport (valid for 6 months longer that the length of your trip) 
  • valid student (F-1 or J-1) visa for those who need it (Canadian passport holders are visa-exempt)  
  • I-20 for the F-1 students (print it out and carry it “on paper”); DS-2019 for the J-1 students and scholars.  

Continuing students need to have a recent travel signature on their I-20. Contact isss@ithaca.edu if you need a new I-20 with a travel signature. 

Optional travel documents for students:  

  • Financial certification documents
  • Admission letter
  • Printout of your Fall 2021 class schedule  

Travel bans and NIE: 

The U.S. State Department updated their guidelines for National Interest Exceptions for travelers from countries that still have COVID-related travel bans. The following countries and regions are currently included: China, Brazil, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen area, South Africa and the United Kingdom. According to the State Department’s website, students with valid F-1 and J-1 visas intending to begin or continue an academic program beginning August 1, 2021, or later “do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel. They may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies. Students subject to these proclamations due to their presence in a restricted country may qualify for an NIE only if their academic program begins August 1 or later. Optional Practical Training (OPT) is considered an academic program. Students seeking to apply for new F-1, J-1, or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate. According to the State Department, “Those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified ... will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel.” We recommend that students and exchange visitors carry a copy of the relevant announcement with their other travel documents. 

Travel Arrangements

Flying to the United States

Start working on your travel itinerary as early as you can to arrange your trip to the US. A note of caution, though: the US Department of State recommends that international travelers wait until they have secured a visa to the US before purchasing non-refundable plane tickets.

Getting to Campus

By plane to Ithaca:

You can fly to Ithaca directly!  Our local airport -- the Ithaca Tompkins County Airport (ITH) receives flights by American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines, please see flyithaca.com

By Plane to Syracuse:

Another option is to fly to Syracuse, NY, a larger city north of Ithaca, which is served by most major American airline carriers.  More information on the Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) is available at www.syrairport.org. From Syracuse, you can take a ride directly to the Ithaca College campus offered by one of our local transportation companies, for example:

Big D’s Limos – you can contact them at NEL184@gmail.com or Book@BigDsLimos.com or call them at + 607-273-3030 to make the booking. They charge an average of $100 for transportation from Syracuse Airport (SYR) to campus. In your initial email, let them know you are an international student looking for a ride from the SYR to IC and when (date and time of your scheduled arrival at SYR) and they will assist you with the booking and payment for the ride.

Ithaca Dispatch – you can contact them at ithacadispatchcalltaker@gmail.com or call them at + 607-277-7777. They charge an average of $155 for transportation from SYR to campus. In your initial email, let them know you are an international student looking for a ride from the SYR to IC and when you are traveling (date and time of your scheduled arrival at SYR) and they will assist you with the booking and payment for the ride.

The reservation needs to be made in advance. That way the car and driver can be at the Syracuse airport (which is about an hour away) to wait for you when you land there and they will bring you to campus.

By Bus from SYR to IC:

Depending on your travel schedule, you may be able to use a bus ride offered by ourbus.com/routes/syracuseairport-to-ithaca or trailways.com/.

By Train from Syracuse to IC:

There is no train station in Ithaca, the nearest train station is in Syracuse – so if you decide to take the train, you will need to book a shuttle ride to campus, see above for suggestions on local transportation companies. Make sure that you book your ride in advance!

By Bus to Ithaca from NYC:

Coach USA web.coachusa.com/shortline/ or Greyhound www.greyhound.com will take you from the Port Authority in Manhattan to the Ithaca Bus Station. Another option is the express service offered by OurBus ourbus.com/.

A note on ground transportation from the airports in New York City:

There are three major international airports in New York City:

  1. Newark newarkairport.com/
  2. JFK jfkairport.com/  &
  3. LaGuardia laguardiaairport.com/

Each of these websites have a “To & From” section where you can find information about traveling from the airport to NYC. After you go through passport control, collect your luggage and go through customs, proceed to Ground Transportation where you can embark on the transportation mode of your choice (AirTrain, MTA Subway or bus, taxi, etc.) to fit your needs. The Ground Transportation desk can also offer you information on transportation options and answer your questions.

CoachUSA operates a shuttle and an express bus service which can take you to the Port Authority Bus Terminal or Bryant Park to catch a bus to Ithaca.

If you need assistance, look for the information desk near the exit of the Arrivals Terminal at the airport or ask uniformed officials for help.  Don't be shy about asking people to repeat any directions or instructions you do not understand or ask them to write things down for you.  Slow down or speak more clearly if they look uncertain about what you are saying.   New Yorkers are known for their fast, abrupt and loud communication style; don't be offended if they address you in this way, just ask for clarification.  Do not accept assistance with directions, rides, or help with your luggage from non-uniformed persons; if in doubt, look for an airline official or a uniformed police officer.

Arrival Information

If you are arriving on your own (if you are not accompanied by friends or family and if you are not going directly to a hotel in Ithaca) and you would like a member of our staff to meet you at the Ithaca bus stop or the Ithaca airport, please send us your detailed travel information as soon as you have it, as well as an e-mail address and phone number we can use to reach you while you are traveling. We will do our best to assist you -- we will send you a confirmation e-mail with the relevant details.

How to get to Ithaca College

If you have notified us ahead of time and we have confirmed a pick-up service for you, we will do our best to be at the bus stop or airport to meet you and bring you to campus.  If, however, something happens outside of our control or your travel plans have been altered, be prepared to make it to Ithaca College on your own by taking a taxi – there are usually taxis waiting at the airport or bus station, or you can call one by dialing +607-277-7777.  Ask the driver to take you to Ithaca College; the ride should cost about $20; additional charges for extra luggage may apply.   If you have a lot of luggage or if there are several of you traveling together, give that information to the taxi company when you call, so they can send a larger car or a van. Uber and Lyft and an option as well.

If you are driving to IC with relatives or friends, please go to ithaca.edu/about/driving-directions for directions to campus. An interactive campus map is available at map.ithaca.edu/

Phone numbers for the road

Please, have these numbers with you when you travel and call us if there is a change in your travel plans or if you have an emergency. Our office phone number is 607-274-3306.  You can also e-mail us: Diana at ddimitrova@ithaca.edu and isss@ithaca.edu. Or use the WhatsApp group if appropriate (do not send personal information to the listserv or the chat group).

In the event of an emergency, please call Ithaca College Campus Safety at +607-274-3333, they are open all the time and they will be able to assist you in contacting us right away. 

Where to Stay

If you will be living on campus: you can check into your residence hall on the day you signed up for arrival. If you will be living off-campus or if you plan to arrive in Ithaca prior to the date the residence halls open, you must secure off-campus accommodations.  A list of local motels and hotels is available at ithaca.edu/ithacaguide.  Book your hotel reservations as early as possible!   Please note: there is no on-campus housing for family, friends, or guests – if family or friends will be accompanying you to Ithaca, make sure they book a place to stay as early as possible!

More Information

There is additional information you may find helpful on our web site ithaca.edu/oip/international.htm.  You can also contact our office by phone at +607-274-3306 or via email at isss@ithaca.edu. We will also continue to use our WhatsApp group chat.whatsapp.com/J3pqExNArflFKUtyRsxrt0.

More information on the city of Ithaca is available at downtownithaca.com

As you prepare for your trip to Ithaca, you may also enjoy reading the online editions of local newspapers:

The Ithacan, IC’s student newspaper, can be found at theithacan.org
The Ithaca Journal, the daily city paper, is online at theithacajournal.com
The Ithaca Times, a weekly area paper, is available at ithacatimes.com
The 14850, an online area news magazine is at 14850.com/