Travel and Arrival on Campus

Updated 12/3/2021: Due to COVID-19, traveling via Canada is not an option for Spring 2022.

Check these resources before making your travel plans:

Center for Disease Control, US

Department of State (See travel section)


All international students should plan to arrive on campus for Pre-Orientation. Non-Canadian international students should ideally make their final destination the airport in Syracuse, NY (airport code SYR - 2.5 hour drive to campus). Other pick-up cities are also mentioned below. Canadian students should fly to Ottawa International Airport (airport code YOW -- 1.5 hour drive to campus). 

Please be sure to calculate transportation time from the airport to campus into your travel plans to assure that you arrive on campus during the arrival window.  Non-Canadian students with valid visas for Canada can arrive by air to either Ottawa or Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal (airport code YUL - 2.5 hour drive to campus), but please verify your eligibility to transit through Canada with our office prior to your booking flights.

Please Note:  Do NOT hire a taxi to get from New York City to Canton.  It is much too far and very expensive.  (It takes approximately 8 hours to drive from NYC to Canton.)

All international students must complete the Arrival Notification Form that notifies us of your planned arrival date and time so that we know where to meet you whether it is at an airport or on campus. Once you submit your completed Arrival Notification Form, we will arrange for transportation from the airport to St. Lawrence. Please submit the form by the deadline. The cost for transportation from Syracuse, Ottawa and Montreal to campus is $40 and will be billed to your student account. Other options are Watertown, Ogdensburg, Saranac Lake, Brockville (train), Cornwall (train) ,Massena and Plattsburgh for $25. This service is coordinated by SLU Transportation Services. If you plan to travel to campus by car, you will find driving directions and other travel information here

Important Note: Your visa will allow you to enter the country no more than 30 days prior to the program start date on your I-20, so if you wish to travel in the US prior to traveling to campus, please plan accordingly.

Arrival at U.S. Customs

You will proceed through US customs at your first US arrival airport or border station. 

Remember to ask for help from airline agents/staff, airport staff or fellow passengers. There are many people ready to assist you on this journey.

  1. Know which documents to carry

New students:

  • Admissions documents
  • Financial documents (award letter, bank statement if applicable)
  • SEVIS fee receipt (mandatory): you can pay the fee and print this receipt here . If your record was transferred to us, you can simply print the receipt on the same website.
  • Valid F-1 visa (mandatory except for citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt). Please do not use another visa such as ESTA or B visa.
  • Valid passport (mandatory)
  • Valid I-20 (mandatory)
  • Letter from the University
  • List of courses or be able to explain that courses are not fully online

During your arrival interview at your first point of entry

If you are pulled in for secondary inspection, do:

  • Do remain calm and realize that it is just part of a procedure.
  • Review any documents they ask you to sign.
  • Do call Campus Security at +1 – 315-229-5555 (Save this number on your phone and your emergency contacts) if they allow you to make a phone call

Travel Tips

  1. If you are using SLU transportation services and your travel plans change, please reach out to Transportation Services at or +1-315-229-5555, 315-229-7777.
  2. Do know the COVID testing requirements for your airline and the University
  3. Do download Outlook App and use your SLU email
  4. Download airline apps: most airline have useful apps where you can get notifications or check-in 24 hours ahead of your travel.
  5. Pay attention to airport announcements. Gates could change last minute.
  6. Know where you are going: check airport maps in advance
  7. Know the baggage requirements (checked vs. carry-on) for international travel.
  8. Check the website of your airline for details
  9. Keep your baggage tag in a safe place. Usually they stick it to your passport.
  10. Make your baggage stand out by putting a ribbon, sticker or another identifier on it
  11. Carry valuables and important documents with you in a backpack or safe travel bag.
  12. Travel with a set of clothes in your carry-on luggage in case your checked luggage gets delayed. Never put irreplaceable items in your checked luggage.
  13. Pack lightly: mask, documents, medicine, essentials, snack, water.
  14. Know you cannot bring with you .
  15. Know Transportation Services Administration (TSA) rules so that you know what to expect once you arrive at an airport.
  16. Do not agree to carry items that belong to a stranger!

Meeting your St. Lawrence University driver once you arrive in the U.S.

Pick up Locations:
Syracuse Airport:  Near exiting doors for Terminal A / Baggage Carousel A1.  The Syracuse Airport terminal maps is linked here.  
Syracuse Train/Bus: Out through front doors

Ottawa Airport (NOT A CURRENT OPTION due to the COVID-19 Pandemic): Arrival deck pillar # 4 outside . The Ottawa Airport terminal maps is linked here.
Montreal Airport (NOT A CURRENT OPTION due to the COVID-19 Pandemic): Departure deck between pillar #8 and # 9 still outside 

St. Lawrence driver will meet you there. The vehicle is white in color and usually has St. Lawrence written on it. Shuttles to campus are planned for times when they will be full. You may have to wait for your driver at times. If you would like to know when your driver would arrive, please call Transportation Services at 315-229-7777 or Security and Safety at 315-229-5555.

Arriving on Campus
Once you arrive on campus, you will report to the Residence Life Office if it is during normal business hours (8:00 am - 5:00 pm) or to Safety and Security. You will receive a packet of information which will include the combination that will open the door to your residence hall room and your Student Identification Card (if you provided a picture to us in advance).  If you did not provide a picture, you can have one taken at Safety and Security once you arrive.  Your student ID will give you access to campus buildings, including your residence hall.  Also enclosed in your packet you will find both the international student pre-orientation schedule and the new student orientation schedule.  These will tell you where you need to be and when you should be there.

Emergency Contact Information
If you have any travel problems, please call Campus Security and Safety at any time of day or night.  They can be reached at 315-229-5555 and will locate the appropriate person to assist you.