Travel & Accommodation
Once you have received your U.S. student visa, you can make your airline reservations and prepare for your arrival to the United States. We advise students to make arrangements in advance to secure your travel arrangements and temporary housing
Travel and Entry to the U.S.
There are no direct international flights to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We recommend flying to a major airport in the U.S. and taking a connecting flight to Baton Rouge and allowing for at least 3-4 hours between your initial U.S. arrival and your connecting flight to go through the U.S. Port of Entry and U.S. Customs.
U.S. Immigration rules allow you to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your I-20/DS-2019. However, International Services (ISO) recommends that you arrive only a few days before the program start date on your I-20/DS-2019 due to limited temporary housing. Please be aware that the program start date on your I-20/DS-2019 is the day before the mandatory International Student Orientation. If you anticipate delays and expect to arrive later than the program start date or decide not to attend LSU, please notify International Services by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should you fly to New Orleans?
You can choose to schedule a flight to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, but be aware that there is no public transportation system that goes from the New Orleans airport to Baton Rouge. The nearest Greyhound bus station is 20-30 minutes away from the airport (1001 Loyola Avenue, downtown New Orleans). Depending on your flight’s arrival time and the remaining bus departure times to Baton Rouge, you may need to be prepared to stay in the city of New Orleans overnight and schedule a bus departure for the next day. For bus information, visit Greyhound.com.
U.S. Port of Entry and U.S. Customs
During your flight to the United States, flight attendants should distribute a Customs Declaration Form for you to complete. If your dependents are traveling with you, you only need to complete one declaration form for your family. You will be required to provide the Customs Declaration Form to a U.S. Customs official after you have collected your luggage.
The first airport in the United States where you arrive is called your Port of Entry (POE), and you will have to go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) before you can go to your connecting flight to Baton Rouge. You must present your passport and your I-20/DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility to the border officer at your port of entry, and the officer may ask you a few questions while processing your papers.
I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
The I-94 is the arrival/departure record issued by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer to international visitors entering the United States. The I-94 determines your lawful status and the benefits that you can have while you are in the U.S. as an F-1/J-1 student. Other U.S. government agencies use the I-94 for various purposes.
Upon your arrival to Louisiana, you should be able to access your I-94 admission record information online. ISO highly recommends that you retrieve your I-94 record, print it out and bring it with you to the International Student Orientation program.
Note: You will not have an I-94 record until after you have entered the U.S. and are processed by a CBP official at the U.S. port of entry.
If something in your paperwork is not clear to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, they may ask you to proceed to secondary inspection. There is no reason to be alarmed if you are asked to go along for some additional questions. All legitimate students will make it through the process without difficulties, but it is very important to have all of your documents with you, that you answer all questions politely but briefly, and that you not tell the officer anything he/she did not ask for as this may lead to misunderstandings.
If there are problems with your documents, you may be allowed to enter the U.S. with a Form I-515A, which allows you to stay in the U.S. for 30 days. If you receive an I-515A, you must come to International Services as soon as possible upon your arrival to campus so that our office can assist you with necessary paperwork to extend your lawful stay in the U.S.
If you are denied admission to the U.S., try to call our advisors immediately at +1-225-578-3191 (or +1-225-252-0582) on weekends or between 4:30 p.m.-8:00 a.m. Monday-Friday). Be extremely cautious about arguing with CBP officials. The officials can decide to issue an expedited removal which entails a five-year ban on future admission to the U.S., and there is no appeals process if such a procedure is deemed necessary by CBP. You may be able to inform the CBP officers that you are willing to consider withdrawing your application for entering the United States rather than being subject to expedited removal.
Students can choose to live on campus in a residence hall, apartment or residential college, or can choose to live off campus. If you are considering living off-campus, please note there are many apartments in Baton Rouge. You may want to locate an apartment near campus and along the LSU Tiger Trails bus route or Baton Rouge's Capital Area Transit System (CATS) if you do not plan on purchasing a car.
If you plan to bring your family to the United States as your F-2/J-2 dependents, we recommend that you arrive first to give yourself several weeks to make housing arrangements and to take care of your own affairs before your family arrives. Please be aware that on-campus residence halls cannot accommodate families or friends who may be traveling to LSU with you. The Cook Hotel is an on-campus hotel with guest rooms and suites that are available to anyone. You also can do an online search for other hotels/motels that are close to campus and along the LSU Tiger Trails bus route or Baton Rouge’s Capital Area Transit System (CATS).