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Pre-Arrival Information


Entering the U.S.

You should not enter the U.S. until you have your Student (F-1) Visa. [If you have not yet applied for your visa, please click the link for visa information on our homepage.] When you board the plane for the U.S., have these documents with you:

  • Your passport (which must be valid for at least six months after your arrival date)
  • Your F-1 student visa
  • Your I-94 card ( it is usually stapled in your passport)

When you enter customs in the U.S., you may be fingerprinted and photographed. This is part of a new security screening program, called US-Visit, which began in January of 2004. This program is designed to help prevent terrorism in the U.S.

IMPORTANT! We cannot accept students on B visas

What to Expect in Houstonflags

  • Houston is a large, multicultural city. There are many activities, stores and people from other cultures, and you will be welcome.
  • Houston has mild to warm weather. The average winter temperature is 16ºC. It does not snow in Houston. Summers are warm and humid, with average temperatures around 30ºC. Bring cool cotton clothing for summer and light jackets and sweaters for winter.
  • Houstonians use air conditioning in houses and buildings during the summer months. You may need to use a light sweater indoors until you adjust to this.
  • Clothing, food, and personal items are fairly inexpensive in Houston.
  • Many cultural restaurants are available. Meal prices vary from $5.00 for fast food to $12.00 for an average meal. Grocery prices are low.
  • Entertainment is readily available in Houston and prices are reasonable. Sports, nightclubs, movies, performing arts, and amusement parks are just a few of the recreations available.
  • Medical treatment is expensive in the U.S. Use traveler's insurance and be prepared to purchase university insurance to protect yourself.

Getting from the Airport to your Destination

Students coming to Houston usually come to Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The university no longer arranges airport pick-up. However, a Houston company called Student Transportation Service offers airport pick-up. If you desire this service, you must set it up for yourself prior to arrival. To do so, email: Students may also take a taxi cab, an airport shuttle bus which brings them to a destination in downtown Houston, or a city bus.

Coming to the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown is open between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Students who arrive at the airport on the weekend or later than 3:00 p.m. on a work day should plan to go directly to their housing location.

When you come to the university, be prepared to register for your courses. You will need your passport, I-20 and I-94 card. You will pay for your classes at registration, so bring a credit card (Visa, Mastercard or Discover), U.S. check, money order, or cash. Be careful, we do not recommend traveling around town with a lot of cash.


If you have not yet established housing, please click on the housing information on our homepage. It is better to secure your housing before you arrive.


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Last updated or reviewed on 1/15/10

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