Travel to the U.S. and Fairbanks

Traveling to the U.S.

Information on traveilng to the U.S., to include documents needed for entry and what you may encounter during the entry process is detailed in this document.  Important things to remember:

  • When making flight reservations, allow enough time to make connecting flights.  It could take an hour or longer to clear the U.S. Customs and Border Protection checkpoints (Two checkpoints:  1) Immigration and 2) U.S. Customs).
  • Do NOT pack your I-20 or DS-2019 in your luggage.  Carry it with you on the plane.
  • Make sure your passport is stamped with the correct immigration status.

Helpful links:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Know Before You Go

Air travel within the U.S.:  Transportation Security Administration

Travel to Fairbanks

We recommend that you fly into Fairbanks International Airport (airport code FAI).  

On specific days during New Student Orientation, the Nanook Shuttle (a UAF sponsored vehicle) will meet you at the airport and take you to campus housing check-in. Please visit the Orientation Travel Information for the specific times and dates that the Nanook Shuttle will be running.  There is no cost for this service. The shuttle will be running a constant loop from the Fairbanks International Airport to UAF during the days when it is running. We will pick up the first flight of the day and run until the last flight of the day. Be sure to look for a sign with the New Student Orientation logo near the baggage claim area.

If you are a graduate student, you can e-mail your graduate department or supervising professor; it is not unusual for the department to make arrangements for someone to meet a new international student. That said, we cannot guarantee that there will be someone to meet you at the airport — but the sooner you start asking and letting people know your plans, the easier it will be to make arrangements. It is also very easy to take a taxi from the airport to campus.  The ride will cost about $20. Be sure to have enough cash available (in U.S. dollars), in case you need to take a taxi (only some taxis can accept credit cards). If you are living in campus housing, ask the driver to take you to UAF Bartlett Hall (the dorm on the hill) for check-in.

Please note:  it is important to make housing arrangements BEFORE arriving in Fairbanks so that you have somewhere to stay on arrival.  See the Housing page for additional information.

When to Arrive

You should plan on arriving in Fairbanks no later than the Sunday before the first day of classes.  The Residence Halls will open at 8:00 a.m. for occupancy on that day.  If you arrive earlier and will be living on campus, you will need to make separate housing arrangements before that day. 

Local hotels often offer discounts to UAF students who arrive in Fairbanks before the residence halls open. When you contact them, let them know that you are a UAF student who is coming to start school, and that you learned about the discount from Orientation website.

We occasionally receive questions about flying into Anchorage, and driving to Fairbanks. It is 581 kilometers (361 miles) from the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to the UAF campus, taking between 6.5 and 7 hours to drive, weather depending. The drive is beautiful, and the trip takes you through Denali National Park, past Mt. McKinley/Denali (the tallest mountain on the North American continent), but going by taxi or railway will most likely cost you more than flying directly to Fairbanks. 

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