Welcome to Office of Student Engagement: International Student Life
The Office of Student Engagement (OSE) is the main resource for international students at Fairfield University. The OSE is responsible for advising all non-immigrant students on immigration issues such as:
- The issuance of Forms I-20 or DS-2019
- The procedures to obtain a U.S. visa
- Changing your Immigration status
- Travel authorizations
Moreover, the OSE provides personal advising involving information on medical health insurance, campus life, and adapting to student life in the United States.
If you have not already done so, you will need to submit your required health and immunization forms (visit http://www.fairfield.edu/lifeatfairfield/healthsafety/healthcenter/immunizations/) to the Student Health Center. While you can receive immunizations here on campus, I would recommend that you get them in your home country because they will be much cheaper! Fairfield's health insurance is mandatory, so please do not purchase health insurance in your home country.
Entering the Country
When your visa is approved you will get your passport back with the visa stamped on it, along with a sealed envelope containing your Form I-20.Please be aware that you are not allowed to come into the country until 30 days before the beginning of your program. On the plane (or mode of transportation) you will be given the I-94 card; make sure you fill it out correctly. When you arrive in the United States, a border inspector will review your documents and may interview you. After verifying that you have a valid passport, a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, and that the information contained therein corresponds with the information that the University entered into its database prior to printing the forms, the immigration officer will return to you your copy of the I-20 or DS-2019 and give you the I-94 card stamped and stapled to your passport. Do not detach it from the passport because it is easily lost. It will be removed from your passport when you leave the United States. On the other hand, your I-20 student copy or your DS-2019 is a permanent record of your legal presence in the United States. It should not be taken from you. If you intend to leave the United States temporarily (vacation periods), you must have this I-20 or DS-2019 signed by someone in the Office of Student Engagement or by your program sponsor (if applicable) in order to be readmitted to the United States.
The visa that you obtain from the embassy allows you to apply for entry into the United States. Your I-20 or DS-2019, after review at the port of entry, determines whether or not you will be admitted. If admitted, you may remain in the United States even if your visa expires. Your legal presence depends upon the validity of the I-20 or DS-2019. If your visa does expire while you are in the United States, you may remain here as long as your I-20 or DS-2019 is active, but if you leave the country, you must obtain a new visa. For more information on this, check the Travel page.
After being processed through the U.S. Public Health and Naturalization Station, pick up your luggage at the baggage claim area and proceed to the U.S. Customs Inspection Station where the Federal Inspection process is completed. Here, you present the Customs Declaration form, which you filled out on the plane. Do not bring fruits, plants, or meats. Possession of these items may require additional inspection, resulting in delay.
You may bring any amount of currency, but if you are carrying more than $5,000, you will need to fill out a reporting form.
Transportation from the Airport
Most students come into the United States through Kennedy Airport in New York City. Others arrive through LaGuardia Airport in New York City or through Newark Airport in New Jersey.
Fairfield University is an hour and fifteen minutes by car from Kennedy or LaGuardia, barring heavy traffic. Newark Airport is two hours from Fairfield. There are two public means of transportation from these airports:
Connecticut Limousine travels from Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark Airports to Bridgeport, Connecticut. From Bridgeport, a 7-minute taxi ride, approximately $7 including tip, is available to the University campus. Contact Connecticut Limousine for current rates and fares.
Prime Time travels from Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Airports directly to the Fairfield University campus and they offer a special rate for Fairfield students. Contact Prime Time for current rates and fares. We prefer this service because it will bring you directly to campus.
You may contact either Connecticut Limousine or Prime Time at the Ground Transportation Desk in the baggage claim area of the terminal. Pick up the phone of the carrier that you choose to hire and tell the dispatcher that you would like to go to Fairfield University. He/she will give you further directions.
Although Bradley International Airport is in Hartford, Connecticut, we do not recommend that you travel there. It is farther away than New York, and transportation to the University is not as frequent and is more expensive.
If you want to take the train from New York City, take the Metro-North train (to New Haven) from Grand Central Station to the Fairfield station. At the Fairfield train station (same side you arrive on), you will find the office to Fairfield Cab. By going there you can get a taxi to bring you to campus. A one-way trip is approximately $7. Their telephone number is (203) 255-5797.
If you are coming from Boston, take the Amtrak train and connect either at New Haven or Bridgeport. From either New Haven or Bridgeport you can take a Metro-North train to the Fairfield station. You can then take Fairfield Cab to campus. If you have any questions, or need special accommodations, please contact International Student Life at (203) 254-4110, or by e-mail.