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Pre-Arrival Preparation

student making checklist

Newly Accepted Students

Congratulations on your acceptance to SFA! We are excited to welcome and assist you in your transition to a new future here in the United States.

If you haven't already, review the information in your welcome packet and watch the pre-arrival and orientation videos that were sent to you. These resources will provide information on applying for your student visa, reserving housing, getting transportation to campus, registering for classes and more.

Student visa and entering the United States

Obtaining your U.S. Visa

Use our documentation checklist to prepare everything for your visa appointment at the U.S. embassy/consulate. Details about your specific visa (F-1 or J-1), including current visa policy and procedures, are available on the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Entering the U.S.

Make sure that your experience with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is thorough and efficient. Understand what paperwork you must have in your hand when you enter the U.S.

Arrival date

  • You may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the beginning of the program start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019.
  • If you are arriving on your own and will live on campus, let us know. We must inform Residence Life of your arrival time.
  • If you do not have housing secured at the time of your arrival, you will need to make arrangements to stay at a local hotel. SFA does not have temporary housing.

New student orientation

  • All new students are required to attend Orientation.
  • Students should report to the Office of International Programs no later than 9:30 a.m. on the date indicated in their acceptance letter.
  • Students will need to bring their immigration paperwork (I-20 or DS-2019 and passport).

Transportation to campus

Transportation to Campus

Official SFA pickup: Free shuttle service

The transportation to campus document included with your acceptance packet offers important details on deadlines and registering for free transportation to SFA from Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) the day before new student orientation. Students must reserve a seat on the shuttle by the deadline.

Independent arrival

If you are not participating in our free shuttle service, explore the options below regarding services offered by outside companies:

Note: SFA does not provide transportation to or from these airports.

  • Enterprise is the only car rental company in Nacogdoches.
    • You must be 25 years of age and have a valid driver license.
    • Visit the Enterprise website to explore rates and options.
  • B&T Vans and Shuttles is located in Lufkin (25 miles)
    • This company has taken excellent care of our students for many years.
    • One-way shuttle service to or from IAH costs on average $250.
      • We recommend students coordinate and arrange travel together, allowing the cost to be split among passengers.
    • The owner, Bill Frizzle, invites you to contact him directly by calling 936.414.3190 to schedule your pick-up.

Campus Map

Find your way around your new campus with the official SFA interactive campus map. The Office of International Programs is located in Room 402 on the fourth floor of Dugas Liberal Arts North, No. 14 on the map.


On-Campus Housing

Our guide to securing housing arrangements includes details on requirements and how to apply for housing. Visit the Residence Life Department website for details on places to live, new resident information and more.

Note: All students younger than 21 years of age or with fewer than 60 transfer credit hours are required to live on campus.

Off-Campus Housing

If you are eligible and interested in living off campus, consider joining the SFA International Programs group on Facebook to connect with students who may be looking for roommates.

Student health information

Bacterial Meningitis vaccination record

If you are younger than 22 years of age and have not submitted your Bacterial Meningitis vaccination record to the Office of International Programs:

Health Insurance

All international students* will be enrolled with the SFA health insurance policy each fall and spring semester (summer is optional). The health insurance will be charged directly to your Ebill.

Learn more about SFA's requirement regarding health insurance for international students.

*Student-athletes and nursing students go through their program for required health insurance.

We want to make sure you are prepared and have the information you need before arriving on campus. Our website will be a key tool in answering many of your questions, but we always welcome you to stop by the Office of International Programs to get to know us, or contact us at 936.468.3927 or with any questions you have.


Office of International Programs
Fax: 936.468.7215
Staff directory

Come see us:
Steen Library, Suite 103