The first steps…

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Lao Tzu

After being cooped up in a metal tube half way across the world, you’re finally back on solid ground… unfamiliar, solid ground. First things first, keep these things in mind at the airport:

  • After leaving the plane proceed towards the immigration counter. The queues tend to be really long, especially at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
  • The immigration officer will look at your forms and passport. Be ready with your I-20, before you get to the counter. The officer may ask you some questions about why you want to be admitted into the US – be honest, and calm. You’re coming to one of the best schools out there, you deserve it.
  • The officer will return the custom form and other documents. Unlike the old procedure, you will not be given a paper I-94 form, you can download that from here instead anytime afterwards. Keep this with you for future use.
  • Pick up your bags from the luggage claim area and proceed towards the customs area.
  • Normally they ask you if are carrying any fruit, vegetables, spices, bay-leaves, papad, pickles etc. Declare whatever you have.

To get from Chicago to Champaign:

  • Some of the most popular shuttle services are the Peoria Charter Coach Company, and Express Air Coach (EAC) Shuttle. You will need to buy a ticket beforehand from India. Do this as soon as your itinerary is confirmed, since it can be a busy time.
  • ISSS sometimes runs a shuttle service. Check their e-mails to your account regularly for information.
  • There are some groups on Facebook made by Indian students who are coming to UIUC .These groups will be particularly helpful in locating other students in your region who are coming to UIUC too. Its a nice place to look for prospective roommates as well!