Arrival Information

If you wish to be picked up at the Charleston airport by the Center for International Education (a service that is free of charge for our incoming students) you must book your transportation to arrive in Charleston on the REQUIRED date for arrival set by CIE: Wednesday January 5th. CIE works closely with the CofC campus to coordinate international student move-ins. We hope to offer airport pick-ups pending COVID-19 pandemic conditions. A decision will be made and communicated to you later in the summer. Please note, if you choose to arrive on another date, you will need to arrange your own transportation from the airport, secure a place to stay off-campus, and arrange for transportation to your residence hall once it opens on January 5th. The only exception for arriving on a date other than the required date is if you will be living off campus and do not wish to be picked up from the airport. Degree seeking students: you must register for CofC New Student Orientation. CIE will work with you to make appropriate arrangements, but you must complete the travel form linked below for us to be able to coordinate your arrival.

Travel to Charleston

As you begin to make plans for your travel to Charleston, you may find the following information helpful. Charleston can be reached easily by commercial airline from major ports of entry such as New York, Washington DC, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Los Angeles or San Francisco. The city is also served by the Greyhound bus company and Amtrak train service. Several major airlines serve Charleston such as Delta, US Air, and United. The airport is approximately 20 minutes from the College of Charleston campus by taxi. Taxi/Shuttle service is also available from the railroad and bus station. Students regularly experience delays in the North Eastern airports (New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia) so we recommend you try to connect through the Atlanta, GA airport.

If you cannot be met upon your arrival to the airport because of unexpected schedule changes and you will be living on campus, take a taxi/shuttle from the airport to the Public Safety Office on campus. The telephone number there is 1.843.953.4980 Public Safety is located at 81 B St Philip Street in the ground floor of the St Philip parking garage. An officer will assist you with your on-campus housing.

Travel Plans:

Once you have made your travel plans to Charleston, please share them with CIE and register them here. This form must completed by Monday, December 13th, so that we can know when to expect you and and coordinate arrangements accordingly.

Traveling to the United States:

If you are F or J status and are entering from outside of the United States, you can enter up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 form.
Always hand-carry your immigration documents!  Do NOT check the following documents in your baggage:
  • Your passport
  • Your SEVIS form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Acceptance letter from the College of Charleston
  • SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
  • Name and contact information for your "Designated School Official" as listed on your I-20, or "Responsible Officer" as listed on your DS-2019. This is Melissa Ochal, Associate Director at the Center for International Education and you will receive her contact information via email. 
They must be completed prior to landing. Students will need to print off their I-94 record online after they have arrived in the United States.
As you arrive at the Port of Entry have the following documents ready:
  • Passport
  • SEVIS form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Arrival/Departure Record Form I-94
  • Proof of funding
  • Acceptance Letter
All visitors entering the U.S. must state their reason for wishing to enter the country. You may also be asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important that you tell them that you will be a student at the College of Charleston.
If you forget any of these documents or you have packed them in your checked luggage, you may be asked to go into secondary inspection. There is a chance that you will not be admitted to the United States because you do not have proper documentation or you may be given a I-515A. If you receive an I-515A, please notify Melissa Ochal at the CIE upon your arrival in Charleston.
You can find additional information about what to expect upon arriving the United States through the Study in the States website.