West Texas A&M University

Buff Transit Tracker
International Pre-Arrival


Arrival at U.S. Port of Entry
Travel and Transportation to WTAMU
Things to Bring to the U.S.
Things Not to Bring to the U.S.
Canyon and Amarillo

Arrival at U.S. Port of Entry

Plan Arrival

You may be refused entry if you attempt to arrive more than 30 days before the start date on your SEVIS I-20 form.

Carry Documents

If you put documents in your baggage and it's lost or delayed, you won't be able to present your documents at the port of entry. As a result, you may not be able to enter the U.S. Don't place the following in your baggage:

  • Passport
  • SEVIS form I-20
  • Evidence of financial resources
  • Receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797
  • Name and contact information of school official

Complete Paperwork

Upon arrival in the United States you will need to complete a form with your name, date of birth, country of citizenship, passport number and other important information.  This is your arrival record. It is very important you print your name on this card as it appears in your passport. Many students have encountered problems when applying for a U.S. Social Security card if the name on this form does not match the name on the passport. A U.S. Social Security card is required for employment in the U.S.

Port of Entry

You'll go through U.S. customs and immigration for inspection* and be asked to show your passport, visa, and I-20.  The officer may ask questions about your studies. These questions are usually general in nature. It's important to remain friendly, polite, patient and completely honest while going through this process.

*Students from countries on the U.S. Homeland Security or U.S. State Department high alert list may require additional inspection procedures. These countries are Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Students from other countries may also be subject to secondary inspection if the officer at the port of entry cannot initially verify your information or you do not have all the required documentation.

Customs Declarations

Prior to your arrival in the U.S. and while you're on the plane, you'll be given a customs declaration form to declare the amount of money and the value of items you're bringing into the country. You may be asked to pay taxes on money on goods exceeding a certain amount.
Although the inspection at the port of entry is generally efficient, plan on at least two hours of delay. Students requiring additional or special inspection procedures may want to plan for a longer inspection time. This is important if you have to make a connecting flight.
Once inspection and immigration is complete, make certain you have the following:
1. Passport
2. SEVIS I-20 unless taken by port of entry official
Travel and Transportation to WTAMU

Arrival Information

Notify the International Student Office with your flight schedule for transportation arrangements. Email kcombs@wtamu.edu or fax 806-651-2071.

Intensive English students notify the director of ESLI with arrival information. Email Jessica Emerson at jemerson@wtamu.edu

Transportation to WTAMU

When making plans schedule your arrival at the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport to coincide with our office hours. If you arrive between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Central Standard Time), Monday through Friday, the International Student Office staff will arrange pick services.  However, you must provide us with this information by completing an arrival information form. 

If your flight is delayed, contact the office as soon as possible at 806-651-2073. After office hours or in case of emergency, contact the university police department at 806-651-2300 giving your full name, country, airline, the change in plans and a number where you can be reached, if possible. The university police will communicate your message to director Kristine Combs.

If you arrive after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or on a weekend, we will make every possible effort to schedule your pick-up, but if we are unable to do so, you'll need to arrange for taxi transportation to Canyon.

The cost of taxi service is about $50 -$60 U.S. dollars. Service can be found outside the baggage claim. You can also call 806-358-8350 (Airport Taxi Service).

Things to Bring to the U.S.

Due to the International airline baggage limitations, it is generally advisable that you bring only what you absolutely need, and plan to purchase the other items upon your arrival. Part of the international student orientation includes transportation to local stores where you can buy the various items needed.

However, there are some things you would want to bring from home.

Things to pack in your carry-on bag:

Important Documents

  • Airline tickets
  • Passport
  • SEVIS form I-20
  • Evidence of financial resources
  • Receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797
  • Name and contact information of school official

              Kristine Combs
              Director of International Student Office
              West Texas A&M University

  • Official academic transcripts and English translations


Bring enough money for your initial expenses. Make sure to bring enough small bills ($1s, $5s, and $10s). You will need them to tip the taxi driver or buy a quick snack from the vending machine.

Contact Information

A list of the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses of key contacts, both in the US and at home, including the contact information for friends and family who live in the U.S.

Medical Records

Medical and dental records, including immunization and vaccination records and prescriptions, eyeglasses, insurance records.

Driver’s License

If you have a valid international driver's license, bring it with you.

Things to pack in check-in luggage:


Canyon has an average of 264 sunny days a year with a mild, dry climate. During the summer months (June to September), temperatures often reach the 90’s. Light weight clothing is worn during these months. The winter months (late October to March), require warm clothing and an overcoat. Temperatures sometimes drop below freezing during winter and it occasionally snows.

Bring a variety of clothing for the changing seasons. Students usually wear casual clothing. Both men and women wear trousers, blue jeans, short pants, shirts, sweaters and jackets. Men will find a suit or jacket and tie appropriate for more formal occasions. Women will probably want a few dresses, skirts and blouses. Traditional, national attire is appropriate for many occasions.

It is better to bring clothes that are easy to care for, such as “wash and wear” items. Coin-operated washing and drying facilities are available in campus residence halls and in some off-campus apartment buildings, as well as at nearby laundromats. Dry cleaning is more expensive.


If you plan to bring any electrical appliances or computer equipment, remember the electrical current used for small appliances in the U.S. is 120 volts, 60Hz and require two flat-pronged plugs. Appliances from outside the U.S may require adapters which can be purchased at local stores.

Cultural Items

The international student office hosts an annual cultural event called International expo which highlights the cultural heritage of foreign students attending WTAMU. We encourage you to bring items of cultural interest such as traditional clothing, music and photos for this and various other events.

Things Not to Bring to the U.S.

Food from Home

U.S. Customs prohibits travelers from bringing any fresh fruit, vegetables and meat from other countries. More information.

Large Amounts of Cash

Do not bring large amounts of cash as it can easily be stolen or misplaced. It is better to wire funds to the university for tuition and fee payments or bring a credit card that is operational in the U.S.  For information on wire transfers to the university for the payment of tuition, please inquire with the international office. 

Non-Prescription Medicines

Students bringing prescription medication to the U.S. should bring a physician's letter stating what the drug is, what it treats and the quantity. The note must be in English. Some medications used in other countries are considered illegal in the U.S., are not permitted and may be confiscated.

Canyon and Amarillo


Canyon is a community with 14,000 residents. The addition of 8,900 university students makes Canyon a wonderful place to live and study. It is a safe and friendly town with a welcoming atmosphere towards our international students. Students will find most services needed are located on campus or within walking distance of the campus.


Located in the center of the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo offers all the conveniences of big city living in a friendly and small town atmosphere. The Amarillo area has much to offer residents and tourists alike. From the beauty of Palo Duro Canyon (27 miles southeast of Amarillo and 12 miles east of Canyon) to our quality educational system, from restaurants to a variety of recreational activities, Amarillo is certain to have something to offer almost everyone.