West Texas A&M University

Buff Transit Tracker
International Pre-Arrival

Pre-Arrival

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

Travel to the USA

Baggage Limitation

Check with your travel agent or the airline on how many bags (weight and size) you're allowed to check-in and how many “carry on” items (weight and size) are allowed in the aircraft.

If you're unable to bring all the items you need, you might send some things ahead of time to the International Student Office. Note: only one box may be shipped to the International Student Office due to space limitations.

Address:
West Texas A&M University
International Student Office
Attn: Kristine Combs
2403 Russell Long Boulevard
Canyon, TX  79015
U.S.A.

Each box should be clearly marked with your name and return address. Email Kristine Combs or fax 806-651-2071 with your name and the box's expected date of arrival.

Neither West Texas A&M University nor the International Student Office is responsible for lost or broken items. If you send items and fail to come to WTAMU, you will be responsible for return shipping costs.

Carry-On Items

Bring at least two sets of personal clothing and personal grooming items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush or comb on the airplane with you in case your luggage is temporarily lost.

Visit the Transportation Security Administration for more information about carry on restrictions.

Prohibited items

Certain items are prohibited or restricted in the U.S. Items are listed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Some prescription drugs as well as some agriculture items are restricted or prohibited in the U.S.

Prescription Drugs

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.

Arrival at U.S. Port of Entry

Plan Arrival

You may be refused entry if you attempt to arrive more than 60 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

Prior to your arrival in the U.S. and while you're on the plane, you'll be given a form to record your entry into the U.S. This form is called the I-94 card. 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 the I-94 does not match the name on the passport. A U.S. Social Security card is required for employment in the U.S. For complete details on how to complete the I-94, visit U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Port of Entry

You'll go through U.S. customs and immigration for inspection* and be asked to show your passport, visa, I-20 and I-94 card. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions about admission to the United States

*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 or goods exceeding a certain amount.
 
Although the inspection at the port of entry is generally efficient, plan on at least an hour 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. I-94 arrival/departure record (often stapled in your passport by official)
3. SEVIS I-20 unless taken by port of entry official
4. Any additional letters or documents relating to financial support, scholarships, etc.
 
Travel Safety
 
Be cautious if you stay overnight at a port of entry like New York, Los Angeles or Dallas. While most Americans will be helpful and honest, there's a possibility of someone trying to take advantage of you.
 
If you stay overnight in the city, ask about the availability of bus or limousine service from the airport to the hotel when you make your reservation. Hotels sometimes provide free transportation. If you need a taxi, use only those clearly marked as “TAXI” with a properly identified driver. Tell the driver where you need to go and ask how much it will cost. Most drivers are familiar with the cost of traveling to area hotels.  

Travel and Transportation to WTAMU

Arrival Information

Notify the International Student Office with your flight schedule for transportation arrangements. Email Kristine Combs or fax 806-651-2071.

Intensive English students notify the director of ESLI with arrival information. Email Margaret Tate or fax 806-651-2978.

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 pick you up at the airport.

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 $45 to $50 U.S. dollars. Service can be found outside the baggage claim. You can also call 806-358-8350 (Airport Taxi Service) or 806-374-8444 (Yellow Cab Service). Coin operated telephones are located throughout the airport and require .50 to $1 U.S. coins.

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
               806-651-2074

  • Official academic transcripts and English translations

Money

Bring enough money for your initial expenses. However, you do not want to carry thousands of dollars in cash with you. Always bring additional money in the form of traveler's checks or money orders.

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:

Clothing

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.

Electronics

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.

Many students choose to bring laptop computers with them from home. Apart from the Internet access at the open access computer lab, WTAMU also has wireless Internet services available at some designated areas on campus enabling you to use your laptop.  Also, most of the residence halls on campus provide access to Internet.

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.

Books

You can bring reference books and novels that you enjoy reading. Carry a good bilingual dictionary, if needed to assist your translation.

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. Bring your money in the form of a traveler’s checks or money orders and deposit the money once you open your bank account here.

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.

240 Voltage Appliances

Do not bring 240-volt appliances as these are not compatible with the 110-volt sockets in U.S. 

Canyon and Amarillo

Canyon

Canyon is a community with 13,000 residents. The addition of 7,500 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.

Amarillo

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.