Pre-Arrival Guide: Arrival to the United States

Pre-Arrival Guide progress: Arrival to the United StatesU.S. Travel Requirements

For important updates regarding COVID-19, please visit the WMU Immigration Compliance Updates Regarding COVID-19 website.

Stay up-to-date on airline and travel requirements. Students may also reference the WMU Immigration Compliance website for further immigration information.

Due to more security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are checking the status of F-1 and J-1 non-immigrants in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System before admission at port of entry. As a result, many students and exchange visitors have reported being referred to secondary inspection, where their SEVIS record was reviewed. F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors entering the United States should plan to spend 2-3 hours in the secondary inspection and should allow more time for flight connections.

As a reminder, students who received their I-20 electronically should remember to print their I-20 to carry with them through the US port of entry. It is also recommended that students print out course registration to carry with them for proof of some in-person class mode.

Travel to Kalamazoo

By Air

We recommend new students arrive 1-2 days before orientation to rest and adjust to the time change. We recommend students fly directly to the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport (AZO). Even though Chicago and Detroit are nearby, both are at least three hours away by car. 

By Train

If you arrive to Kalamazoo by bus or train you can arrange for transportation to WMU’s main campus by calling a taxi or a ride sharing service

WMU Vaccination and Arriving from International Locations Protocol

WMU has implemented a badging and screening system for on-campus activities. A part of this badging system requires documentation of COVID-19 vaccination, which needs to be verified and reviewed by Sindecuse Health Center staff. Only people who have received all recommended doses of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine or WHO-listed COVID-19 vaccine are considered fully vaccinated for the purpose of public health guidance.

Read Protocol 

Temporary Housing for Early Arrivals

If you arrive before your move-in date, you will need to make arrangements at a hotel or other temporary housing. We recommend that you make hotel reservations prior to your arrival to Kalamazoo. To find out if there is a discount available to you, inform the hotel staff that you are a new Western Michigan University student.

Two hotels that are close to the Western Michigan University campus and provide reputable service are the Comfort Inn and the Staybridge Suites Kalamazoo.

Students with a Residence Hall Contract: 

  • There is an early move-in date for new international students attending International Student Orientation. Students moving in on that date will be billed an additional cost for the nights between the move-in date and the start of their housing contract. 
  • WMU's Residence Life staff may be reached during regular business hours at (269) 387-4735 or via email at
  • Note that linens are not provided in WMU residence halls and apartments. Students must provide their own pillows, sheets (twin extra-long), blankets and towels. 


Before you begin packing, prepare a packing list and check the luggage restrictions of your airline. Review the packing guide for a list of items to bring with you and to purchase after arrival. 

Assistance During Arrival 

Normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET): WMU International Student and Scholar Services is ready to help you during your arrival to Kalamazoo. Please feel free to reach out with questions, concerns, or difficulties!

Phone: +1 (269) 387-5865
Fax: +1 (269) 387-5899

After normal business hours (Saturday-Sunday or after 5 p.m. ET): WMU Public Safety is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week for non-emergency needs. Contact WMU Public Safety at +1 (269) 387-5555.

For police or medical emergencies in the U.S. call 911.

If you need to send things ahead, your WMU temporary mailing address is:

First name, family name, c/o orientation
International Admissions and Services
3110 Faunce Student Services
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49008–5246 U.S.A.


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