Airport scene with plane and chairs

Booking Flights

When you make travel arrangements from abroad, it is important to know that Syracuse, New York, is not a U.S. Port of Entry. Your International arrival will be though a U.S. Port of Entry (for example, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Newark, New York City, Washington D.C.) Upon arrival in the U.S. at a Port of Entry, you will pass through U.S. Customs. We strongly advise you to allow a minimum of three hours between your International arrival and departing connection to Syracuse, New York. If you have not allowed three hours, you and your luggage are at risk of not clearing U.S. Customs in time for your connecting flight.

Packing and Preparation

Money: You should carry in U.S. currency or U.S. traveler’s checks enough money to cover the expenses of the first week (some cash is helpful, but it is safer to have traveler’s checks). Expenses you may encounter include: transportation, temporary lodging, food, health insurance purchase, housing deposits and rent, clothing appropriate for the climate and emergency supplies if your baggage is lost or delayed in transit. It often takes three to four business days for a bank draft to be cleared when you open a bank account. (SCIS) If you are travelling with a credit card, make sure that the financial institution is aware that you will be travelling internationally and making international purchases.

Clothing: We recommend that you bring with you most of the personal clothing that you will need. You may want to bring at least one outfit of your traditional clothing for special occasions. Winter jackets and boots for the winter can be purchased here if your climate is very different from Syracuse. Most students wear casual clothing such as jeans, t-shirts and sneakers or gym shoes in the classroom and most informal social occasions. (SCIS)

Documents: Bring medical and dental records, information about medical conditions and prescriptions, and an international driver’s license, if you have one. Make sure to have a set of photocopies of the most important documents in each piece of luggage. Try to have an address book with the addresses of your friends and relatives from home. (SCIS)

Baggage: Be sure your name and contact information is on the inside AND outside of all pieces of luggage. If you have more luggage than you can take on the plane, you may ship your belongings to Express Save Industries (ESI) in Syracuse. To do this, you must send a fax to ESI with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address
  • Number of boxes and bags

The fax number for ESI is 315-454-0292. The charges will be a minimum of $10 monthly storage fee for each package less than 2x2x2 feet. To have the bags delivered to the front door of your residence, there will be an additional charge. Further questions can be addressed at . (SCIS)

What happens at the U.S. Port of Entry?

When you arrive from abroad, you will not go to Syracuse directly unless coming from Canada. You will arrive at a major aiport (for example, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Newark, New York City, Washington DC).  That major airport will be your Port of Entry.

Upon arrival in the U.S., you will pass through U.S. Customs. Your passport, visa, and other documents will be officially reviewed and a photo will be taken of your index finger and face. Your visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) has authority to deny admission. The USCBP also have the ability to determine the period for which the bearer of a student visa is authorized to remain in the United States. This is not a determination of the consular officer.

Once you have gone through U.S. Customs, you will need to retrieve your luggage for customs inspection. Even though your luggage will have been checked through to Syracuse, you still have to collect it at the Port of Entry, go through customs, and THEN you may give it back to the airline to send on to Syracuse. Usually, there are airline agents waiting outside the customs area to assist you with your luggage. Please remember to make sure that it is tagged for Syracuse when you hand it off to the airline. In the event of lack of time for transfer, flight cancellations or delays, you will need to work with the airline agent to switch to another flight or possible airline.

How do I get to the ELI from the Syracuse Airport?

ELI staff members are happy to greet you at the Syracuse airport and take you to your campus housing, providing you arrive before 7 pm and have sent your travel itinerary to our office at least two weeks before arrival. Unfortunately, we cannot transport friends or family members. If family or friends are travelling with you, taxi cabs are available for approximately $30. Please provide us with your flight itinerary at least one week prior to arrival. If you arrive after 7 pm, we recommend that you take a taxi or stay at the Best Western Hotel on airport property and we can pick you up the following morning. You can make a reservation at the Best Western by calling 315-455-7362 (tel: 1-315-455-7362), or at the Best Western website.

Staying in a Hotel

If you plan to live on campus and arrive before campus housing is available, you will have to make arrangements to stay in a local hotel. Hotels close to campus are often booked months in advance, especially at the start and end of each sessions. Make sure you make your reservations as early as possible. Hotels close to the ELI are listed below.

Sheraton Syracuse University 
(1 block from ELI)
801 University Avenue

Hotel Crown Plaza
(7 blocks from ELI)
710 E. Genesee St.

Genesee Grande Hotel
(4 blocks from ELI)
1060 E. Genesee St.

Parkview Hotel
(7 blocks from ELI)
713 E. Genesee St.

ELI Orientation – Your first days at the ELI


Students should come to the ELI at 700 University Ave., Room 207 for registration after arrival between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. If you arrive after 4:30 on the day before Orientation, please come to the ELI office early the next morning. You should bring the following items to the ELI for the registration process:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • Medical form
  • Proof of health insurance or a check or credit card to purchase health insurance

You will also be required to pay your tuition, campus housing and campus meal charges IN FULL upon registration. If you have sent us a jpg photo, your Syracuse University Identification Card (SUID) will be given to you upon registration. If you have not sent a photo, you will have an opportunity to visit I.D. Card Services during your orientation.

The Syracuse University Bookstore has several items available for purchase upon your arrival You can check their website to see what is there! The ELI will also organize a shopping trip to a local Wal-Mart to purchase school supplies and housing essentials.

Orientation and Placement Testing

Your first two or three days at the ELI are all MANDATORY. These days will consist of:

  • Placement testing (written essay and oral interview)
  • Orientation sessions
  • Campus tour

The results of the placement exam determine starting level. Book lists will be distributed with the results of the test and are also available on the web site (click here). A schedule for these days is also available on the web site (click here).

(SCIS) is an acronym for the Slutzker Center for International Services at Syracuse University. More information on the Slutzker Center for International Services can be found at