Travel Guide - Intercultural Programs - The University of Texas at Dallas

Travel Guide

Welcome to UT Dallas! We're glad you're here! Travel to a new country may seem difficult. Below are some tips to help guide the way.

Timing of Arrival

  • USCIS immigration regulations allow F-1 and J-1 students to enter the United States no earlier than 30 days prior to the start date on the I-20 or DS-2019.
  • Consider dates of all required orientations (International Student Orientation, TA/RA Orientation or academic orientation) when choosing the appropriate arrival date.
  • Arrive early enough to take care of all your registration holds before the start of classes. For example, all international students must take a tuberculosis screening in the U.S. before registering for classes.

Port of Entry Advice

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement provides information about what an F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor can expect upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry. You may want to download and print this information to carry it with you as you travel to the U.S.

What to Pack

On March 21, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security released Aviation Security Enhancements for Select Last Point of Departure Airports with Commercial Flights to the United States. It requires all passengers traveling from, or transiting into, 10 specific overseas airports to place all personal electronic devices (PDE’s) larger than a cell phone or smart phone in checked baggage. The measure remains in effect.

  • Pack Light — Visit the U.S. Transportation Security Administration website to determine which items are prohibited for air travel.
  • Clothes — The weather in Texas changes with the seasons. It is very hot during the summer (highs around 100 degrees Fahrenheit/37 degrees Celsius), and cold in the winter (lows around 32 degrees Fahrenheit/0 degrees Celsius).
  • Fashion — While there is no formal dress code at U.S. universities, most students dress casually, such as jeans and shirts. It is recommended that you bring at least one semi-formal outfit.
  • Mementos from Home — You may want to bring items that remind you of home. You may also want to bring traditional dress from your country for festivals and/or special occasions.
  • Household Items — Plan on purchasing most of your household items (small electrical appliances, kitchenware, bed sheets, towels, etc.) once you arrive.
  • Valuables — We recommend that you put valuable items in your carry-on bag in case your suitcase gets lost or misplaced during your flight. Carry your immigration documents with you during your flight.
  • Important Documents — Consider having your important documents (school transcripts, marriage license, medication prescriptions, etc.) translated into English before you leave your county.

To learn more information about what to pack for your trip to the U.S., watch the What to Pack video on Youtube or Youku.

Traveling to Dallas, Texas

Airports

Train and Bus Services

  • AMTRAK arrives at Union Station in downtown Dallas (distance from campus: 20 miles/32 km).
  • Greyhound arrives in downtown Dallas (distance from campus: 20 miles/32 km).
  • Megabus arrives in downtown Dallas (distance from campus: 16.4 miles/26.4 km).

Transportation to the UT Dallas Campus

BigHowdy, a program run by students, community volunteers and local churches, offers free airport pick-up for new students (before fall and spring semesters). Visit their website to request pick-up.

Some other options are listed below. Approximate price and time to campus is from DFW Airport.

Mode of Transportation Approximate Price Time to Campus Resources
Shuttle (shared ride) $25 – $40 20 mins minimum (depends on how many people are sharing the shuttle with you) Super Shuttle
Taxi $55 – $75 20 mins List of Authorized Taxis from DFW
Public Transportation: Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) $5 2 hours Take DART Orange Line or Red Line towards Parker Road Station. Stop at Bush Turnpike Station and take Comet Cruiser Route 883 to campus

In addition, some UT Dallas student organizations provide transportation for new students from the DFW airport to campus. Contact these student organizations by reviewing the list on the ICP housing webpage.

Getting Around Dallas

  • Local bus and light rail: Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is the public transportation service.
  • Comet Cruiser (DART Route 883) is the campus shuttle service where you can connect to the DART Red Line (light rail) and other bus routes.
  • Car sharing: UT Dallas has partnered with Zipcar to provide car sharing service on campus. Students can register online for a membership, and rent cars to drive by the hour or by the day.

Driving in the U.S.

Driving in the U.S. requires a valid U.S. driver’s license and sufficient driver’s insurance. Insurance requirements vary by state. Your insurance must meet the requirements for the state in which you reside. If you own a vehicle, there are additional requirements.

  • In Texas, driver’s licenses are managed by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
  • If you have a valid license from your home country and your country recognizes an equivalent U.S. license as valid, you may drive up to one year on the out-of-country license.
  • To get a Texas driver’s license, you will take written and driving exams and show proof of insurance.

NOTE: F-1 students whose Optional Practical Training (OPT) Employment Authorization Document (EAD) has expired, but are pending approval of either a 17-month OPT extension or H-1B Cap-Gap Relief, will be unable to renew their license until the new status is approved.

Resources

  1. For information about obtaining a Texas driver’s license, pick up a brochure in the International Student Services Office.
  2. See the Texas Department of Public Safety website for driving laws.
  3. See the Texas Driver’s Handbook, page 3-1 for information about Texas insurance requirements.
  4. Car owners must register their vehicle.

Parking at UT Dallas

You are required to purchase and properly display a valid UT Dallas parking permit if you plan to park a car on campus. This requirement also applies to parking at:

  • University Village apartments.
  • University Commons residence halls.