International and Immigrant Students: What to Bring to the United States

  1. Your original documents - Carry your original passport, JCCC I-20, F-1 or M-1 visa, airline tickets, driver’s license and the credit cards on your person while you travel to the United States.
  2. Copies of Documents and Your Travel Itinerary
    • Make two photocopies of your passport identification page, airline tickets, driver’s license and the credit cards you plan to take.
    • Pack these copies separately - from the originals.
    • Carry a copy of your traveler’s checks serial numbers - in a separate place and as you cash the checks, cross them off the serial number from the list.
    • Refer to additional information about documents and mailing information.
  3. Medical necessities - Bring your medications or fill prescriptions before you come to the United States.
    • If you have a medical condition - carry a letter from your physician, describing the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic names of prescribed drugs.
    • Medications - if you have been prescribed or those that may be unavailable in the U.S.
    • Leave labeled in original container - Any medications you bring with you should be left in their original containers and be clearly labeled.
    • Verify medications are not illegal - Consult with the U.S. embassy to make sure none of your required medications are considered to be illegal narcotics.
    • Bring an extra pair of prescription eye glasses with you - If you wear eyeglasses, pack medicines and extra eyeglasses in your hand luggage so they will be available in case your checked luggage is lost. To be extra secure, pack a backup supply of medicines and an additional pair of eyeglasses in your checked luggage.
    • Wear a medical alert bracelet - If you have allergies, reactions to certain medications, foods, or insect bites, or other unique medical problems, consider wearing a “medical alert” bracelet.
    • Bring letter of required treatment - Consider carrying a letter from your physician explaining required treatment should you become ill.
  4. Credit Card or Traveler’s Checks - You will need money for your travel to the United Sates and after your arrival in the United States — for taxis, meals, and telephone calls — you should have $100 to $200 in travelers checks or in small cash denominations: $20, $10, $5, $1.
    • You can change U.S. paper money - into smaller denominations and coins at almost any store. However, small stores and vendors may have difficulty changing bills larger than $20.
    • Do not carry large amounts of cash - it can be lost or stolen.
    • Be very careful with your cash. Thieves may view international students as easy victims, because they often do not know or understand the local customs.
    • Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) - In some cases, you can use your automatic teller card from your home country in U.S. automatic teller machines (ATMs). Inquire with your home bank on the validity of your card in the United States. This could save you the worry of carrying large sums of money in cash or traveler's checks. Note, however, that many banks limit the amount of cash you can take from an ATM on a daily basis.
  5. Dictionary and/or translator - Bring dictionary for English and your home language or your translator to help understand and translate English to understand signage, request assistance, etc.
  6. Clothing - Overland Park’s climate varies from season to season and is subject to wide variations. Temperatures can range from -23 to 15+ Celsius degrees during the winter. Snow is typical during winter months and there is occasional ice. Spring, summer, and fall temperatures range from 4+ to 35+ Celsius degrees, with warm to hot, sunny afternoons and cool to warm nights and mornings. Dress on campus tends to be informal: jeans and sportswear are most commonly worn.
    • Shoes - Good quality shoes may be expensive in the United States ranging from $50 to $100. You may want to purchase them from your country depending on their prices.
    • Traditional Clothing - Bring some clothing that is special to your country. There may be international festivals and events where you may want to wear them. You may also do presentations about your country and show your national outfits.
  7. Photos and mementos of family, friends and others - Bring items and photos from your country that will help when you miss home as well as those you may like to share with others.
  8. Formal wear- Bring some formal wear, such as suits, shirts and dresses that you may wear for class presentations, interviews, etc.
  9. Toiletries- You can bring some for immediate use, but they are readily available for purchase in the U.S. You will likely save money by purchasing these items when you arrive rather than paying extra to bring them in your luggage.
  10. Electrical appliances - Carefully check the voltage requirements of electronics. The voltage used in the United States is 110V so make sure your devices are compatible.
  11. Kitchen utensils/items - Bring these with you only if you would need to prepare common customary food.