Step 5: Plan Travel and Housing

Now that you have obtained your F-1 visa, you can start planning your travel to and stay in Tallahassee, Florida. To avoid unnecessary expense and difficulties, we highly recommend that you do not make unchangeable travel arrangements until you have received your visa from the U.S. consulate. There may be unanticipated delays in the processing of your documents.

Travel to Tallahassee

Flying to the Tallahassee International Airport

Schedule your flight to allow at least four hours between your arrival at your first U.S. airport and your next connecting flight. You will need sufficient time to pass through immigration and customs inspection and to change currency, if needed. Plan to exchange money before arriving in Tallahassee. The Tallahassee International Airport does not have currency exchange services but does have an ATM.

When making travel plans and when transiting through airports, be aware that the U.S. has four different time zones: Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern. Tallahassee, Florida is in the Eastern Time Zone and observes daylight savings.

Transportation from the Tallahassee International Airport

Taxis into the city costs $20-$30. Some hotels offer free transportation from the airport, which is a 15-minute drive from campus and the downtown area. If you plan to stay at a hotel, ask about an airport shuttle when you make your reservation. Taxis are available at the airport and usually waiting outside for customers (look for the “Ground Transportation” sign near the baggage claim area). If you need to call a taxi, contact information for some Tallahassee taxi companies is below:

City Taxi               850-575-7575

Yellow Cab          850-999-9999

The information above on taxis and rentals is for your convenience and is not an endorsement of these companies.

Vehicle rentals are available at the airport from major companies such as Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar Rent-A-Car, Enterprise, Hertz, and National.  You must make reservations in advance to ensure availability of vehicles. You must also have an international driver’s permit as well as a foreign driver’s license, your passport, and a major credit card in your own name. Don’t forget to inquire about the age restriction for rentals; rental agencies generally require the primary driver to be at least 25 years of age.

When to enter the U.S.

Unless you transferred your SEVIS record from another school or changed to a new degree program at FSU, you can only enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the PROGRAM START DATE on your I-20, which is either the first day of class or the beginning of your academic orientation (for some graduate programs).

Plan to arrive in Tallahassee with enough time to get settled, check in at the CGE, attend orientations, etc. (steps 9 through 12).

Living in Tallahassee

Find information on housing, banking, transportation, food, getting a driver's license, and many other community and campus resources below.