Arrive in Seattle
With your F-1 visa, you are allowed to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your SEVIS I-20 form. Upon entering the country, you will need to provide your passport (valid for at least six months from the date of entry), F-1 visa, and the same I-20 form you used to apply for your visa. Additionally, it is strongly recommended to hand carry evidence of financial resources, evidence of student status (tuition receipts, acceptance letters, class schedule, etc.), and a paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797. To review more detailed information on the documents necessary for entry into the U.S., review our PDF handout.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (USCBP) inspects all travelers coming into the United States. Be prepared to provide the officer with your passport and I-20 form, as well as your bank statement if it is requested. If the officer doesn't find any issues when reviewing your documents, they will return them to you and issue a Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.
For students who arranged a host family or an off-campus apartment through one of the homestay agencies, airport pick-up is generally included as part of the service and you will be met at the airport by the agency or host parents. Be sure to keep in touch with your homestay agency regarding flight arrival information.
For students making their own housing arrangements, Intercultural Homestays & Services and The PLACE - Seattle both offer airport pick-up services. For information on cost, restrictions, etc., please contact the homestay agencies directly.
If you would like to find your own transportation from the airport, explore the options below.
Leave baggage claim, cross a sky bridge, and go to the third floor of the parking garage. There, you will find the taxi stand and wait line. Taxis usually cost between $40 and $60 depending on the destination (tip is additional and suggested). Make sure the taxi meter is on before leaving the parking garage.
After retrieving your belongings, order your ride via the dedicated mobile app. Then, leave baggage claim, cross a sky bridge, and go to the third floor of the parking garage. There, follow the signs for the designated pick-up area. Many cars look alike: Double check the vehicle's license plate number to ensure it is the right car.
Leave baggage claim, cross a sky bridge, and go to the third floor of the parking garage. The Shuttle Express booth is in the center of the third floor between the orange and purple elevator banks (next to the airport's ground transportation office). Shuttles cost about $36.
Subway (Link Light Rail)
Go to the fourth floor of the parking garage then take the walkway to the Link light rail station. Use the ticket machines to purchase your ticket, then head to the platforms. Trains travel through downtown then stop at Seattle Central College (Capitol Hill station) and North Seattle College (Northgate station). One-way tickets cost about $3.
Bus stops are located at the south end of the baggage claim area outside door number 2 and by the Link light rail station, on International Boulevard (State Highway-99) and South 176th Street. Plan your trip in advance by using the King County Metro or SoundTransit Trip Planner. Cost is approximately $2.50.
All rental car companies offer dedicated shuttle buses to and from the main airport terminal 24 hours a day. Passenger pick-up areas are located outside baggage claim at the north and south ends of the main terminal. Companies may require an international driver's license, foreign driver's license, a valid credit card (Visa or MasterCard), and the driver to be at least 25 years of age.