Note from the Office of International Student Affairs


This publication should be read very carefully.

Information included is not covered in our other publications.

Buffalo State is also known as the State University College at Buffalo.

If you should have any further questions please contact:

 Dr. Gounard, Director,

International Student Affairs Buffalo State College
1300 Elmwood Avenue, Campbell Student Union 400

Buffalo, NY 14222-1095

Telephone: (716) 878-5331 Fax: (716) 878-5600


What Should you know before you go
Academic Expenses

Important Documents

Passport - Each student must obtain a passport from his/her government under whatever regulations apply for obtaining permission to travel abroad. This basic travel document serves as a formal permit to travel abroad, allows for re-entry into the home country, and serves as proof of identification.

Canadian Citizens - Canadian citizens do not need to obtain a visa to come to the United States. All they need, before proceeding to the United States, is to be in possession of a Certificate of Eligibility (form I-20 or form DS 2019), a valid passport and proof of the SEVIS Fee Payment.


Visas - Each person planning to study, teach, or engage in research in the United States, is required to obtain a visa, a permit to come to the United States for that specific purpose. Most International students at Buffalo State are issued a Certificate of Eligibility, form I-20, to be used in securing a Student Visa Type F-1. If you are in possession of the Certificate of Eligibility, take that form, proof of SEVIS Fee payment, and your letter of acceptance to the nearest American Consulate so you may be issued a Student Visa. The consul will require you to document your financial ability for study at Buffalo State.

The application for the SEVIS fee requirement for F-1 students may be filled out online at: and payment may be made with the use of a credit card. Also, you may pay for the I-901 SEVIS fee locally by using the Western Union Quick Pay Service in your home country in your local currency. This option is available in any country where Western Union offers its Quick Pay Service.

Students who are sponsored by an agency such as the Institute of International Education, the Agency for International Development, or the African-American Institute will receive a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, DS 2019. This form is used in the same way as the Form I-20 except that an Exchange Visitor Visa type J-1 is issued.


The Following describes the important differences between the J-1 and F-1 Visas.


Employment - Students on F-1 visas may secure "off campus" or summer employment after one full "academic year" in F-1 status. J-1 visa holders may be granted off-campus or summer employment by their sponsoring agency but only if there is an exceptional circumstance adversely affecting the student since the time of granting the visa (ie. Drastic change in financial support because of unexpected events, etc.)


Employment of spouse - The dependent spouse of an F-1 student is not permitted to undertake employment of any kind at any time. The spouse of a J-1 visa holder may be granted employment permission by the Immigration Service but only for his or her necessary support. Earnings cannot be for the support of the J-1 student.


Change of Visa Status - Do not come to the United States on a B-2 (visitor for pleasure) visa if you intend to eventually stay in order to study at this college. It is impossible to change from a B-2 visa to an F-1 Student visa while in the United States. You will have to go back to your home country to obtain an F-1 Student visa. (The F-1 student upon completion of studies "may", if his/her situation changes, be eligible to apply for a permanent status visa if he/she wishes to remain in the United States for an indefinite period.)


J-1 Visa holders are not eligible to apply for change of visa status if their studies are financed in whole or part by U.S. government funds or if their field of study has been listed by their government with the U.S. State Department or is one in which there is a shortage of trained personnel in their country. For further information about visas, consult with a U.S. Consular official.


Transit Visas - A student planning to visit other countries en route to the United States should inquire about the procedures to be followed at the appropriate consulates in his/her home country. It may be necessary to apply for a Visitor or Tourist Visa for each different country. This should be done several weeks before departure.




Nearly every country requires travelers to have immunizations against communicable diseases. The U.S. Consul's Office should be consulted for information about immunization requirements. This should be done well in advance of departure since some immunizations may take a period of several weeks.
New York State Public Health Law 2165 requires college students to show proof of immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella. This documentation must be on file at Weigel Health Center at Buffalo State. The law applies to all undergraduates and graduate matriculated students. Students born prior to January 1st, 1957 are exempt from this law.


Dollar Exchange Regulations


The U.S. Government does not restrict the amount of U.S. or foreign currency, which may be brought in or taken out of the country. However, many governments have restrictions regarding the exchange of their currency into U.S. dollars. Many countries restrict the amount of money that can be taken out of the country, and some require a letter from the U.S. college certifying the student's expected arrival and enrollment dates before releasing funds. If this is the case, present your I-20 or DS 2019 form or write to the International Student Affairs Office requesting a letter to certify expenses for Buffalo State. Delays in the arrival of funds from abroad often occur and can be very inconvenient. It is recommended that each student carefully read the section on expenses in this booklet and be prepared to meet his/her financial obligations at the necessary times.


Carrying Money


It is often advantageous to exchange currency for U.S. dollars prior to departure from one's home country. However, no traveler should carry large amounts of currency or other valuables. There is too much danger of loss or theft.

We recommend you purchase money orders, traveler's checks, or other forms of currency, the value of which can be restored in case of loss. Make these forms of currency payable to you, not the college, in U.S. dollars. It is also advisable while traveling to carry a small amount of U.S. currency on your person. At least ten dollars should be carried in currency and one or two dollars in coin, or "change". The coins are useful for telephones, baggage lockers, bus fares, tips to porters, etc. U.S. paper money is most commonly found in the following denominations: $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills; coins are 1 cent (penny, $0.01), 5 cents (nickel, $0.05), 10 cents (dime, $0.10), 25 cents (quarter, $0.25), and 50 cents (half dollar, $0.50).




Dollar exchange may be saved by using national currency to purchase transportation through to one's destination in the United States. This may be arranged through reputable travel agents in your home country. If such an arrangement is not made, extra money in U.S. dollars will be needed to purchase a ticket from the U.S. port of entry to the campus. Such a ticket may be more expensive due to exchange rates and because it will be subject to U.S. taxes. Special travel arrangements from the home country to the United States are often available at very economical rates through charter flights or special fares.


Information on Traveling to the United States


A source of travel arrangements for educational visitors is the Council on International Educational Exchange, which can arrange Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific passage on either ship or airplane for both groups and individuals. For information on these services, contact the Council on International Educational Exchange at one of the following addresses:

In the United States: 300 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101, (888) 268-6245, (207) 553-4000,

In Japan: Cosmos Aoyama, B1 5-53-67 Jingumae Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo, Japan 150-8355 Phone: 011 813 03 5467 5502, Fax: 011 813 03 5467 7031 , website:

Other addresses for the Council can be found on their website:


Luggage and Mail


Until you are permanently settled in Buffalo and have established a mailing address, you may have your mail temporarily addressed to you in care of the International Student Affairs Office, Campbell Student Union- Room 400, Buffalo State, 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222-1095, U.S.A. "Hold for arrival" should be marked on the envelope. YOU MUST HAVE ALL YOUR MAIL SENT TO YOUR PERMANENT ADDRESS AS SOON AS YOU ARE SETTLED IN BUFFALO.

All public transportation allows some luggage to be transported without extra charge. You must check with your airline carrier for specific luggage allowances as the regulations vary greatly between carriers and countries. Since the charge for over weight baggage is extremely high, other arrangements should be made to send extra luggage. Shipping extra luggage can be extremely complicated and expensive and is not advisable. A simple and less expensive alternative is to arrange for parents or friends to send small packages by surface mail after obtaining the student's U.S. address. A package marked "Gift" whose contents are valued at no more than $100.00 may enter duty free. Any duty that may be charged on a mailed package is collected by the post office in the campus community. The U.S. Consul or a travel agent can provide.further information and advice on these matters. Please do not send any form of baggage to the International Student Affairs Office as we do not have the space to accommodate it.


What to Bring - Bringing textbooks used in previous study is not recommended, although the student may feel that familiar reference books in her/his field of study are worth the expense involved in transporting them. Each student will be expected to purchase textbooks required for courses in which she/he is enrolled. Excellent library resources provide students ample opportunity to obtain supplemental reading materials or basic texts needed for review and research.

It is desirable for the student to bring typical examples of arts, crafts, photographs, maps, or other items descriptive of her/his country and culture, both to show interested Americans and to provide a touch of home decoration at her/his place of residence. Although exchange of gifts in the United States is ordinarily confined to members of a family, very close friends, or important business associates, students may encounter certain situations in which they would like to express appreciation through a gift. A student may want to bring items which she/he uses regularly, but which may not be easily available in the United States (medicinal herbs, for example), or which may be more expensive (such as eyeglasses, cameras, watches, radios, etc.).


Weather and Appropriate Clothing


Selective Clothing - Students who purchase all or part of their wardrobe after arrival have the advantage of buying clothes which are "in style", but may spend much more money than if the wardrobe had been brought from home. Student dress is becoming more and more informal; it is common to see students attend class in jeans and informal shirts or blouses. . . . National Dress is always appropriate attire for students in the United States, weather permitting. There may be certain times, such as an international festival, when national dress would be of special use.

During spring, summer, and fall, moderate periods of rainfall occur, and snow falls heavily during the winter months. Three basic types of clothing are essential in such a climate. In winter, heavy jackets or overcoats, warm hats, gloves, scarves and waterproof overshoes or snow boots are needed. During chilly autumn and spring days, raincoats or medium weight wool coats or ski jackets are worn outdoors, while sweaters are often worn indoors. A light-weight jacket is something necessary for cool nights during spring, summer and fall.


Upon Arrival to the United States you should know...


Notice of Arrival - Each student should write to the International Student Affairs Office before departure notifying us of the means of transportation being used, the date and time of arrival, and any other information or problems that might be useful for us to know about in preparing for your arrival. We may be able to meet you if notified in advance.

Prior to arriving at the port of entry, each traveler is handed a U.S. Customs Declaration. To prepare for the customs inspection in advance, one may obtain a pamphlet entitled "U.S. Customs Hints", free of charge, from a U.S. Embassy. Only personal and/or household items owned at least one year prior to entry may be imported without being subject to import duties.

Students are generally allowed to import equipment necessary for study as well as $200.00 worth of gifts. There is a high duty on microscopes, medical, dental, and other scientific instruments manufactured outside the United States unless it can be proven that these items are for the personal use of the individual and are essential for the course of study to be undertaken. Illegal items include narcotics and narcotic derivatives. To prevent transmission of diseases which could affect agricultural products grown in the United States, it is forbidden to bring in agricultural products, such as plants, fruits, vegetables, and meats. If, for any reason, the travel documents are not in order, notify the International Student Affairs Office, telephone: (716) 878-5331, fax: (716) 878-5600.


Port of Entry Services for International Students


Arriving in a strange city in an alien culture can be an especially confusing experience. Large American cities, like all others, have both desirable and undesirable features. It is, therefore, recommended that each newly arriving student utilize the services of the YMCA International Student Service (ISS) to get help with everyday needs. For information about YMCA ISS Arrival Program, contact Jean-Paul Sewaui at 5 West 63rd Street, 2nd floor, New York NY 10023. Telephone: (212) 727-8800.


Staying in the Port City


If time and money permit, staying in the port city, or any major city, for several days is a pleasant way to begin an educational sojourn. Any stay, however, is likely to be very expensive unless it is carefully planned in advance. Specific information is available from travel books, which provide detailed information on expenses, places to stay and eat, sightseeing and transportation for virtually any major American city. Contact Hostelling International located at 891 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025, telephone: (212) 932-2300, fax: (212) 932-2574. Their web address is They offer student discounts.

In New York City, Jazz on the Park located at 36 West 106th Street, Telephone: 212-932-1600, Fax: 212-932-1700, offers low cost housing for international students. Their web address is . Travel expenses are a prerequisite for enjoying a visit. Students planning on spending several days in route from their port of entry should plan on spending more than six hundred dollars ($600.00). As a general rule, expect high prices upon arrival - even then, the actual cost may be shocking.


Special Home Stay Opportunities


Home stay opportunities for international students are available from several organizations upon request. The experience of staying several days with a U.S. family is not only personally rewarding, but also provides an orientation to American life and culture prior to beginning study. The following organization arranges such experiences if contacted in advance. The home stay will probably not be in the Buffalo area, and it may not even be in New York state. U.S. SERVAS, INC. - arranges two-day home stays for international students when contacted in advance. Applications can be downloaded at:

Arriving in Buffalo


Buffalo is served by several major airlines, two bus lines, and a rail link. You can obtain information regarding fares and schedules by visiting the following websites: - local bus transportation - airline travel - bus travel - rail travel

It might be in your best intrest to take advantage of booking your travel arrangements early in order to receive the best possible travel route.

Please note: there are many universities in Buffalo, you are going to Buffalo State, 1300 Elmwood Avenue.
What you should know about Buffalo State
Arrival Dates: You are required to arrive in Buffalo no later than . Classes begin on . The interim period will be utilized for orientation, housing, conferences with your academic adviser, etc. Earlier arrival is recommended for those who do not have housing reserved for them. Residence Halls on campus are open 8 days before classes begin.
Orientation: - An extensive orientation program required of new international students will be held on . During the few days prior to the beginning of classes, students will be assisted in gaining familiarity with the campus and community. Opportunities will be provided for students to meet with their academic adviser, international student adviser and to arrange for personal details prior to beginning study. A program of social activities will also be provided so that new students may meet each other and mix with continuing International and American students.
Academic Standards - According to U.S. Immigration Rules and Regulations, you must be enrolled as a full-time registered student at this college (12 credit hours for graduate students and 12 credit hours for undergraduate students) during every academic semester of study. American Immigration Law does not require you to be registered for courses during the summer months. Failure to comply with U.S. Immigration Rules and Regulations will make you subject to deportation.
A student whose cumulative average falls below 2.00 for undergraduates or 3.00 for graduates is academically classified as on probation. The cumulative average is determined at the end of each semester. A student on probation will have until the completion of the next regular semester to raise his/her cumulative average to 2.00 for undergraduates and 3.00 for graduates. Failure to do so by that time may result in dismissal from the college. An undergraduate student is subject to dismissal if he/she fails half of the courses taken in any given semester. Full disclosure of academic standards can be found in the college catalogs.
Living in Buffalo
On-Campus Housing

All full-time freshman international students are required to live in our comfortable residence halls until they earn junior standing (57 credit hours). These halls help international students adjust to a new life in America through programs and activities with American students. International students can live in the Global Living Center (International Residence Hall - phone: 878-6704) throughout the entire year. International students can also live in any other Residence Halls on campus provided they move out of these Residence Halls during holidays. Please note that the college does not provide sheets and blankets.

Click here to get the most recent room and board rates.

Moore Complex
Those exempt from this requirement are: married students, single parents, transfer students, veterans, students over age 21, and students commuting from the home of their parent (s) or court-appointed guardian(s) if within a 35-mile radius of the Buffalo State's campus. International freshman students who feel that they have legitimate reasons for requesting off-campus residency can apply for an exemption through the Director of the Office of International Student Affairs.
Off-Campus Housing
Students who desire off-campus housing will be aided in the search for accommodations by the Office of International Student Affairs and by a cadre of volunteers from the community coordinated by the Office of International Student Affairs. Off-campus housing may out of necessity be some distance from campus and inconvenient for your personal needs. Experience indicates that students are able to locate more suitable accommodations after they have completed a year of study and understand their personal needs better. This is one reason that residence halls are recommended. The college cannot make off-campus housing reservations in advance: therefore, if such housing is necessary for you, you must arrive in Buffalo as early as possible to search for accommodations. If you have a friend in Buffalo, it will be wise to ask him/her to obtain a place for you.

Rates for furnished single rooms in private homes usually range from about $100 per week for one person. Furnished rooms usually include a bed, dresser, desk, chair, and night stand. Bedding may or may not be included. Apartment rates start at $400.00 per month depending upon facilities offered. An apartment usually has at least four rooms - a living room, a bedroom, kitchen and bath. Apartments may be rented furnished or unfurnished. Rental for apartments does not include linen, dishes, or blankets. An extra charge is usually added for utilities (electricity, gas, phone). An apartment is usually shared by two or more students.

Since off-campus accommodations may be some distance from the college, students may incur bus fare charges to and from campus. Bus fare is currently a minimum of $2.00 one way.Only undergraduate students receive NFTA bus passes to travel for free in Buffalo.

Dining Services

Click here to get the most recent room and board rates.

If a student is living on campus, a freshmen/sophomore with less than 57 credits hours or under 21yrs of age, he/she must have a meal plan with the campus dining services at Buffalo State. Please refer to Dining Services website for more info ( and Residence life Website (these amounts are subject to change). If a student is living off campus, he/she is welcome to purchase a meal plan or use cash in the dining facilities. Purchase of a meal plan should not be made until after the student arrives on campus. The Student Union Cafeteria is open year around except for the week between Christmas Day (December 25) and New Years Day (January 1), as the entire campus is shut down then. More information on meal plans you can get here.

*Rates are subject to change, for up-to-date pricing,go to

Some governmental agencies in your country may require a statement concerning the cost of your education in the United States. The figures quoted below are estimates of the average expenses for a single international student attending Buffalo State for the nine-month period - September to June. You may present this statement to any authority needing such information.
Estimated Student Expenses
Undergraduate students:
Graduate Students:

*Rates are subject to change
Payment of Tuition and Fees -College tuition and fee expenses are payable before the start of each semester. If foreign exchange in your country is subject to delay, alert your sponsor of these financial deadlines. Delay in payment could cause hardship. DO NOT PROCEED TO THE COLLEGE UNLESS YOU HAVE GUARANTEED MEANS OF SUPPORT.
Financial Aid and Taxation Information
The college is severely limited in terms of financial aid for international students. International students should not depend upon the college for their support. Here are a few options for some of the financial assistance that is available.
Graduate Assistantships - College aid for graduate students is awarded primarily by the academic department by which the student has been accepted. This aid is awarded competitively, usually in the form of teaching or research assistantships. In a few cases, graduate awards for new students are made at the time of a student's acceptance. If you are a graduate student and did not receive such notifications, you should assume that you are not a recipient during your first year of study. Further inquiries may be addressed directly to your academic department, however, the chances are that funds are not available.

Students receiving a college appointment, such as an assistantship at the time of their admission, should receive from their academic department a W-4 withholding tax form and a biographical data sheet. These two documents should be completed and returned to each student's academic department. Completion and filing of these documents will assist the Personnel Office to process appointments so that payroll checks will not be unduly delayed. It usually takes about six weeks for the issuance of the first payroll check so students must bring enough money to cover all personal expenses (rent, books, meals, and supplies) during the first six weeks of study. The amount of money needed is estimated to be about $3,000.00.

Loans - No funds are available from the college for long-term loans or for payment of transportation costs. Each student should, therefore, bring enough money to cover all expenses.
Scholarships - - Some students are under the false impression that scholarship aid is readily available in the form of International Student Tuition Waivers. There is no assurance such aid will be available to them in the future. Office of International Student Affairs Scholarships - The Office of International Student Affairs provides financial awards through two scholarships to international students who must be matriculated and enrolled full-time at Buffalo State when they apply.
The Eleanor Blackburn International Alumni Scholarship is for international students in sophomore standing (second year).

The Frances Siu Lan Tyau International Student Scholarship is for international students in junior standing (third year).
Varying amounts are awarded every year ranging from $500.00 to $2,000.00 and fund raising through the College Foundation increases these amounts every year. These awards depend upon merit and need and appropriate selection committees decide on the amount of the awards. For more information, please contact the Office of International Student Affairs.
Employment - If you are on a non-immigrant visa, it is illegal to engage in employment during your first academic year. After your first year, you may request work permission from the Office of International Student Affairs. For more information, see the visa section or contact International Student Affairs.
Note : If you are a non-immigrant student, you were issued an I-20 or similar visa form on the basis of your financial statement. If there is a negative change in your financial situation, you should not proceed to the College.
Filling Tax Reports - Any non-immigrant student/scholar who has earned or not earned income in any given year must file a tax return. This is required even if you do not owe any taxes because of an exemption due to a tax treaty or because you have not earned enough money to be taxed. All students and scholars on F-1 and J-1 Visas must file the 1040NR-EZ and a statement form (form 8843). In addition for those students who have scholarships, fellowships, and other awards which are not considered "employment". the awards are generally reported on form 1099 or 1042S and will be sent to you by the sponsoring organization. If you are employed, your income is reported on W-2 form, which is given to you by your employer. For more information on U.S. tax treaties, please consult IRS publication 901 or call the Alien Section of IRS at 1-800-829-3676.
Mandatory SUNY Health Insurance Plan - All international student/scholars who are studying or doing research must be enrolled in the SUNY Mandatory Health Insurance Plan prior to the beginning of their studies, research or teaching. The current premium is $951.00 (Rate is subject to change).
Additional Information
Married Students - Bringing your spouse or family to the United States is an added joy as well as a heavy financial burden. It is estimated that a married couple, who wishes to live inexpensively, will require an additional $10,000.00 over and beyond the cost of living figure for the single student. Students with children will need approximately $5,000.00 for each child to have a minimal standard of living. The American Consul to whom you will apply for a visa should be consulted on the above details. Some countries restrict the granting of passports to families of students until the student has successfully finished a portion of his/her academic program.
Buffalo State strongly recommends that married students delay bringing their families until they are assured of living arrangements and have accumulated sufficient savings. Low-cost accommodations for families are difficult to locate in Buffalo; thus, the family that accompanies the new student may suffer from uncomfortable surroundings. If you decide to have your spouse and/or family accompany you to the U.S., you must notify the International Student Affairs Office. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service prohibits spouses of students on F visas from obtaining employment in this country. Spouses of students on J visas may apply for employment from the Immigration Office if the spouse proves she/he needs the income to support himself/herself. In no case, however, will the American Consul issue a visa to the family of a student unless there is proof of minimal support.
Summer School - The College offers 2 four-week sessions and 1 three-week session (subject to change).
English Language Requirement - International students are advised of the college regulation which requires incoming students to take a series of tests for the purpose of evaluating proficiency in the English Language. Before acceptance to the college, international students must present clear evidence of their proficiency in the English language. A student whose native language is not English should take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which is administered seven times a year (August, October, November, January, February, April, May) throughout the world. The college reserves the right to require that all incoming international students take its placement tests. The result of the tests will determine placement in the English course or courses that will best serve the needs of the individual student. While working toward completion of the English requirement, student will be allowed to register for courses only with the permission of the English Department. Test results may also exempt a student from any requirement in English.
Mileage from New York City and Toronto

750 Kilometers/425 Miles from New York City to Buffalo and 160 Kilometers/90 Miles from Toronto to Buffalo

This Publication was funded by the International Student Affairs Office. two-hundred copies were printed in February 2013. The content and production were the responsibility of the International Student Affairs Office, which is an Office of University College.

State University College at Buffalo is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution which subscribes to all federal, state and SUNY legal requirements and does not discriminate against applicants, students, or employees on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status. Any violation of this policy should be reported to the Equity and Campus Diversity Office, Cleveland Hall, Room 415 (716) 878-6210.