What to Consider Bringing with You
- Warm-weather clothing
- Short-sleeve shirts
- Light pants/dresses
- Light shoes
- Cold-weather clothing
- Jacket for fall and early spring
- Light winter coat (winters are very mild in Alabama)
- Long-sleeve Shirts and Sweaters
- Heavier shoes
- Clothing that is native to your country or culture
- Don’t forget to bring any special clothing items which represent your home and heritage.
- Make sure to bring any prescriptions you have for your first 3 months in the U.S. as it will take time to get new prescriptions set up through your doctors at the Student Health Center.
- Generally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows foreign nationals traveling to the United States from a foreign country for vacation, attending university, travel for work, etc., to bring a 90-day supply of medicine. However, please make sure the medications you will bring are allowed inside the U.S.
- CBP Page on Medications
- FDA Site on Bringing Medications to the U.S.
- TSA Site on Medications and Medical Equipment
- Special ingredients for home cuisine
- Season mixes
- Special cookwear
- Packaged food items
- Be aware that fruits, vegetables, meat, clippings, and seeds are generally prohibited.
- See Bringing Food into the U.S.
If you plan to bring any medicines, food items, souvenirs or gifts please make sure they aren’t prohibited from importation. Please review the CBP page on Information on Prohibited and Restricted Items.
Additionally, resources for International Visitors can be found here: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors
Declaring Items at Customs
Make sure that you declare all items of value (e.g. money, personal electronics, personal belongings, etc.) when you arrive at the U.S. port-of-entry. If you don’t declare the items that you are bringing which are of value, the items can be confiscated or seized. Some students have lost thousands of dollars which they failed to declare with US CBP. Please see the following:
What to Consider Purchasing After Arrival
You should bring some basic toiletries and items with you for your first week or two, but the following items are easily obtained after your travel.
Most items can be purchased after arrival at Wal-Mart, Target, or other stores. Students must have an acceptable method of payment to purchase from U.S. retail stores (e.g. U.S. dollars or internatoinal credit card or debit card that has been unlocked for international purchases).
- Sheets & pillowcases
- Mattress pad
- Alarm clock
- Personal Toiletry Items
- Flip flops (for community shower)
- Plastic carrier for shower items
- Bathroom tissue
- Trash can
- Pictures and posters
- Cleaning supplies
- First aid kit
- Power strip/surge protector
- Umbrella & Raincoat
- Small fan
Dining & Cooking
- Bottle/can opener
- Pots and pans
- Spatula and cooking utensils
- Cuttlery/eating utensils
- Paper towels
- Laundry basket
- Fabric softener
- Stain remover
- Iron & Ironing board
- Sewing kit
- Clothes hangers
- Desk lamp
- Desk organizer
- File folders
- Memo board
- Stamps and envelopes
- A shopping shuttle service is provided to UA students who live on campus, and operates on Sundays through the academic year: https://crimsonride.ua.edu/.
- If living on campus, laundry facilities are available in every residence hall on the UA campus. You will need to pay for the service using money loaded on your Action Card. When using shared laundry facilities, you will need to provide your own detergent and cleaning supplies.
- If living on-campus you will be responsible for cleaning your own living space and bathroom, unless you are assigned to a building with a community bathroom.
GETTING TO TUSCALOOSA
Tuscaloosa is located approximately 330 kilometers west of Atlanta, Georgia; 96 kilometers southwest of Birmingham, Alabama; 1153 kilometers south of Chicago, Illinois; 451 kilometers northeast of New Orleans, Louisiana; 1617 kilometers southwest of New York City, New York; and 3753 kilometers east of San Francisco, California.
We recommend students to plan to fly into Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport (Airport code BHM): http://flybirmingham.com/, which is the closest major airport to The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Tuscaloosa can be reached from the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport via rideshare, airport shuttle, bus, or train.
HOTELS IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA FOR OVERNIGHT STAY
If you arrive in Birmingham during the late evening hours, we suggest that you stay overnight in a nearby hotel which provides shuttle service to and from the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport. Many motels and hotels in Birmingham have free shuttle service to and from the Birmingham Airport. Therefore, if you plan on staying in Birmingham overnight, you may want to consider this free service.
For reservations and further information, please contact the hotel where you intend to stay. Below are two hotels, which are close to the airport and offer free shuttles to and from the airport:
|Ramada Birmingham Airport
|5216 Messer Airport Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35212
|Holiday Inn Birmingham-Airport
|5000 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N, Birmingham, AL 35212
TRANSPORTATION FROM BIRMINGHAM TO TUSCALOOSA
Most international students fly into the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport (BHM). The city of Birmingham, Alabama is approximately 60 miles from the UA campus.
ISSS recommends that students seeking transportation from Birmingham first contact their respective student nationality organization, which can be found in the listing of organizations with The Source and on our Organizations Page.
Tuscaloosa can be reached from the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport via rideshare, airport shuttle, bus, or train. Information can be found below.
- Crown Transportation: https://crowndriven.com/bhmairporttransportation or call 205-758-3875
- Groome Transportation: https://groometransportation.com/tuscaloosa/
- Prestige Limousine: https://www.prestigelimotuscaloosa.com/airport-transports/
- Wilgo on the Go: https://wilgoonthegotransportation.com/ or call 205-722-6186 (extension 101)
- LYFT: https://www.lyft.com/rider/airports/bhm
- UBER: https://www.uber.com/airports/bhm/
Tuscaloosa is served by the Greyhound bus line. Fares vary depending on the date and time that you travel. Schedule and fares are subject to change without notice. For more information, call Greyhound at (205) 758-6651 or 1-800-231-2222 ext. 9 (www.greyhound.com).
|BIRMINGHAM BUS STATION
|1801 Morris Ave., Birmingham, AL 35203
|TUSCALOOSA BUS STATION
|3301 Greensboro Ave., Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 (inside Chevron Gas Station)
AMTRAK TRAIN SERVICES
Please note that you will need to make arrangements to get from the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport to the train station in Birmingham as well as from the Tuscaloosa train station to the UA campus.
|BIRMINGHAM TRAIN STATION
|1801 Morris Avenue, Birmingham, AL 35203
|TUSCALOOSA TRAIN STATION
|2105 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
TUSCALOOSA – CITY TRANSPORTATION
CRIMSONRIDE – UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA’S BUS SYSTEM
The University of Alabama is a large campus, and CrimsonRide provides quick and easy access to all areas of campus, whether you live on-campus or off-campus.
TUSCALOOSA BUS AND TROLLEY SYSTEM
Tuscaloosa has an affordable public bus system which serves the UA campus and the city, but bus routes are limited to the most popular destinations. For bus schedules, routes, maps, and rates, please visit the Tuscaloosa Transit Authority website: http://tuscaloosatransit.com/.
TUSCALOOSA TAXIS & RIDESHARE SERVICES
There are several taxi and rideshare services in the Tuscaloosa area. See Yelp or do a search for currently available taxi and rideshare services (including LYFT and UBER) .
Rates for transportation via taxi or rideshares are generally much more expensive than public transportation.
ORIENTATIONSFIRST STEPS: What to do as a newly arrived international student. Visit International Orientation & Check-in Page
Orientation and immigration check-in is required for all international students. You can access all Orientation materials and videos as well as the check-in access on our main Orientation and Check-in Page.
The mandatory International Orientation and Check-in is required for students to activate their F-1 or J-1 status, and it must be completed by the end of the first week of classes.
Once completed, ISSS will process the validation of your immigration record with Homeland Security’s Student Exchange Visitor Program and also be able to process any requested verifications for I-9 processing, Alabama Credit Union accounts, Driver’s Licenses, and Social Security Number applications.
All new and transfer undergraduate international students must register and attend a Bama Bound Orientation.
GRADUATE ORIENTATION AND WELCOME (GROW)
GROW is designed to prepare incoming graduate students with the necessary information to make their time at UA a success. In addition, it serves to supplement your departmental orientation experience and give you a well-rounded view of the UA experience through the graduate student lens.
WORKSHOP FOR NEW GRADUATE TEACHING ASSISTANTS
This workshop is required for all new Graduate Teaching Assistants. New Graduate Teaching Assistants should contact the Graduate School about participation in the GTA Workshop.