Preparing to Arrive in the USA
  • Passport. If your passport’s expiration date is within six months of your travel, consider renewing it before you leave.
  • Visa. Check the US Consulate nearest your home for their procedures, wait times for interviews and processing times to issuance of the visa. See our Travel discussion for more information. 
  • Money. Be sure to have US cash in case you need it when you land.
  • Driver's License. Consider applying for an International Driving Permit. Otherwise, you are limited in how long you may drive on your home country's driver's license after arrival in Indiana, and will need to apply for an Indiana Driver's License
  • Phones and electronic devices. Don’t forget your laptop, notepad or iPads. Be aware that your home country’s sockets may not be compatible with those in the USA. Buy an adaptor at home so that you can use and charge your devices right away. If you’re traveling with numerous electronics, invest in a powerboard. That way, you’ll need only one adaptor to charge all your gadgets.
  • Notify your home government of your move. Depending on how long you’re leaving and if you are from a country where voting is mandatory, you’ll need to advise government departments of your departure to avoid penalties for failing to vote or show up for jury service.
  • Personal documentation.
    • Ensure that you have access to a physical photocopy or digital copy of your important documents  passport, birth certificate, wedding certificate, adoption certificate, resume or CV, academic paperwork, driver’s license, insurance policies, will, trust records, bank statements, investment documents, immunization and medical history and shipping documents.
  • Transportation. Buy your plane tickets only after you have your visa in hand. Organize transportation to the airport. 
  • Share your information.
    • Share your transportation details, including the airline, flight number, departure and arrival times, and the arrival airport, with your host department and ISS Liaison, in addition to your family and friends.
    • Give details about how to contact you while traveling and after arrival to your family and friends, and to at least one contact person at Purdue.
    • Provide digital or photocopies of your personal documents to family or friends at home, and scatter the rest among your belongings. They’ll be helpful if the originals are lost or stolen.
West Lafayette

Like most US college towns, housing in West Lafayette/Lafayette can be difficult to find. Check the following places for housing leads 

There are increasing numbers of scams relating to housing opportunities posted to social media. ISS recommends against utilizing social media to obtain housing, whenever possible. 

For more housing tips and resources, see Finding or Changing Housing.


Utilities are controlled by the government. For the greater Lafayette area 

  • Duke Energy handles the electricity
  • Indiana American Water handles water
  • Vectren handles natural gas
  • Frontier handles landlines
Processing of requests can take a few days. Find more details about utilities through the Purdue Utilities and Services webpage, or at the links for Area Resources. For the water, make sure your building has a water softener. If not, we suggest you acquire one for your personal use.
Internet, Cable TV, and Mobile Cellular Telephone Services

Internet, cable, and cell phone service are all handled by private companies.

Metronet and DirecTV are also options. However, Metronet only covers West Lafayette, and Comcast is the biggest one. The previous Utilities and Services/Area Resources links have more details on contact information for those companies.

Cell phone service options are 

  • T-Mobile
  • Cricket
  • Verizon
  • Mint Mobile

Make sure to check their policies on international services if you have family or contacts that live outside the US.


If you are arriving via an airplane, you’ll want an airport shuttle to bring you to your destination. Shuttles include Lafayette Limo, Reindeer Shuttle, Express Air Coach (EAC)

After you successfully settle in, you will need a way to get around town. Busses are a great affordable option. If you have the university ID, you can ride for free with CityBus. CityBus has an app you can use to better navigate the bus schedule and route.

If you don’t want to take a bus, and you are only staying a short period of time, car rentals are an option. Uber or Lyft are also common apps people use to get around town.

If you are traveling out of town, Greyhound is the usual mode of public transportation, but the train, Amtrak, is also a decent choice. There is also a Facebook group for ridesharing at Purdue.

If you are staying a long period of time and have the ability, leasing a car or buying a used car is a good idea, as America is a very car-oriented country. There is a BMW you can contact for that.

For more transportation resources, see Lafayette/West Lafayette Community Resources under "Transportation."


Hotels are also good option if you are still settling in, your apartment isn’t ready yet, or if you have visitors coming over. There are plenty of hotels around Purdue, including the Union Club Hotel on campus. Hilton Garden Inn or Hampton Inn are also decent choices, but we recommend looking at multiple options if you are trying to find something specific.


snowy sceneIndiana weather varies, so being prepared for all types of weather is important at all times of the year. It isn’t common, but it has snowed in July, and it has rained in December. So having raincoats, umbrellas, and coats are important to buy even if it isn’t the right season. Tornadoes also happen sometimes. Please check Purdue’s Weather Preparedness page for more information.