International Student and Scholar Services

Getting to Chico State

Traveling to Chico

The easiest way to reach Chico is to make the Sacramento Airport (SMF)(opens in new window) your final destination.  Chico is approximately 100 miles (160 km) north of the Sacramento International Airport.  If you fly into the San Francisco Airport, it is best to get the short flight to Sacramento.  

Detailed guides outlining your options for traveling to Chico:

Free University Airport Shuttle

The University offers free transportation for new international students from the Sacramento Airport to Chico. This service is offered the Saturday immediately preceding your mandatory in-person orientation seminar each semester. 

New students will register for the shuttle on the Virtual International Wildcat Headquarters. 

Entering the U.S. - Checklist (please read before you travel)

Check COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements before entering the U.S. 

  1. The earliest you may arrive inside of the U.S. is 30 days before your program start date listed on your I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1).
  2. Do not forget to sign your I-20 or DS-2019 before you approach the immigration official!
  3. We recommend that you present your newest I-20 or DS-2019 and passport to the immigration official when you enter the country, and also have a file with you in your carry-on luggage that contains paper copies of the following:
    • (1) all of your old I-20 and/or DS-2019 documents;
    • (2) your financial guarantee information;
    • (3) your class schedule (printed out); 
    • (4) your negative test results for COVID; and
    • (5) COVID immunization record (if applicable).
  4. You should expect that immigration officials might ask you extra questions. This is a process called Secondary Inspection and is nothing to worry about.  The important thing is to be prepared with your paperwork in your carry-on luggage.
  5. If they call you into secondary inspection, you might not be permitted to use your phone to retrieve information, so you should have all of these documents in paper version, and organized and ready to hand over to the official.  The easier you make their job, the faster the process will be.
  6. If your immigration official wants to call the International office at CSU, Chico, the number is printed on your I-20 or DS-2019.
  7. Stay calm and plan for a very long day.  Bring snacks and a canteen for water so you can stay hydrated. Use the restroom and eat a snack before approaching the immigration line so that your mind is clear when answering their questions.  This will also help you be more comfortable during the secondary inspection process, if selected.