Entering the United States
You cannot enter the United States as a student/scholar more than 30 days prior to the program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. Please make your travel plans accordingly. To enter the United States as a student/scholar you must have your passport with an F-1 or J-1 visa stamp (not required for Canadian citizens), Form I-20, or Form DS-2019 issued to you by the University of Maine at Farmington, and proof of the SEVIS fee payment. You should also have your letter of admission/invitation/contract from the University and evidence of your financial support. Be sure to hand-carry these documents; DO NOT PACK THEM AWAY IN CHECKED LUGGAGE. Please note: There is a processing fee charged at all land border ports of entry such as the Canadian border.
U.S. Customs regulations allow you to bring into the country a reasonable amount of personal effects. Money in the amount of $10,000 or more and items of considerable value must be declared on entry. If you have questions regarding U.S. customs regulation, contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country before leaving or visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website at https://cbp.gov/travel
Packing & Luggage
- Be sure to keep all of your important documents (passport, I-20/DS-2019) in your carry on bag;
- You can use our office address and telephone number on your luggage name tags in case it is delayed;
- Have this contact information inside your luggage, in case the luggage tag comes off;
- If your luggage is delayed, give the airline our office address for delivery.
GENERAL PACKING TIPS
- Bring only what you will need and travel lightly, you will have the opportunity to buy clothes once you are here;
- For spring semester arrivals, pack warm clothing;
- The electric grid in the U.S. is different than in Europe and many other countries. Make sure you have an adapter for your laptop and other electronic items before you travel;
- You will have opportunities to dress in your national clothes and to share information about your country and its culture with other students at international festivals and at school and community organizations.
- We have scheduled shopping trips on days one and three of Orientation. You can buy essential items such as pillows, blankets, sheets, towels, toiletries, snacks, etc.
- Consider bringing with you any small items or pictures that will make you feel “at home” in your residence hall or apartment;
- Money in the amount of $10,000 or more and items of considerable value must be declared on entry. If you intend to bring expensive items of jewelry, camera, etc. with you and return to your country with them, you should check to see if they must be registered or declared in some manner with your government when you leave to avoid any questions about payment of a duty upon your return. If you have questions regarding U.S. CBP regulations, contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country before leaving or visit the CBP website.
You will need some U.S. currency for the first few days. If you need to exchange funds for U.S. currency, you should do so prior to arriving in Maine; you can also exchange money at a major U.S. airport. Currency exchange through local banks usually requires two to four weeks. You must have sufficient money to cover all expenses for yourself and your family members accompanying you while you are a student/scholar at the University of Maine at Farmington. If you haven’t already wired transferred money to UMF to cover your account, you may set up a payment plan with the Student Accounts Office upon your arrival. Please refer to the “Paying Your University of Maine at Farmington Bill” section of this guide for more details. You will be able to open a local bank account during your first week here at UMF. You must be prepared to meet your necessary expenses for the first month.
Residence Halls and Dining Plans
- The contract is effective upon move in.
- Residence halls do not provide sheets, blankets, pillows, or towels. You can bring your own, or purchase some upon arrival. The cost for one set of sheets/comforter/pillowcase, pillow, and towels ranges from $60-$80.
- Students who arrive earlier than January 19, or have accompanying guests, may stay at a local hotel or motel.
- The University dining hall and meal plans will begin after orientation.
Frequently Asked Pre-departure Questions
What is the weather like in Maine? Many students find the four distinct seasons of Maine to be a most interesting experience. Fall lasts from mid-September through November with temperatures ranging between 30° and 70°Fahrenheit (-1°to 23°C). Winter continues from December to April. Snow and icy rain are common and temperatures range from -25° to 40° F (-32° to 5° C). Winters are generally cold, but prolonged cold spells are rare. The average snowfall is 60 to 90 inches (152-228 cm) yearly. January normally has the heaviest snowfall. Spring arrives in April and lasts until mid-June. The temperatures climb to a range of 45° to 65°F (8° to 18° C). Summer begins in mid-June and lasts until September. Temperatures ranging from 70° to 80°(22° to 27° C) are most common. Occasionally the temperature reaches the 90° to 100° (33° to 39° C) range. Summer nights are usually cool and comfortable. Storms such as tornadoes or hurricanes are very rare, but thunderstorms do occur in the summer.
What kind of clothing is suitable for Maine? Most students dress informally on campus. You will need lightweight clothes for summer and heavier clothing including a warm winter coat, snow boots, hat, and mittens or gloves for winter. Most of these items can be purchased economically after you arrive.
How safe is the campus? Very. The University of Maine at Farmington Public Safety/Campus Police has a full-time chief of police, 3 full-time officers, and 12 part-time officers. They patrol campus 24 hours a day. The UMF Escort Program, under the direct supervision of the UMF Department of Public Safety/Campus Police, provides campus escort services to students, faculty/staff, and guests of UMF during nighttime hours. Individuals who request an escort will be walked from one campus location to another. All residence halls are locked 24 hours a day.
Does a student need a computer? Most students bring a laptop; UMF is a wireless campus. However, if you do not have a laptop you will use our 24/7 computer lab for all your computing needs.
What is the average class size? The University of Maine at Farmington’s great student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1 means you’ll work closely with professors who will know you by name. You’ll receive their full attention on a supportive, intellectually challenging, one-on-one basis. UMF prides itself on small classes where students receive individual attention and where ideas are exchanged and concepts explored in highly personalized settings: in classes, workshops, labs, studios, and more. The percent of classes with fewer than 20 students is 68%, while the percent of classes with 50 or more students is 1%.
How easy is it to talk to a professor? Very. UMF professors are known for working closely with undergraduates. In addition, they have office hours and often are willing to meet with students outside those office hours.
How do I get around? The campus is small and easy to walk around. Students living in the residence halls and are only minutes away from academic buildings and the dining hall. Some students live off-campus and walk or bike to campus. Students with cars may also apply for a parking permit for $25 per year – click here for permit application. The campus is located on the edge of downtown Farmington, where there are small shops, cafés, restaurants, banks, a post office, and a grocery store, all within close walking distance. Although you will not find regular public transportation to the likes of what you may be used to in the form of buses and trains, there is a taxi service and UMF offers a shuttle service, described below.
Visit the appropriate page below for important arrival information and processes.