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Planning Your Arrival


Alex Pia

Director of International Student Services


2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Arriving in the United States

If you are traveling on the F-1 student visa, you may enter the United Status up to 30 days prior to the program start date listed on your Form I-20 (see "Program of Study"). Some students choose to travel to the U.S. to visit friends or family before traveling to Knox. You must arrive in the United States on or before the program start date. If you attempt to enter the U.S. after this report date, you may be denied entry. Please notify Alex Pia ( in the  Office of International Services if your travel plans are delayed.

At the U.S. Port of Entry (Passport Control and Customs)
You will need to present your passport, F-1 visa, and Form I-20 issued by Knox College to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer when you enter the United States. The officer may also ask to see your admission letter and evidence of financial resources (copy of Certification of Finances form, bank statements, employment letters, tax forms, etc.). Be sure that these documents are easily accessible, and pack them in your carry-on luggage, not your checked luggage. You should also carry a copy of your passport, visa, and I-20 stored separately from the originals. 

The CBP officer will take a digital photograph of you and scan your fingerprints. The officer will then stamp your passport and write “F-1” and “D/S”. “D/S” means "duration of status," and indicates that you may be present in the U.S. as long as you remain a student in valid immigration status. If the officer does not mark your passport with "F-1" or “D/S,” ask the officer about it so it can be corrected immediately.

Getting to campus

Transportation to campus is available on specific dates from Peoria International Airport (PIA), Quad City International Airport-Moline (MLI), the Galesburg Amtrak train station, the Galesburg bus station, or CityLink bus stop in Peoria. You can view these dates and submit your travel information on your Pre-Arrival Tracker.

By plane
If you're coming by plane to the U.S., you may fly into Peoria International Airport (PIA) or Quad City International Airport in Moline (MLI). Both airports are about 40 minutes from the Knox campus. Alternatively, you can fly into O'Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago, and come to Galesburg by train or to Peoria by bus. Please see below for information about arriving by train or bus.

By train
Each day, several trains from Chicago stop at the Galesburg Amtrak station. If you fly into O'Hare airport (ORD) and want to take the train to Galesburg, you will need to take the blue CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) line from O'Hare to the Clinton Station. The blue line ticket will cost $5 and you can purchase it at the airport with cash or a credit or debit card. At Clinton Station, get off the train and walk north for two blocks on Clinton Street. Head east (turn right) onto Jackson Street, and after one block, head north (turn left) onto Canal Street. You'll see Union Station on your right. At Union Station, you can take an Amtrak train to Galesburg. You can purchase a ticket online by searching for a route between Chicago (CHI) and Galesburg (GBB). Please note: the blue line CTA trip from O'Hare to Union Station will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes, and the last Amtrak train from Chicago to Galesburg usually leaves at 17:55. If you decide to take the train to Galesburg, please keep this in mind as you're scheduling your travel.

By bus
If you fly into O'Hare, you can take a  Peoria Charter bus to the CityLink Transit Center in Peoria. You can also take a Greyhound bus to Galesburg from Chicago, St. Louis, and select other cities. The Greyhound Bus will stop at the Galesburg Bus Depot and Amtrak Station.  

By car
If you're coming to campus by car, take a look at our directions to campus. Rental cars are available at most major airports. Please note that auto insurance is required to drive a car in Illinois, and ensure you are familiar with the Illinois Rules of the Road

Local Dining and Accommodations

If you will arrive early to Galesburg, or have family accompanying you, you'll need to make a reservation at a hotel in Galesburg. View information on local accommodations. Meals for new students are not provided on campus until orientation programs begin, so be prepared to enjoy many of the exciting restaurants within walking distance of campus if you will arrive early.

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Printed on Saturday, May 18, 2024