Arrival in the U.S.


Immigration regulations allow students with an F-1 visa to use their I-20 to enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the program start date listed on their I-20.


All students are required to attend an international student orientation. Plan to arrive 4 weeks before the first day of the fall semester and 3 weeks to 6 weeks before the first day of spring semester classes in order to attend the earliest possible orientation program and locate housing. You should plan to be in the U.S. at least one day before the in-person orientation.


It is your responsibility to make flight arrangements which will enable you to attend orientation. Failure to attend orientation will result in cancellation of your admission to Grossmont College.


The 30-day period is a federal immigration law, and students may be turned away at the port of entry if they arrive earlier. 


Airport Arrival and Shuttle Services


Our college does not provide any transportation service between San Diego International Airport and El Cajon. The following information are some of San Diego's local shuttle services (large vans which provide door-to-door transportation and carry several passengers at a time) is provided for your convenience. Grossmont College does not have partnerships with these services, so prices are not guaranteed and are subject to change. It is customary to leave a few dollars (approximately 15% of trip cost) for the driver as a tip, especially if you have a lot of heavy luggage. You are responsible for making your own shuttle arrangements.


To make a reservation via phone, fax or e-mail, prepare the following information:

  • Name
  • Number of people traveling
  • Airline and flight number
  • Arrival date and time
  • Destination within the San Diego County area

 Here are a couple of shuttle services for you to choose from:


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All Access Transportation Shuttle

Tel: (619) 548-9914

  • Reservation required.
  • Curbside pick-up (just outside Baggage Claim doors).
  • U.S. Cash, Traveler's Checks or Credit Cards accepted.


$25-35 to La Mesa 91942

$35-45 to El Cajon 92020

EZ Ride Shuttle

Tel: (800) 777-0585


  • Reservations are suggested, if under 24 hours then call for reservations.
  • U.S. Cash, Traveler's Checks or Credit Cards accepted.
  • Rate Calculator to know how much fare will be


$29 to La Mesa 91942

$39 to El Cajon 92020


Uber / Lyft (Ridesharing)

Phone Application from San Diego International Terminal to Grossmont College
You can download the app through the iTunes store on Apple devices or Google Play on Android devices.

Cost: $20-140

Hotel Information

There are no motels / hotels available within walking distance to the college, but you may want to check the following local motels for temporary stays until you find permanent housing. These motels are all within 10 miles of campus and are located next to or near bus stops or trolley stations. Prices listed below are based on special discount rates available to Grossmont College students. Prices are approximate only, and are subject to change. Below each hotel listing is a set of instructions for using public transportation from the hotel to Grossmont College, with corresponding travel times. It is a good idea to make your room reservation well in advance of your arrival. 


Remember, you are responsible for making your own motel/hotel reservations. Information on this page is for information ONLY. Your experience with the hotel is up to their hotel management.


To make your reservation, have ready your 1) arrival and departure dates; 2) number of people to stay in room; 3) smoking/non-smoking preference; and 4) credit card information to guarantee reservation (exact name and spelling of card-holder, number and expiration date). When making your reservation, be sure to mention that you're a Grossmont College student and want the discounted room rate.


Courtyard by Marriott of San Diego El Cajon

$125-$190 (Plus 10% tax)
Tel: (619) 334-6999
141 North Magnolia Avenue El Cajon, CA 92020 

(Enter "El Cajon, CA" under destination to search for bookings at this location.)


Bus Stop is close by at corner of Claydelle Avenue and East Main Street.
8 minute bus ride to El Cajon Transit Center using the 815 bus.
Then change to the 115 bus to SDSU / Grossmont College for a 16 minute ride. (Bus ticket costs $2.25)


Holiday Inn of La Mesa

$159.00 (June - August) $139.00 (Sept - May) (plus 10% tax)
Tel: (619) 698-7747
Fax: (619) 698-6347 with Grossmont College discount
8000 Parkway Drive, La Mesa, CA 91942 


(Enter "La Mesa" under destination to view photos of this Holiday Inn. To make a reservation using the Grossmont student discount, call or fax the La Mesa Holiday Inn direction, and identify yourself as a new Grossmont College student).


Bus stop close by at corner of Parkway Drive and Baltimore Drive.
15-minute ride on Bus 854 takes you directly to Grossmont college. (Bus ticket costs $2.50.)


Best Western Plus La Mesa San Diego

$129.00 (Ask for GC corporate rate) (plus 10% tax)
Tel: (619) 466-0200
Fax: (619) 460-6674
9550 Murray Drive, La Mesa, CA 91942 

Five-block walk to Amaya Trolley Station. One-minute trolley ride to Grossmont Trolley Station. Use same $2.50 trolley ticket to transfer to Bus 854. Bus ride from Grossmont Trolley Station to Grossmont College takes 22 minutes.


You may also wish to look at other hotels via the internet or a travel agency, but keep in mind that any hotel NOT in the La Mesa area will require at least 45 minutes by public transportation to reach Grossmont's campus.


IMPORTANT: Keep your money and passport in a safe place. Do not display a lot of cash and/or traveler's checks while you are traveling, and do not leave them in your motel room if you are not there. Upon arrival to San Diego International Airport, make sure to keep your luggage with you at all times.


Travel Tips

Hand carry (do not check) the following documents:


1. Your passport


2. Your SEVIS Form I-20


3. Copy of proof of financial resources


4. Grossmont College acceptance letter


5. Paper receipt for the SEVIS I-901 fee


6. Your money and other valuables


Related Resources

International Student Application