It is possible to arrive in Gainesville directly by airplane, bus, or car. Exchange visitors should finalize their travel arrangements once they receive their Form DS-2019 and J visa. Acting too early can be expensive if there are unexpected delays that cause changes to plans.

To learn more about the University of Florida, exchange visitors can also take the UF virtual tour or a student-led tour.


Gainesville has one public airport, with connecting flights to and from larger international airports. EVS highly recommends exchange visitors schedule a flight into Gainesville, as the city is nearly 100 miles from the closest international port of entry, and other services may be limited depending on location.

Gainesville Regional Airport

3880 N.E. 39th Avenue, Suite A
Gainesville, Florida 32609

Phone: 352-373-0249 | Fax: 352-374-8368

URL: | Email:

Car Rental

Exchange visitors who plan to rent a car when they arrive in the U.S. must be careful to select a company with a car return location in Gainesville.

Each company has specific rental requirements. Typically, the person renting the car must be at least 21-years-old, and have a valid credit card and at least one form of valid driver’s license.

Gainesville Car Rental Services

For more information, including rental requirements and any discounts for UF affiliates, directly contact the company.

For driving and parking directions to the UF campus, visit the Office of Admissions directions page.

Bus Service

State and national bus service is available in the U.S., but may be limited depending on location.

State and National Bus Services

For more information, including routes and ticket options, directly contact the company. For more information about campus and city bus service, please scroll below to “Transportation.”

Train Service

There are no direct passenger train lines to or from Gainesville. The closest train station is in Palatka, approximately 45 minutes east of Gainesville. Amtrak, the largest passenger train service in the U.S., has two routes through this station.

For more information, including route schedules and reservations, please visit or call 1-800-872-7245.


Gainesville has many short-term (<12 months) and long-term (12+ months) housing options. Due to high demand, it is important to secure housing as soon as possible.

On-Campus Housing

Depending on the type and length of the J-1 program, exchange visitors may be eligible for on-campus housing at UF. On-campus housing is managed by the Department of Housing and Residence Education, which has six locations dedicated to graduate and family housing, as well as a limited number of short-term furnished guest apartments through Conference Services.

For more information, including eligibility requirements, housing availability, and application forms, please contact Housing and Residence Education.

Off-Campus Housing

Gainesville has a wide variety of off-campus housing options available for rent, including individual rooms, apartments, and houses. However, affordable and convenient locations are limited and rented extremely quickly, so securing housing should be an early priority.

There are many third-party housing databases available online, and UF’s Department of Off Campus Life provides a variety of resources, including community guides and a UF database for housing, roommates, and ride-shares.

For further assistance, please contact Off Campus Life or an EVS advisor.

Schooling and Childcare

Gainesville has many schooling and childcare options available for infants, children, and teenagers up to high school. The majority of school-age children in the U.S. attend public schools, which have free enrollment, but private schools are available, as well.

All children age 6 or older are required by law to attend some form of schooling while in Florida, while voluntary schooling is available for younger children.



The areas near the UF campus and downtown Gainesville are extremely walkable and bicycle-friendly, while the local bus system provides service to both the campus and city. Cars become more necessary farther out from the city center.

Motor Vehicles

All Florida drivers are regulated by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV). State driving rules in the U.S. apply to all motor vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters.

Exchange visitors must have a valid Florida driver’s license to drive any motor vehicle within Florida.

If an exchange visitor have a valid International Driving Permit or driver’s license from their home country:

  • They can temporarily use it to drive in Florida. (contact the DMV for details)
  • They may be exempt from certain tests to receive a Florida driver’s license.


DMV - Southwest Branch (limited services)

DMV - Downtown Branch (limited services)

DMV - Northwest Branch

(full services)

3837 Windmeadows Blvd.

Gainesville, FL 32608

12 SE 1st St.

Gainesville, FL 32601

5801 NW 34th Blvd.

Gainesville, FL 32653

Gainesville DMVs share offices with the tax collector. For more information, visit or call 352-374-5236.


Gainesville’s Regional Transit System (RTS) buses service both the city and the UF campus, including a UF football game day shuttle service, and a variety of door-to-door transportation options are available for eligible riders. All buses are wheelchair-accessible.



Biking is extremely popular in Gainesville and the surrounding area, for both transportation and recreation. There are many organizations and initiatives throughout Gainesville to encourage riding, as well as miles of bicycle lanes and trails of all lengths and skill levels.