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.
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
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
- Alamo Car Rentals: 1-844-841-7825
- Avis Car Rentals: 1-800-831-2847
- Budget Rent-A-Car: 1-800-527-0700
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 1-800-261-7331
- Hertz Car Rentals: 1-800-654-3131
- National Car Rentals: 1-800-227-7368
- Zipcar Car Rentals: zipcar.com/ufl (local travel)
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.
State and national bus service is available in the U.S., but may be limited depending on location.
State and National Bus Services
- Greyhound Bus Lines: 352-376-5252
- RedCoach: 877-733-0724
- GMG Transport: 352-336-7026
- Megabus: 877-462-6342
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.”
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 amtrak.com 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.
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.
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.
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.
- Alachua County Public Schools
- Alachua County Public Schools Enrollment Information
- Alachua County Child Care Centers
- Baby Gator: UF campus daycare
- UF Students with Children Campus Resources
- Fun 4 Gator Kids: Database of childcare and family-friendly activities and events
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.
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.
- Florida Driver Handbooks & Manuals
- Information for International Drivers in Florida
- Florida Driver’s Licenses and State IDs
- Required Documents
DMV - Southwest Branch (limited services)
DMV - Downtown Branch (limited services)
DMV - Northwest Branch
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 flhmv.gov 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.
- Gator1 Central: A Gator1 ID card lets holders ride the bus for free.
- Gainesville Regional Transit System: Find a bus, view rider alerts, etc.
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.