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International Student and Scholar Support

Airport Pickup

There are a few different ways to get from the Columbia Airport to USC's campus. Many students rely on taxis to take them to or from the airport, but others often use the Airport Arrival Assistance offered by the Columbia Council for Internationals (CCFI). Plan ahead and know which method you will use before your plane lands in South Carolina. If you use a taxi or shuttle service, it is expected that you leave a tip of at least 15% for your driver. Cash is usually the most accepted payment method, but some services offer credit card or electronic payment options.

Airport Arrival Assistance

Columbia Council for Internationals (CCFI), a local non-profit organization, offers airport pick-up for international students arriving in Columbia, SC. CCFI volunteers meet arriving internationals at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) or Columbia bus stations and transport them to their temporary or permanent living arrangements. This is a completely free, volunteer-based service aimed at making your first-time arrival in Columbia comfortable, safe, and affordable.


  1. The airport pickup service is only available for UofSC students who arrive at Columbia Metropolitan Airport.
  2. Filling out this form does not guarantee you any reservations of the service. This is an all-volunteer service, so there may be times when there are no drivers available. CCFI will try their best to accommodate your arrival. You will receive another email to confirm your request
  3. COVID-19 Requirements: Arriving international students and their volunteer drivers are required to wear a mask while in the Columbia airport and while being transported. If you do not have a mask, one will be available from the volunteer driver.

Click here to request airport arrival assistance.


Taxi Services

Calling a taxi in Columbia is not as easy as it is in some major cities that are filled with taxis on every street. You will need to call the taxi company directly if you need a taxi to pick you up. Often, there are some taxis waiting at the airport for new arrivals, but this is not a guarantee. We recommend that our international students call one of the following companies if they need a ride to or from the Columbia airport:

When you call, be prepared to tell the operator your initial pickup location, the number of riders that will be in the taxi, and your final destination.

Uber and Lyft

As an alternative to taking a taxi, Uber or Lyft both require that you download their mobile app and create an account with them before you request a ride. Uber and Lyft are similar to a taxi service, but you control the experience from your smartphone. It has many modern features that most taxi services do not offer. It allows you to have an accurate estimate of the cost and time of your trip; you are able to see your driver's location and picture as they are driving to pick you up; and you can pay electronically and provide feedback about your experience. The Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) has complimentary Wi-fi, so you can utilize Uber in the airport.

Columbia Charlotte Shuttle

If your flight is arriving at or departing from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), you may wish to use the Columbia Charlotte Shuttle for your transportation to and from the airport. This service offers to pick you up from the Charlotte airport and drop you off at your residence hall, apartment, or hotel in Columbia for only $55. The Columbia Charlotte Shuttle is not affiliated with International Student Services, so please communicate directly with the shuttle company if you have any questions or concerns regarding this method of transportation.

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