Entering the US
US Immigration &
Customs Enforcement’s Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is
committed to facilitating your stay in the US while you take advantage of the
United States’ academic, educational, and cultural offerings. To enhance
security, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has instituted some changes
in U.S. entry and exit procedures. Careful planning and preparation by
international scholars can ensure that any delay based on these procedures is
Immigration documents should never be
packed in luggage that will be, or has the potential to be, checked by an
airlines — be sure to keep your Form DS-2019, visa stamp and passport with you
at all times.
In addition, it is also
strongly recommended that you hand-carry the following documents:
- Evidence of financial
- Paper receipt of your SEVIS
- Evidence of scholar status
(letter from your supervisor, employment offer letter, etc.)
- Phone number for the Office
of International Services
*The US Customs and Border
Patrol (CBP) reserves the right to deny entry to any person who does not have
the correct documentation at a US port of entry. Failure to provide the documents listed above will result in secondary questioning. Secondary
questioning can take up to four hours and could cause significant delays in
your travel schedule.
(I-94 & Customs Declaration)
Arriving by Air: Flight attendants will
distribute customs declaration forms. When you arrive at the US port of entry
(POE), you will be digitally assigned an I-94 admission number.
Proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers. Have the following
documents readily available for presentation:
- Passport dated at least six
months into the future
- Visa stamp (in passport)
- Form DS-2019
- Customs declaration form
All visitors entering the
US must state their reason for entering the country. You will also be asked
to provide information about your final destination. It is important to tell
the CBP officer that you will be a scholar. Be prepared to include the name and
address of the institution you will be attending.
Once your inspection is
complete, the officer will stamp your passport and assign you an I-94 number.
If you enter the US through a land border or are held for secondary screening,
a paper I-94 card will be issued. If this occurs, please take great care not to
lose the I-94 card. It is strongly recommended that you staple it into your
US-VISIT: All nonimmigrant visitors
holding visas regardless of race, national origin or religion participate in
the US-VISIT program, a comprehensive registration system tracking entries and
exits into the US.
National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS): Some individuals may be asked to provide additional information under
the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. A packet of information
will be available at the port of entry explaining the registration steps.
Check-in with Office of International Services: Once you arrive in the US,
you are expected to report to the Office of International Services for
check-in. This is mandatory. Failure
to check in with the Office of International Services within 30 days of arrival
will result in cancellation of your J-1