United States Port of Entry

  • Before you will be admitted to the United States, you will be required to present your passport, visa, Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, your proof of SEVIS fee payment and your completed Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record to the Immigration inspector. We recommend that you also have your proof of finances documentation with you should you be asked for it.
  • Expect to have your index fingers scanned for fingerprint purposes and a digital photograph taken.
  • When you are admitted, the Immigration inspector should stamp your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 in red and write "F-1" or "J-1" and "D/S" before returning it to you.
  • The inspector should also stamp your Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) in red and write "F-1" or "J-1" and "D/S" indicating the date and place of admission to the United States, your immigration classification, and your authorized length of stay.
  • Most of the time, there will be no difficulty. In certain cases, if there is some problem with your documents, you may be issued a 30-day entry on your Form I-94 and issued a Form I-515, usually with instructions to see your international student advisor to resolve.
  • Before leaving the port of entry, check to make sure this information is entered upon your documents. Keep these documents in a safe and accessible place during your stay in the United States.
  • Anyone who is denied admission at the U.S. port of entry should be very cautious about arguing with an immigration official. You may risk being issued "expedited removal" which now entails a five-year bar on admission to the U.S.
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