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Arriving at the U.S. Port of Entry

How soon can I enter the U.S.?

You cannot enter the country more than 30 days prior to the start date on you I-20.

What documents will I need to present?(Do not pack these in your baggage!)

  • Passport with F-1 visa (or J-1 visa)
  • Form I-20 (or Form DS-2019)
  • Evidence of financial resources

The immigration inspector will review your documents and stamp your passport. They should also annotate this stamp with either F-1 D/S (or J-1 D/S) depending on if you are entering with an I-20 or DS-2019. The immigration inspector will issue you an electronic I-94 number that corresponds with your admission to the United States. You can look up your I-94 number online at any time.

NOTE: You must be especially aware with which visa status you are admitted into the U.S., especially if you have another visa stamp in your passport (such as a B-2 tourist visa) or if you are from a "visa waiver" country like Canada.