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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
  • Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
  • Evidence of financial resources

The Immigration Inspector will review your papers and stamp your passport. They should also annotate this stamp with eiether F1 D/S or J1 D/S depending on if you are entering with an I-20 or DS-2019. The immigration inspector will issue you and electronic I-94 number that corresponds with your admission to the United States. You can look up your I-94 number at‎

NOTE: You must be especially aware of which visa status you are admitted into the U.S. with, 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.