F-1 Visa holding students will encounter multiple requests to show their passport
and the I-20 while traveling. Please become familiar with some of the processes to
Plan Your Arrival:
You may be refused entry into the United States if you attempt to arrive more than
30 days before the program start date listed on your SEVIS I-20 form.
Always Hand-carry Your Documents:
Do NOT put the following documents/items into your baggage. If your baggage is lost
or delayed, you will be unable to present the documents at your port of entry. As
a result, you may not be able to enter the United States:
- Your passport, valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay
should always be on your person as you travel.
- SEVIS Form I-20 must be with you as you process through airports, or at border crossings.
- Cash – please do not keep cash in your luggage, but instead keep it very securely
hidden with you at all times.
In addition, it is strongly recommended that you also hand carry the following documentation:
- Evidence of financial resources; this includes any government sponsorship letter.
- Evidence of student status, such as recent tuition receipts and transcripts – recommended
but not mandatory.
- Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797, and
- Name and contact information for your “Designated School Official”, including a 24-hour
emergency contact number at the school. For The University of Memphis, you may list
Clar Nunis, International Student Advisor as your contact. Regular office hours, please
call 901 678-4721, outside of regular office hours, for emergencies only, call campus
police services at 901 678-4357
For comprehensive information on procedures for traveling and arriving in the United
States, visit: https://www.educationusa.info/about.php
Complete Your Entry Paperwork:
If Arriving By Air: An online record will be created for you called an I-94. Please be sure to print
this I-94 record as soon as you are on campus and able to access a printer. https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/
If Arriving By Land or Sea: The Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) Officer at the port of entry will provide the necessary
Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059) and Arrival-Departure Record Forms (I-94) to be
filled out upon your arrival.
As You Arrive At The Port Of Entry:
Proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers. Have the following documents
available for presentation: your passport; SEVIS Form (I-20); and Customs Declaration
Form (CF-6059). The When asked to provide U.S. address information, the address where
you will reside, not the address of any school office.
All visitors entering the United States must state their reason for wishing to enter
the country. You will also be asked to provide information about your final destination.
It is important that you tell the CBP Officer that you will be a student. Be prepared
to include the name and address of the school program where you will enroll/participate.
Once your inspection is successfully completed, the inspecting officer may possibly:
- Stamp your SEVIS Form for duration of status (“D/S”) for F visa holders
- Skip the stamp because the process is migrating to an online record keeping system
- Stamp the Arrival-Departure Record Form (I-94) and staple it in the passport, if you
were issued a paper I-94. (Remember that most students will get an online I-94 record
Following Admission Into The United States:
Students should report to their school upon arrival. Full time enrollment is required
in the first semester, and in all subsequent regular semesters, for F-1 visa students.
Failure to do so may result in serious consequences.
Make Sure To Notify Your International Student Advisor If you were issued any stamps
or documents indicating any visa status that is not F-1.
Secondary Inspection Requirements
If the CBP officer at the port of entry cannot initially verify your information or
you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be directed to an interview
area known as “secondary inspection.” Secondary inspection allows inspectors to conduct
additional research in order to verify information without causing delays for other
The inspector will first attempt to verify your status by using the Student and Exchange
and Visitor Information System (SEVIS). In the event that the CBP Officer needs to
verify information with The University of Memphis, please remember the following information:
Name and contact information for your “Designated School Official”, including a 24-hour
emergency contact number at the school. You may list Clar Nunis, International Student
Advisor as your contact. During regular office hours, please call 901 678-4721, outside
of regular office hours, for emergencies only, call campus police services at 901 678-4357, and ask the campus police to contact
Ms. Nunis at home.
Failure to comply with U.S. government entry-exit procedures may result in your being
denied entry to the United States. Under certain circumstances, the CBP officer may
issue a “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor” Form (I-515A), which authorizes temporary
admission into the United States. Work with the International Students Office to submit
the proper documentation without delay.
US-VISIT: All non-immigrant visitors holding visas -- regardless of race, national
origin, or religion -- participate in the US-VISIT program, a comprehensive registration
system tracking entries to and exits from the United States. For more information:
SAVE: The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program is a service
that helps federal, state, and local benefit-issuing agencies determine the immigration
status of applicants. Please note that the SAVE database is essential for both Social
Security applications, and for drivers license and state i.d. applications. There
is commonly a 10-day lag time between a student’s check-in with their campus in the
U.S. and their updated record appearing in the Social Security Administration database.
Contact the International Students Office on campus if you have been told that your
SAVE record is not visible. http://www.uscis.gov/save