U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)
is committed to facilitating your stay in the United States while you take advantage
of our nation’s academic, educational, and cultural offerings. To enhance security
without slowing legitimate travel, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has instituted
some changes in U.S. entry and exit procedures. Careful planning and preparation by
international students can ensure that any delay based on these procedures is minimal.
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 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;
- SEVIS Form I-20.
In addition, it is strongly recommended that you also hand carry the following documentation:
- Evidence of financial resources;
- Evidence of student status, such as recent tuition receipts and transcripts;
- 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 comprehensive information on procedures for traveling and arriving in the United
States, visit: http://educationusa.state.gov/predeparture/travel/customs.htm
Complete Your Entry Paperwork:
If Arriving By Air: Flight attendants will distribute Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059)
and Arrival Departure Record Forms (I-94). These must be completed prior to landing.
If Arriving By Land or Sea: The 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); Arrival-Departure Record
Form (I-94); and Customs Declaration Form (CF-6059). The Form I-94 should reflect
the address where you will reside, not the address of the school or program.
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 will:
- Stamp your SEVIS Form for duration of status (“D/S”) for F visa holders
- Stamp your SEVIS Form for 30 days beyond program end date for M visa holders
- Stamp the Arrival-Departure Record Form (I-94) and staple it in the passport
Following Admission Into The United States:
Students should report to their school within 30 days of the date that appears on
the SEVIS I-20 form to register for courses or to validate their intended participation.
Failure to do so may result in serious consequences.
Make Sure To Notify Your International Student Advisor If Your I-20 Does Not Have
A Border Crossing Stamp, Or If You I-94 Did Not Receive A Stamp.
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 your school or program, we strongly recommend that you have
the name and telephone number of the foreign student advisor at your school. In the
event you arrive during non-business hours (evening, weekends, holidays), you should
also have an emergency or non-business hour phone number available for this official.
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 your school to submit the proper documentation
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 to and exits from the United States. For more information:
National Security Entry-exit Registration System (Nseers): Some individuals may be
asked to provide additional information under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration
System (NSEERS). A packet of information will be available at the port of entry explaining
the registration procedure. For more information: http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/press_release_0305.shtm
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is the largest investigative arm of the Department
of Homeland Security.
This data from: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/students/index.htm