F-1 students and F-2 dependents may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the I-20 program starting date. You may be refused entry to the United States if you attempt to arrive more than 30 days prior to the program starting date listed on your SEVIS I-20 form.

The following documents should be with you on hand when arriving to the U.S.:

  1. Passport with valid visa
  2. SEVIS Form I-20
  3. Affidavit of support; bank statement, letter of sponsorship, etc.
  4. Evidence of student status, such as recent tuition receipts, transcript(s), and acceptance letter
  5. Receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797

Name and contact information for your “Designated School Official,” including a 24-hour emergency contact number at the school.


Please have the following documents available for presentation: passport, SEVIS Form (I-20), and Customs Declaration Form (CF-6059).

A new electronic I-94 process has been fully implemented starting May 25, 2013. Under the new CBP process, a CBP officer will provide each admitted nonimmigrant traveler with an admission stamp on their passport. CBP will no longer issue a paper Form I-94 upon entry to the U.S. For more information, please visit the CBP website.

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 has been successfully completed, the inspecting officer will stamp your passport for the duration of status (“D/S”).


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.