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Date of Arrival 

U.S. immigration regulations state that new students entering in on an F-1 student visa, will only be eligible to enter the U.S. 30 calendar days or less prior to the beginning of the program date or start date. 

Students are required to arrive and report to MSC no later than 2 weeks prior to their program start date. 

I-94 Arrival/Departure Record 

  • The I-94 automation will eliminate the need for paper-based I-94 and instead will generate an electronic record of the non-immigrant’s entry and departure information on CBP website.

Proof of Legal Status 

  • Passports will now be stamped with the date of admission to the U.S. and the visa status in which one has been admitted. Along with a valid passport and I-20, this admission stamp serves as proof of legal status. It is strongly suggested that one obtains a printout of their electronic I-94 document from the CBP website after each arrival and retain these documents for their records. The printout will serve as an official I-94 record for federal and state government-based benefit applications, such as driver’s license and social security number.

I-94 Printout Instructions 

  • Students will need to visit the CBP website and search for their electronic I-94 record using their name as it appears on their visa stamp page.

Phasing Out Paper I-94 

All the previous rules and procedures related to the paper I-94 still apply until a student’s next entry to the U.S. creates an electronic I-94 record. If a student currently possesses the paper I-94, they will surrender it during their next departure from the U.S. 

United States Port of Entry 

  • Immigration Inspection  
  • Upon Arrival Upon arrival, students will present their passport, visa and I-20/DS-2019. 
  • After reviewing the documents and updating the student’s SEVIS record with the entry information, the port of entry official will stamp the student’s passport notating F-1 D/S (Duration of Status), date and location of arrival in the U.S. If this is not completed, please bring it to the attention of the port of entry official so that it can be stamped with this annotation. 
  • While the CBP officer is inspecting the immigration documents, students may be asked some general questions. Don’t get agitated or nervous – it’s just routine procedure. Always answer clearly, honestly and politely. If there is a problem, suggest that they contact OIS.

Baggage Claim 

  • After clearing customs, students should proceed to the Baggage Claim area to collect their bags. If the bags are not on the carousel, or they are marked, students should inform the airline service kiosk in the Baggage Claim area. It may be necessary to meet with an U.S. Customs officials (or Agricultural Dept.) if the bags are marked.
  • They may ask about the contents of the bags or ask to open them up. Students should follow their instructions and answer their questions honestly and politely. Please bear in mind that the penalty for carrying contraband is very high and may result in deportation.
  • To assure that you do not pack anything that could cause alarm, we suggest that you visit the TSA website.