Entering the United States


Remember that you must obtain your visa from the United States Embassy/Consulate prior to arriving in the United States.  Also, remember that you cannot enter the United States more than 30 days before the start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019. If you do not have the correct immigration paperwork, you may not be allowed to board the plane.

Carry your immigration documents with you onto the plane (i.e. NOT in your checked luggage) because you will be required to present your passport and these documents to the Immigration Officer at your port of entry. On the plane to your port of entry you will be given an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record Form.  Complete this form and carry it with you to the Immigration Officer.

When you arrive at your port of entry, you will be inspected by the Immigration Officer for admission into the United States.  At this time you will present these documents:

  • Passport
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94 card
  • Financial information

Your passport and I-94 will be stamped with an entry date.  The "departure part" of the I-94 card will be stapled into your passport. The Immigration Officer will stamp your I-20 or DS-2019 and return it to you. Put these documents in a safe place because you will need to present them to the Buckman Center upon your arrival at Rhodes College. Losing and replacing these documents will be of significant cost to you in both time and money.

You are required by USCIS to attend the institution whose immigration documents you use to enter the United States.

More detailed information about What To Expect at at United States Port of Entry can be found on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.