Once you have obtained your F-1/J-1 visa, you are ready to travel to the United States. Immigration regulations allow you to enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days prior to the start of your program indicated on your SEVIS immigration document. You must carry with you your Passport, I-20 or DS-2019, Form I-797, letter from ESU, original financial documents, and documents showing ties to home country.
Place these documents in a folder or envelope that you will have with you at all times during your travel. During your trip to, or upon your arrival in, the U.S., you will be given a form called Arrival Record/Departure Record (Form I-94). Using a pen, print the information requested on this form, making certain to spell your name exactly as it is spelled in your passport.
Entry to the U.S.
When you arrive in the U.S., you will apply for "admission" and an Immigration Inspector will examine your documents. You will need to present the following documents:
- Form I-94
- Passport with valid F-1/J-1 visa
- SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019
- Proof of SEVIS I-901 Fee payment
You will need to have the following documents ready to present, should the Inspector ask for them:
- Official admission letter from East Stroudsburg University
- Original financial documents
- Documents which demonstrate your intent to return home
If a student or exchange visitor attempts to enter the country without the required documentation, he or she may be given a Form I-515A.
The Immigration Inspector may ask you one or more questions. If you are asked about the funds that will pay for your program at ESU, answer the question and offer to show the Inspector your financial documents. If you are asked about your "intentions," answer the question and offer to show the Inspector the documents that demonstrate your intent to return home.
Please be advised that citizens of certain countries may be subject to Special Registration procedures when entering the U.S. This process requires fingerprinting and photographing and could take extra time, please plan connecting flights accordingly. You should calmly provide all information requested by the immigration officer.
If you have the required documents and there are no more questions, the Inspector will "admit" you to the U.S. by processing your passport, your Form I-94, and your SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019. When you leave the inspection area, make certain you have the following documents in your possession:
- Departure Record (part of Form I-94)
- SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019
- All financial documents
To assist you with getting a U.S. social security number, driver's license, and/or a Pennsylvania identification card, it is essential to make sure the date of birth, spelling and order of your name is the same on your passport, visa, I-20 or DS-2019 form, and I-94 which you will complete before arriving at the U.S. port of entry.
It is important that you do not enter the U.S. to study on a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa, or in WT or WB status through the "visa waiver" program. It is unlawful for individuals in these classifications to study full-time in the U.S., and it is difficult and sometimes impossible to change your immigration status to F-1 or J-1 once you are in the country.