What to expect on arrival to a U.S. port of entry
Per Information from Custom & Border Protection (CBP)
Advance preparation prior to entry
Careful planning and preparation can ensure that there is no delay in your travels to the United States. If you are a non-immigrant student or exchange visitor, here are some things you should do:
- Before leaving your country, confirm that your passport and nonimmigrant visa are valid for entry into the United States. The passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay.
- Check to see that your visa accurately reflects your correct visa classification.
- If the visa states the name of the institution you will attend or identifies the exchange program in which you are participating, verify that this information is accurate, as well. If your review indicates any discrepancies or potential problems, visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain a new visa.
- Students and exchange visitors entering the United States for the first time under their respective nonimmigrant visa classification cannot enter the United States earlier than 30 days before to the program start date.
- When you receive your U.S. nonimmigrant visa at the Embassy or Consulate in your country, the consular officer may seal your immigration documents in an envelope and attach it to your passport. You should not open this envelope! The Customs and Border Protection Officer at the U.S. port of entry will open the envelope.
- When you travel, you should carry some specific documents on your person (please see below). Do not put them in your checked baggage! If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will not be able to show the documents to the Customs and Border Protection Officer and, as a result, may not be able to enter the United States.
Documents you should carry with you when traveling to U.S.:
- Passport with visa
- Form I-20 or DS-2019
- SEVIS Fee Receipt
- Evidence of financial resources
- Admission letter to The University of Akron
- In addition, it is recommended that you also carry the follow documents:
- Name and contact information for Designated School Official (DSO) or Responsible Officer (RO) at your intended school or program.
- Writing instrument (pen)
If you will arrive by air or sea:
Effective April 26, 2013, you will no longer be required to complete a paper Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) during your flight, and submit it to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer upon arrival to the United States. Your arrival record will be created electronically by the CBP system and will remain in the system for two years. The I-94 form documents your non-immigrant status in the United States, the length of stay, arrival and departure dates.
If you are required to have a paper I-94 form as a part of your application for Social Security Card or Driver’s License, you will be able to download and print it out from the website http://www.cbp.gov/I94 upon arrival.
If you are entering through land:
The Customs and Border Protection Officer will provide the necessary CF-6059 (Customs Declaration Form) and Form I-94 Arrival Departure Record at the port of entry. If you do not understand a form, ask the CBP Officer for assistance.
Upon arrival at the port of entry:
Proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers for inspection. As you approach the inspection station, ensure that you have your passport, Form I-20 or DS-2019 available for presentation to the CBP Officer.
Like all entering visitors, you will be asked to state the reason you wish to enter the United States. 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 or exchange visitor. Be prepared to include the name and address of the school or exchange visitor program where you will enroll/participate.
Once your inspection is complete, the inspecting officer will:
- Stamp your passport. The stamp will show your visa status in which you are admitted to the United States, the arrival date, and, instead of a certain departure date, it will be a D/S that means Duration of Status
- Return the Form I-20 or DS-2019 back to you
Secondary Inspection Requirements
If the inspector cannot automatically verify your information or you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be escorted to an interview area known as “secondary inspection." Secondary inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in order to verify information. Verifications are done apart from the primary inspection lines so that an individual case will not cause delays for other arriving passengers.
It is recommended that you have readily available the name and phone number of the foreign student and exchange visitor advisor at your school, in case your admission/participation needs to be verified. It is advisable to arrive to the USA during business hours when the foreign student/scholar advisor can be reached (please see below for our hours).
Failure to provide proper documentation and to comply with the entry at procedures is cause to refuse the student or exchange visitor admission into the United States. In limited circumstances, if a student or exchange visitor is mostly, but not fully in compliance, he/she may be issued a Form I-515A, Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor. This form authorizes temporary admission for 30 days into the United States and requires the student or exchange visitor to take immediate action to submit proper documentation. Noncompliance with the directions contained on these forms can result in future adverse action.
Following admission to the United States:
You should report to the Office of Immigration Services (Polsky Building, Room 469) as soon as you arrive in Akron to validate your arrival to the United States. If you do not do this, you will be forced to leave the United States after 30 days. Upon check-in, we will activate your SEVIS record and report to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security your arrival.
You will also need to attend the International Student Orientation. More information is provided on a separate sheet in this packet.
We are looking forward to welcoming you to The University of Akron! Have a nice trip!
The University of Akron Office of Immigration Services
Polsky Building, Room 469
225 S. Main Street, Akron, OH 44325-2101
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (4:30 p.m. in summer)