Port of Entry Procedures

New F-1 VISA students may enter the United States up to 30 days prior to the start date indicated on their I-20 (item 5). Do not attempt to enter the U.S. after the arrival date on the I-20. Please e-mail the Office of International Student Services (internationalservices@southalabama.edu) immediately if you will not be able to report by the arrival date.

Keep the following items on hand for the US Port of Entry:

  • SEVIS I-20
  • Passport (valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your expected stay)
  • VISA

You may also be asked to present the following:

  • Proof of funding for at least one year of study (financial affidavit/bank statement, scholarship letter, etc.)
  • Verification of your student status (For example, your letter of admission)
  • SEVIS fee receipt (Form I-797)

Additional information about Port of Entry procedures is available by visiting:

@ http://www.ice.gov/sevis/students/
@ http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/study_exchange/exchange_arrivals.xml

Please be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the U.S. The US Customs and Border Protection officials have the authority to deny admission.

Important note about 1-94 Arrival / Departure record:
US Customs and Border Patrol announced the automation of Form I-94 in April, 2013. This means it will no longer be necessary for affected visitors to complete a paper form when arriving to the United States by air or sea. US CBP will continue to stamp your passport with your date and status of entry. You will be need to retrieve and print an electronic record of your I-94 after arrival online at: http://www.cbp.gov/i94 if your Port of Entry has automated this process. For more information about the automation of the I-94, please visit: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/i-94_instructions/i94_rollout.xml and http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/newsroom/fact_sheets/travel/i94_factsheet.ctt/i94_factsheet.pdf