What You Can Expect
Plan Your Arrival
All new students should arrive in time to attend the International Student Orientation. F-1 and J-1 students may enter as early as 30 days prior to the start date on the I-20/ DS-2019 form. Entering after the start date can be problematic. If you will not be able to arrive by the start date, contact the Office of International Programs for advice.
Always Hand-Carry Your Documents
Do not store your passport or I-20 or DS-2019 or other immigration documents in your baggage or luggage.
- If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will be unable to present the documents at your port of entry. As a result, you may not be able to enter the United States.
You should hand carry the following documentation in a folder or envelope:
- Your passport, valid for at least six months into the future;
- SEVIS Form I-20 (F-1 Students), the DS-2019 (J-1 Students/Scholars)
- Evidence of financial resources;
- Evidence of student status with the University of Mississippi such as Admission letter
- Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee (F-1 and J-1 students), and
- Name and contact information for your sponsoring organization, including emergency contact number.
Office of International Programs
After hours, emergency contact:
University Police Department
For greater detail on procedures for traveling and arriving as a student in the United States, visit: SEVIS for Students website
As You Arrive at the Port of Entry
All visitors entering the United States must state their reason for wishing to enter the country. You will also be asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important for J-1 Visa holders to tell the CBP Officer that they will be an exchange visitor. F-1 Students must tell the CBP Officer that they will be a student. Be prepared to include the name and address of the school program where you will enroll/participate.
Once your inspection is successfully completed:
- The inspecting officer will stamp your passport with date and port of entry information. The officer will also write the classification being given which should be F1 or J1 and valid until D/S meaning duration of status
Secondary Inspections Requirements
If the CBP officer at the port of entry cannot initially verify your information or you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be directed to an interview area known as “secondary inspection.” Secondary inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in order to verify information without causing delays for other arriving passengers.
It is important to answer all questions the CBP officer asks. Remember to remain calm. Secondary inspection is a normal process.
The CBP officer will first attempt to verify the status of F-1 or J-1 visa holders by using the Student and Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS). In the event that the CBP officer needs to verify your admission/participation with your sponsoring school or program, the school may be called.
Under certain circumstances, the CBP officer may issue a “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor” Form (I-515A), which authorizes temporary admission into the United States. If you are admitted with the Form I-515A, bring this to the attention of the Office of International Programs International Student Advisor so that proper documentation can be submitted by the deadline.
All non-immigrant visitors holding visas-regardless of race, national origin, or religion -participate in the US-VISIT, a comprehensive registration tracking system for entries to and exits from the United States. The program involves obtaining a scan of fingerprints and a digital photograph. For more information click here
I-94 Arrival/ Departure Record
The I-94 is the Arrival / Departure Record, in either paper or electronic format and serves as an official record of where and when non-U.S. citizens entered the country. It also gives the classification and the date by which the visitor may stay. Most Arrival/Departure records are electronically created and must be printed by the foreign visitor after arrival. Those entering by land are still provided a paper form and generally the CBP Officer attaches it to the visitor’s passport. It is important to verify that your I-94 information is correct and to print out this record after your arrival. To access the I-94, follow the instructions at: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html