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 International Student and Scholar Services 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 needed documents and may not be able to enter the United States.
Hand carry the following documentation:
- 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
International Student and Scholar Services
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. Have the name and address of the school program where you will enroll/participate.
Once your inspection is successfully completed:
- The inspecting officer may stamp your passport and write the classification being given which should be F1 or J1 and valid until D/S meaning duration of status
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.
Secondary inspection is a normal process so answer all questions and remain calm.
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). Your sponsoring school or program may be called if the CBP officer needs to verify your admission.
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 ISSS International Student Advisor so that proper documentation can be submitted by the deadline.
I-94 Arrival/ Departure Record
The I-94 Arrival / Departure Record serves as an official record of where and when non-U.S. citizens entered the country. It gives the classification and the date by which the visitor may stay. Verify that your I-94 information is correct and print out this record after your arrival. Access your I-94 at: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home