Getting into the U.S.
Always Hand-Carry Your Documents
Do not store your passport or DS-2019 or other immigration documents in your checked luggage.
You will be unable to present the needed documents at your port of entry if your luggage is lost or delayed. As a result, you may not be able to enter the United States.
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 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. Be prepared with the name and address of the school program where you will enroll/participate.
Once your inspection is successfully completed:
- The inspecting officer might stamp your passport with date and port of entry information.
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.
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 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.
The I-94 is the Arrival / Departure Record 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. Visitors can go to the Customs and Border Protection site to access their I-94 Arrival Record . For more information, please visit the Customs and Border Protection I-94 Instructions site.