Arrival in the U.S.

When to Arrive

  • When making travel plans, please be aware that F-1 and J-1 visa holders entering the U.S. for a NEW program, may not enter the U.S. earlier than 30 days before the begin date of their I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1) documents.
  • Students or visiting researchers/faculty who are either continuing an on-going program or transferring from another U.S. school to UC Irvine are not subject to the 30-day arrival limit.
  • When you travel, you will need to carry your documents with you; do not pack them into your baggage.

Required Documents

Be prepared to present the following documents to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer:

  • Passport
  • Valid non-immigrant visa (Candian Citizens are exempt from visa requirements, put must have all other documents)
  • Original form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Internet Receipt verifying SEVIS Fee payment
  • Evidence of financial resources

If you are traveling by aircraft, the flight attendants on board will distribute CF-6059 Customs Declaration Forms and Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record for immigration, before you land at your initial point-of-entry in the U.S. Complete these forms while you are on the aircraft and submit them to the appropriate Customs and Border Protection Officer upon your arrival. If you do not understand a form, ask the flight attendant for assistance.

I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

The CBP Officer will stamp your passport with an entry stamp and make a notation of the type of status you are being given as well as the expiration date. For F-1 and J-1 visa holders, you will be given the expiration notation "D/S" (duration of status). After your arrival at UCI, you will need to visit the CBP website to print out a copy of your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. This print out will be helpful when you complete the International Center Check-In process, when applying for a Social Security Card, etc.).


Travel Signature

Request Process


Tuesday, Wednesday,Thursday
9 - 11 a.m.
International Center

Coffee Hour

Every Friday 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Counseling Center, Student Services I


Subscribe to the International Center
Programs & Activities Newsletter!

Campus Climate