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Four Ways to Prepare for Your Arrival to the United States

July 18, 2014
Make sure that you know what needs to be done before you arrive in the United States to study.

Congratulations on your acceptance to a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)‑certified school. Before coming to the United States to begin your studies, there are several things to do to prepare yourself.

  1. Receive the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” from your designated school official (DSO).
  2. Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee at — be sure to watch the I–901 SEVIS fee payment tutorial to help you through each step of the payment process.
  3. Apply for a student visa at your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  4. To apply for your visa and nonimmigrant benefits (including admission into the United States) you will need to present origional copies of the official documents. Be sure to make copies of the documents that you must bring with you to the United States. Keep them in a separate location for safekeeping in case your originals are lost, stolen or destroyed. This will make obtaining replacements much easier.

You have up to 30 days to enter the country before your official program start date. Once you arrive in the country, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer will issue you a Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record.” If you arrive by a land port of entry, you will receive a paper copy of the form. If your port of entry is by air or sea, you will obtain your form electronically. Go to the U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection’s Form I-94 Web page to print a copy for your records.

Remember to contact your DSO immediately upon entering the United States so that there is no question of your arrival.

If you have any questions about preparing for your arrival contact your DSO.

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