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Coming Back to the United States after the Holidays? Read this First

January 3, 2012

Every January, thousands of international students come back into the United States from holiday trips abroad. Unfortunately, many students forget to bring all the necessary paperwork with them to get through customs.

If this happens to you, Customs and Border Protection officials may issue you an instructional form called a Form I-515A, "Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor." This form will allow you into the United States, but only for 30 days. Within that time, you need to submit the missing documentation to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program I-515A Processing Team or risk having your permission to study in the United States revoked.

This situation is easy to avoid. Make sure that you bring all your paperwork with you whenever you leave the United States, or enter for the first time. For a complete list of required documentation, see What is a I-515A?

If you do receive a Form I-515A, do not panic. Contact your Designated School Official to let your school know what happened. Your DSO will be able to help you get all the necessary paperwork to SEVP on time.

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