1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. Travel Tuesday: What is a Port of Entry?

Please note, this content may be outdated. Visit Study in the States' Students, Schools and Blog pages for more timely information on this topic.

man holding a suitcase

Travel Tuesday: What is a Port of Entry?

December 16, 2014
With the holiday season approaching, students and designated school officials (DSO) are preparing for final exams and planning for holiday travel. Studying and packing are important, but as an F or M student, you must also prepare your documents for your return to the United States. Follow our blog every Tuesday in December for travel tips and information.
Every F and M student who arrives in the United States will talk to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry. The CBP officer will verify your information and ask you a few questions to determine the purpose of your visit. Here are a few things to expect: 
  • Be sure to hand-carry all documents because you cannot get your checked luggage before arrival processing. 
  • The CBP officer will check information on the following documents, which may include verifying that:
    • The correct spelling of your name appears on all documents, 
    • Your visa and Form I-20 match, and
    • You have the correct visa.
  • The CBP officer will determine your length of stay and record it on your Form I-94.
A CBP officer who cannot verify your information may refer you to secondary inspection — a more detailed process where the CBP officer can conduct additional research without delaying other travelers. A CBP officer who cannot verify information after secondary inspection may either deny your admission into the United States or issue you a Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor.”  If you receive a Form I-515A, contact your DSO immediately. 
Have you traveled outside the United States as an F or M student and know any helpful tips for your fellow international students? Share with us your experience on Facebook or Twitter using #TravelTuesday! 
Was This Helpful?
Please provide feedback on this page.