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Back to School Travel Reminders for Students

August 25, 2015

Are you traveling back to the United States to start a new term at your Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school

We encourage you to check out our Study Guide to the States and read the below travel reminders as you prepare to re-enter the country. 

What to have with you at a U.S. port of entry:

When you re-enter the United States through a U.S. port of entry, it is important that you hand-carry the following documentation:

   — Your valid passport.
   — Your signed Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” from the
        SEVP-certified school you plan to attend. 
   — Proof of financial support for the duration of your stay in the United States, which can be 
        the same evidence you used during your visa interview.
   — Proof of payment for the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
   — Name and contact information of your designated school official (DSO).

What it means to receive a Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor:”

If any of the above items are not with you or aren’t accurate when you attempt to re-enter the country, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may not be able to validate any of your information and you may be denied entry to the United States. As an alternative, a CBP officer may issue you a Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor.” – which gives you temporary admittance into the US.

It is very important to work with your DSO, once on campus, to complete the Form I-515A within the 30 days it is issued to you. Not taking action in a timely manner could mean that you will not be able to remain in the United States. 

What to do if you receive a Form I-515A:

If you receive a Form I-515A from a CBP officer at a U.S. port of entry, you must take the steps below to remedy the issue:

   — Review with your DSO the reason why the Form I-515A was issued. 
   — Once you take proper action and receive the proper documentation needed as proof
        the issue is resolved, you need to work with your DSO to mail, in one package, the
        following to SEVP: 
        — Form I-515A.
        — Form I-20, with original signatures.
        — Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record,” with the identification number or a printout from
             the paperless Form I-94 system.
        — Copy of the admission stamp in your passport.
        — I-901 SEVIS Fee receipt for the SEVIS ID used to enter the country. 

Again, you must submit your paperwork to SEVP within 30 days of your entry date. If you fail to do so, your SEVIS status may be terminated and you may be required to depart the United States immediately or file for reinstatement. 

What you can and cannot bring to the United States:

In addition to your important forms and documents listed above, it is important for you to understand what you can and cannot bring to the United States. 

Along with inspection at the U.S. port of entry, you must fill out a CBP Declaration Form 6059B, which tells the CBP officers what you packed. For more information on preparing for your arrival to the United States, visit CBP's Know Before You Go page. Also, if you are flying, visit the Transportation Security Administration’s website to see what items you can bring on the plane. 

Did you find these travel reminders helpful? Share them with your friends on social media using #StudyintheStates.


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