Independent Minds, Working Together

Port of Entry Procedures

The F-1 and J-1 visas allow for entry to the U.S. up to, and not more than, 30 days before the start date on the I-20 or DS 2019. An entry attempt after the start date may be denied. Approximately 30 million non-immigrants enter or leave the U.S. annually to conduct business, study, visit family, or tour the country. Security requirements will affect your entry experience, so be prepared to approach it with a positive attitude.

Carry the following items in your “carry-on” (NOT in your checked luggage): 

  • Passport with F-1 or J-1 visa stamp
  • SEVIS Form I-20 or DS 2019
  • Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797
  • Evidence of financial resources to support your academic program. Because fees are due prior to your arrival, you may request a receipt confirming payment
  • Evidence of student status (e.g., letter of admission, recent transcript)
  • Contact information for a Designated School Official at Wooster: 
    Ms. Rebecca Pappert, Director of International Admission, 330-263-2001.

During the flight, you will receive a CF-6059 Customs Declaration Form and an I-94 Arrival Departure Form. Ask for help if you do not understand the forms. Remember to:

  • Always use your full name, exactly as it appears on your passport
  • Report your address as:
    1189 Beall Avenue
    The College of Wooster
    Wooster, Ohio 44691-2363

You will submit these forms to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer at the first U.S. city in which you land. You must also claim your luggage, present your immigration documents, and pass through the “USA VISIT” procedures. You will be asked why you wish to enter the U.S., and you should inform the Customs and Border Protection Officer that you will be a student at The College of Wooster. An officer will take your fingerprints and your photograph. When the inspection is complete, the officer will stamp your SEVIS I-20 Form (or DS 2019) and the I-94 Card, and mark them “D/S,” which means “Duration of Status” (with an F-1 or J-1 notation). Be sure to staple the I-94 into your passport.

If your information cannot be automatically verified, you may be directed to a “secondary inspection.” In limited circumstances, you could be issued Form I-515A, Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor, which authorizes temporary admission and requires immediate action at the local Cleveland office. Failure to provide proper documentation could also result in a denial of your admission.

Note: Some individuals will be asked to provide additional information as a Special Registrant (.pdf) under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS).