Entering the U.S.
When to Arrive
When making travel plans, please be aware that F-1 and J-1 visa holders entering the U.S. for a NEW program, may not enter the U.S. earlier than 30 days before the begin date of their I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1) documents.
Students or visiting researchers/faculty who are either continuing an on-going program or transferring from another U.S. school to UC Berkeley are not subject to the 30-day arrival limit.
When you travel, carry your documents with you; do not check them in your baggage! If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will not be able to show the documents and, as a result, may not be able to enter the United States.
Be prepared to present the following documents to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer:
- Passport with a valid nonimmigrant visa
- Original form I-20 or DS-2019
- Visa exempt nationals (such as Canadians) should have a Form I-797, Receipt Notice
or Internet Receipt verifying SEVIS Fee payment
- Evidence of financial resources (see Required Funding Documentation)
If you are traveling by aircraft, the flight attendants on board will distribute CF-6059 Customs Declaration Forms and Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record for immigration, before you land at your initial point-of-entry in the U.S. Complete these forms while you are on the aircraft and submit them to the appropriate Customs and Border Protection Officer upon your arrival. If you do not understand a form, ask the flight attendant for assistance.
I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
Upon arrival in the U.S., you will be asked to complete the I-94 Arrival /Departure record. When completing this form, write your name and other information exactly the same as it appears on your passport. Inconsistency in your name and information can cause serious problems and delays after your arrival.
The officer will either stamp the I-94 card or your passport and make a notation of the type of status you are being given as well as the expiration date. For F-1 and J-1 students, you will be given an expiration notation called "D/S" (duration of status). Keep your passport in a safe location. The stamp in it is proof of your legal entry into the U.S.
If you have any problems during your entry, please notify the Berkeley International Office office as soon as you arrive on campus.