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 start date of the I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1) document.

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 traveling, carry documents in carry-on luggage; do not check them!  If the baggage is lost or delayed, the documents will not be shown and, as a result, a student or scholar may not be able to enter the United States.

Required Documents

Be prepared to present the following documents to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer:

  • Passport (valid for at least 6 months into the future) with a valid nonimmigrant visa (if applicable)
  • Original form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Evidence of financial resources (see Required Funding Documentation)
  • Proof of UC Berkeley admission (new students) or enrollment (current students)

I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

Please see Understanding the I-94 for imporant information about the I-94 arrival/departure record. Upon arrival in the U.S., the Customs Border protection (CBP) officer will examine your passport, visa and other entry documents . The CBP Officer will generally issue a passport admission stamp and make a notation of the type of status being given as well as an expiration date. For F-1 and J-1 students and scholars, the expiration notation called "D/S" (duration of status) will be given. Keep your passport in a safe location. The passport admission stamp is proof of legal entry into the U.S.

If there are any problems during entry, please notify Berkeley International Office as soon as you arrive.