Pre-Arrival Information: Entering the U.S.
When preparing for your arrival to the U.S., you should plan your travel according to the information provided by Dominican University. According to immigration regulations, F-1 student visa holders can enter the US no more than 30 days prior to the program report date on the I-20.
If a student is transferring to Dominican University, they will receive a transfer pending I-20, which is valid only until the start date. These students may either remain in the U.S. or travel, using the transfer pending I-20. The 30-day rule about entering the U.S. does not apply to transfer students. The transfer pending I-20 is also eligible to apply for a new F-1 visa, if necessary.
Documents to bring when entering the United States:
- Valid passport with an official F-1 visa stamp
- Your original I-20 issued by Dominican University
- I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
- Financial documents
- Admission letter
At the U.S. port of entry, you will be required to present your passport and I-20 to the immigration officer who will stamp your passport. In most cases, the officer notes “D/S” (Duration of Status) on your passport pages. This means you are allowed to stay in the U.S. for the length of time indicated on your I-20, provided that you maintain full-time enrollment and a valid F-1 visa status. Ensure your passport is properly stamped before exiting the immigration inspection area.
Do not enter the U.S. in visitor status (B-1/B-2, WT, or WB). This status does not permit full-time study in the U.S. After your arrival, print your admission (I-94) number at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home and keep a copy of all travel documents (I-94 information, F-1 visa, and I-20) for your personal records. Ensure your I-94 print out contains the correct information, including F-1 visa status and “Duration of Status.”
This is not legal advice and it is recommended that students reach out to their closest Embassy/consulate for proper guidance.