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Santa Clara University

Arrival in the US

Preparing for Arrival in the U.S.

Once you have received your I-20 and secured your F-1 Visa Stamp, you are ready to enter the U.S. Remember F-1 Students are eligible to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date on the I-20. Visit our Life in the U.S. section for more information on what to pack and what to purchase after you arrive.

Before You Leave for the U.S.

The following items should be in your carry-on luggage and should not be checked with the airline:

  • Original Passport
  • Original I-20
  • Proof of Admission to SCU
  • Proof of funding for your time at SCU
  • Prescriptions for any medications that you are bringing to the U.S.
  • Medical information, including vaccine / immunization records
  • Cash for food, transportation and other expenses
  • Phone charger or battery pack (with converters for U.S. electrical outlets)
  • Written emergency contact information for your family and someone in the U.S. 
  • Written transportation plan for getting from your airport to SCU

On the day of your entry into the U.S.

At the U.S. Port of Entry (either an airport or land entry) you must go through immigration inspection with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent. During this process you will be asked to present your immigration documents (including valid passport with the valid F-1 visa stamp as well as your Original I-20) and answer questions.

It is a good idea to carry any supporting documents showing the funding for your time in the U.S. and to be prepared to answer questions about SCU (our location, your planned course of study and your academic program) as well as questions about where you will stay and how you will pay for your studies.

Once you've completed the immigration process, your passport will be stamped with an admission date, class and duration.

Before you leave the immigration check point, make sure that the CBP Officer returns your original documents including your I-20 and your passport.

Once you have left the immigration check-point you should always confirm that you were admitted properly by retrieving your Electronic Admission Record or I-94.

For more information you can review our carry-on packing check-list and our immigration admission tips.

US immigration regulations are complex and change frequently.  The University strives to maintain a website that is both current and helpful, however, Santa Clara University is not responsible for students maintaining lawful immigration status; this is the responsibility of the student.  Further, resources and links do not constitute endorsement by Santa Clara University.