What to expect at the Port of Entry
Wherever you first enter the U.S., you will have to provide the following forms to the immigration officer, so be sure to have them with you in your carry-on luggage:
- Passport with visa attached
- I-20 or DS-2019
- I-901 SEVIS Fee Receipt
- Your Customs Declaration Form (typically given on the plane)
The officer may also ask to see:
- Proof of funding or financial support
- Your ONU Admission letter
The immigration officer may ask you questions about ONU - what you will be studying, where you will live, and what your return plans are.
You may be fingerprinted and have your photo taken. Don't worry, this is a normal procedure.
Your passport will be stamped with your visa status and "D/S" which means Duration of Status. You will submit your Customs Declaration Form to the customs officer after you have your luggage and are ready to leave the secured area of the airport.
When you enter the U.S., your record of admission will be recorded electronically and you can produce a printed version at any time from here.
It is generally a good idea to budget extra money for your first few weeks in the states to cover such possible expenses as hotels, food, and general settling-in costs. Try to bring the majority of your money as credit cards or traveler’s checks. It is not recommended to carry large amounts of cash. Credit cards can be replaced, but cash is gone forever.
Airport security has become very strict. If you are unfamiliar with traveling into or out of the United States, some of the rules are detailed and can be hard to follow. These security measures are in place to keep everyone safe, and they are not meant to insult or harm you. You may go to the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) to review their rules and regulations. If you feel as though the TSA are not following the rules, you have a right to speak up. International Services will provide you with information regarding what to do/what to show when traveling through customs and borders protections. For more information, you may visit the TSA website.
In the event that your airline loses your bags, do not panic. Lost bags can usually be recovered in about a week’s time. If they cannot be recovered, you will be given money for what was lost. They will also pay you for anything you had to replace while you were without your luggage; so keep any receipts (they need those in order to reimburse you!). In most cases, you must report damaged or lost luggage within 24 hours, so let us know right away if something is wrong with your luggage and we can help you report it. Go to the airline’s website to read about their specific policy on lost luggage. You can also visit www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/troubleshooting/lost-luggage for some other helpful tips!