Visa & Entry

To obtain a US visa and enter the US, you must:

  1. Pay the SEVIS fee.
  2. Make a visa appointment at a US consulate.
  3. Apply for your student visa at the consular interview. Make your visa interview appointment as early as possible. Setting a visa interview appointment and obtaining the visa takes time.
  4. Present required documentation for entry into the US upon arrival.

Initial Travel Plans

Do not purchase airfare or make firm travel plans until you have received your Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) and have made your visa appointment at the US consulate. US federal immigration regulations restrict new international students from entering the US more than 30 days prior to their program start date. US consulates will not expedite your visa request in order to accommodate your travel plans.

We recommend that new students arrive at least two weeks before the start of the semester.  You will receive information about several different orientations including the orientation program organized by your college and/or department.  It is important that you attend these programs.  The OUHSC Office of Admissions and Records is required to give all new international students an orientation program; this orientation is mandatory for all new and transferring international students prior to enrollment.

Students who are transferring from another US school to OUHSC and who have a “Transfer Pending” I-20 or DS-2019 are not subject to the 30 day arrival limit.  Transfer students may travel and re-enter the US any time between school programs.  However, transfer students must re-enter with their OUHSC I-20 or DS-2019, and not the I-20 or DS-2019 from the previous school. 

I-94 Arrival/Departure Document

Prior to entering the US, you will receive an I-94 Arrival/Departure form to complete along with customs declarations. Use the I-94 on white paper; the green paper I-94 is for tourists only. Write your name and other information as they appear on your I-20 or DS-2019 and passport. Inconsistency in your name and information will cause problems and delays after your arrival.

Port of Entry Inspection

At the Port of Entry immigration inspection, be prepared to present the following documents. Carry them with you on the plane.

The immigration officer will stamp the I-94 and your I-20 or DS-2019 and make the notation, "F-1 D/S" or "J-1 D/S". If the officer does not do this, politely ask the officer to check it before you leave the inspection station. Keep the I-94 stapled in your passport or in a safe location! It is proof of your legal entry into the US.


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