» Arrival in the United States

Date of Entry to the US

US immigration regulations permit new F/J students to enter the US up to 30 days prior to but no later than the program start date printed on page one the USC I-20/DS-2019. Please consider this date carefully when making travel plans to the US.

Late Entry

Entry to the US after the program start date is not guaranteed and is at the discretion of the Port of Entry Officer at the airport as well as the Chapman University. In general, a student cannot arrive more than one week after classes start and must be enrolled full time for that semester.

  • Undergraduate students who are not able to enter the US by the program start date on the I-20/DS-2019 must contact Susan Sams at sams@chapman.edu to request a late arrival permission letter.
  • Graduate students who may be more than one week late will need to work with ISSS, their academic department and The Office of Admission to defer their attendance to the next semester.

US Port of Entry

  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record: All non-immigrants are assigned an I-94 number upon entry to the US. Students can access their I-94 Arrival/Departure Record from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website. The printout will serve as an official I-94 record for federal and state government-based benefit applications, such as driver’s license and social security number. Please review this page to learn more about the I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.
  • Immigration Inspection Upon Arrival: Upon arrival to the US, students will present their passport, visa, I-20/DS-2019, and SEVIS I-901 Fee Payment Receipt to the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer at the port of entry.

After reviewing the documents and updating the student’s SEVIS record with the entry information, the CBP officer will stamp the student’s passport notating F-1 D/S or J-1 D/S (Duration of Status), date and location of arrival in the US. If this is not completed, please bring it to the attention of the CBP officer so that it can be stamped with this annotation.

While the CBP officer is inspecting the immigration documents, students may be asked some general questions. Do not get agitated or nervous – it is just routine procedure. Always answer clearly, honestly and politely. If there is a problem, suggest contacting International Student and Scholar Services.

  • Baggage Claim: After clearing customs, students should proceed to the Baggage Claim area to collect their bags. If the bags are not on the carousel, or they are marked, students should inform the airline service kiosk in the Baggage Claim area. It may be necessary to meet with a US Customs officials (or Agricultural Dept.) if the bags are marked. They may ask about the contents of the bags or ask to open them up. Students should follow their instructions and answer their questions honestly and politely. Please bear in mind that the penalty for carrying contraband is very high and may result in deportation.