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Travel to the United States

International Student Services

» Travel to the United States

Travel Guidelines for your Arrival

Date of Entry to the United States

Please consider this date carefully when making travel plans to the United States. Immigration regulations permit new F1 students to enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to but no later than the program start date printed on page one of the Chapman I-20. 

Your initial I-20 will indicate the earliest admission date you can enter the U.S.:


Late Entry to the United States 

Entry to the U.S. after the program start date is not guaranteed. It is at the discretion of the Port of Entry Officer at the airport as well as Chapman University. Students who cannot arrive by the program start date on the I-20 will need to cancel their admission or request to defer to a future term. 

What to Expect at the U.S. Port of Entry

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is the government agency that controls admission to the United States. The CBP officer makes the final decision on your admission to the U.S. in a particular status and determines how long you may stay based on your documents.

Upon arrival, you will go through an immigration inspection. You will need the following documents to get through immigration and enter the United States:

  • Passport
  • F-1 Visa
  • I-20 Form
  • SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt

You should bring these documents with your personal or carry-on bag, and not in your checked-in luggage. 

After you have presented these documents at the immigration inspection, you will be given a stamp in your passport noting the date and your Duration of Status. Additionally, you will be assigned an I-94 number. You can learn more on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

If you experience any problems, please contact Monica Chen directly at (714) 289-3590.

Baggage Claim

After clearing customs, you should proceed to the Baggage Claim area to collect their bags. 

If the bags are not on the carousel, or they are marked, you should inform the airline service kiosk in the Baggage Claim area. It may be necessary to meet with a U.S. Customs official (or Agricultural Dept.) if the bags are marked. Please bear in mind that the penalty for carrying contraband is very high and may result in deportation.

Immigration Check-In
Visit the Immigration Check-In page for detailed steps on how to report to Chapman within 30 days of your arrival in the United States.