University of Southern Indiana

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Tips to consider

  • Carry the following items in your carry-on, NOT in your checked baggage:
    • Passport with F-1 or J-1 visa
    • I-20 or DS-2019
    • I-901 SEVIS Fee receipt
    • Evidence of finances as listed on the I-20 or DS-2019
    • Evidence of student status (admission letter)
    • Contact information for your Designated School Officials at USI or sponsor
      • Heidi Gregori-Gahan, Assistant Provost, Center for International Programs, 812-465-1248
      • Nicole Vernon, Program Coordinator, Center for International Programs, 812-228-5092

  • A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) officer will examine your immigration documents and may ask for other documentation that you used to apply for your visa.

  • You will be asked a few questions about why you’re traveling to or returning to the U.S. You should explain that you will be a student at USI. Some other questions the officer may ask:
    • How long do you plan to visit?
    • Where will you be staying?
    • Do you have the means to support yourself financially in the U.S.?
    • Do the documents you present match the purpose and intent of your visit?

  • Be prepared to show any documentation to support your answer.

  • Once the officer has checked your documents and confirms you have answered all the questions, they will take your fingerprints and your photograph. Your passport will be stamped with “D/S” with the appropriate F-1 or J-1 notation.  The D/S means “Duration of Status” and means you are eligible to remain in the U.S. as long as your F-1 or J-1 status is valid.  Learn more about maintaining your status

  • Before leaving the Port of Entry (POE), do the following: 
    • Make sure your passport is stamped correctly as your entry will be electronically recorded (I-94).
    • Make sure you have all of your immigration documents. The officer should not keep any of your original documents.

  • If your information cannot be automatically verified, you may be directed to secondary inspection. Try to stay calm if this happens to you. 

  • Know your rights when entering the U.S.

 

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