You’ve participated in pre-departure orientation, received your visa and packed your bags. You’re ready to travel to Central Virginia! Here is what you need to do when entering the U.S. as an F-1 Student:
1. Understand COVID and Safety-Related Travel Requirements
Download your airlines app and check the current restrictions on international travel to the U.S.
2. Create an important documents folder
You need to be prepared to show the following documents to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the U.S. Port of Entry in the airport:
- Valid Passport
- Valid entry F-1 visa stamp
- Form I-20 signed & dated. If under 18, make sure your parent or guardian signs too!
- SEVIS Fee Receipt
- SBC Acceptance Letter & Financial Aid Award Letter
- Proof of Financial Support (bring copies of everything you provided at your visa interview)
- Proof of vaccinations with the primary series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccination.
3. Meet with a CBP Officer
After you exit the airplane in the U.S. airport, the first U.S. official you will meet at the Port of Entry is a Customs and Border Protection officer. These officers determine who can enter the United States. They will make a final decision on your admission to to the U.S. and determine how long you can stay in the U.S. based on your documents. They may ask you a few questions about the purpose of your travel to the U.S. Be prepared!
4. Pass Inspections
You’ve passed through the Port of Entry! Now, the officer may inspect your bags and ask you more questions. You may be directed to a secondary inspection for an additional interview.
5. Receive Your Passport Stamp
The CBP officer will admit you by stamping your passport. The stamp will include:
- Date and Place of Arrival
- Immigration Status - F-1
- Expiration of your stay in the U.S. - D/S (Duration of Stay) which means you may stay until the program end date noted on your I-20, plus a grace period.
Let the officer know if you see any issues with the stamp.
6. Connect with the Sweet Briar representative!
After you get your stamp you will collect your baggage. Then, exit the airport. We will be waiting for you with a Sweet Briar sign and balloons! All students who take the recommended group flight to IAD will be provided with transportation, free of charge, from the airport to campus.