Arriving at the Port of
Entry in the United States
Arriving in the United States
is a very important step, for which you should prepare. If you have everything
ready, it should be a very smooth experience. The following documents give a
good outline of the arrival process and exceptions:
You will need several
- Passport (valid for at least the next six months)
- The I-20 from Santa Ana College
- Proof that you paid the SEVIS I-901 fee
- Proof you have the financial ability to pay for your school
costs plus living expenses (the amount shown on the I-20)
- An admissions letter from the school or other proof you are a
student (just in case)
DO NOT travel to the U.S. more than 30 days before the program
start date on your I-20!
Present all these documents to
the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer
who will decide whether you may enter the United States.
If the CBP officer admits you
into the United States, that officer then will issue you an electronic I-94,
“Arrival/Departure Record”, which you will complete en route to the
United States. You can find your I-94 online. The Form I-94 is the only
document that establishes how long you may legally remain in the United States
for your studies.
What is Secondary
If the Customs
and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry cannot initially verify your
information, or if you do not have all of the required documentation, you may
be directed to an conduct additional research in order to verify your
information without causing delays for other arriving passengers.
The inspector will first
attempt to verify your status by using the Student and Exchange and Visitor
Information System (SEVIS). In the event that the CBP officer needs to verify
information with your school or program, we strongly recommend that you
have our college information with you.
Failure to comply with U.S. government
entry-exit procedures may result in your being denied entry to the United
States. Under certain circumstances, the CBP officer may issue a “Notice to
Student or Exchange Visitor” Form (I-515A), which authorizes temporary
admission into the United States. Work with your school without delay to submit
the proper documentation required by the Form I-515A.
SAC-Tip: You should be completely aware of your intended major, and that
you will take at least 12 units per semester.