Arriving at the Port of Entry in the United States
Arriving in the United States is a critical 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 documents:
(valid for at least the next six months)
The current I-20 from Santa Ana College
- SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
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
Plan to arrive to the U.S. NO MORE THAN 30 days before the Program Start Date written on your I-20!
Present all of 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 enter. You can find and download your I-94 online. Your school officials will ask you for a copy of this form for your records.
What is a Secondary Inspection?
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 another area as they conduct additional research to verify your information without causing delays for other arriving passengers.
The inspector will first attempt to verify your status using the Student and Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS). If the CBP officer needs to verify information with your school or program, we strongly recommend that share our contact information with the officers. 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 Form I-515A.
Tip: You should be completely aware of your intended major and that you will take at least 12 units per semester.