UCLA Extension

Traveling to the United States

If you are approved for an F1 student visa after your interview, you will receive it within a few days. You can come to the United States up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your I-20. If you arrive earlier, you will be entered in tourist visa status and you won’t be able to study.  You would have to leave the U.S. and re-enter with your I-20 and F1 visa.

If your F1 visa is delayed or your travel plans change, contact us for a revised I-20 with the new date.

When traveling, do not pack your travel documents in your checked luggage.  Instead, carry them with you and know where they are at all times.

Arrival—Customs/Border Protection Officer

When a Customs/Border Protection officer asks you why you are entering the United States, tell the officer that you are a STUDENT and show the officer your: 

  • I-20, which includes your SEVIS identification number.
  • Passport, valid for 6 months beyond the date of your expected stay, and containing your visa.

The officer may also ask you for your:

  • SEVIS I-901 receipt.
  • Fee receipt from UCLA Extension showing that you have paid for your program enrollment.
  • Statement of Financial Support.

If you are granted permission to enter the United States, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer enters “D/S” in your passport.

One or two days after you arrive in the U.S., you should print out your I-94 Arrival/Departure record.  You can find the I-94 at http://www.cbp.gov/I94.