Center for International Programs

Entering the U.S.

Entering the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 Status

All F-1 and J-1 students (except Canadians) must have a valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp in their passports before entering the U.S. When traveling to the U.S., you should present the following documents to the admitting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer:

  • Your Humboldt State University Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Your passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of admission
  • Your valid visa stamp in your passport

The immigration officer will stamp your I-20 or DS-2019 and provide you with a Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record (a small white card that should be placed in your passport). Please make sure that the I-94 card remains in your passport throughout your time in the U.S. The I-94 card should be marked "F-1" and "D/S" or "J-1" and "D/S." "D/S" stands for "duration of status."

Using a valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp and Form I-20 or DS-2019, you may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019 (see section 5 of your I-20 or box 3 of your DS-2019). You may not enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status more than 30 days before your program start date. (Canadians and students from contiguous islands that are traveling without a visa stamp will be required to show the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee payment receipt in addition to their I-20 or DS-2019.)

More information on entering the U.S. and maintaining your status, including Forms I-94 and visas is available in the section of the site relating to your specific status.

More information on getting to Arcata and coming to Humboldt State University is available on our Home page.


Center for International Programs
Humboldt State University
1 Harpst Street.
Arcata, CA, 95521-8299 U.S.A.

Telephone: +1 (707) 826-4142
Fax: +1 (707) 826-3939
Email: international@humboldt.edu