Prepare to Travel to the United States
Confirmation of Attendance and Arrival
Once you obtain your F-1 or J-1 visa and you are sure you want to attend Webster University, please complete the Confirmation of Attendance Form to inform Webster University about your travel plans and expected arrival date.
When to Arrive
Students on F-1 or J-1 visas are eligible to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date listed on section 5 of the Form I-20 or section 3 of the Form DS-2019. We expect you to arrive in time for the mandatory international student orientation, and give yourself enough time to feel comfortable participating in the orientation on time. Please do not attempt to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the program start date on the I-20 or DS-2019.
Always hand-carry the following required documents at all times:
- Valid passport with your F-1 or J-1 visa
- Form I-20 or DS-2019 issued by Webster University
- Form I-901 SEVIS fee payment confirmation
- Proof of financial support including any Scholarship Letter (if any)
Do not check the above documents in your baggage. If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will be unable to present these documents at your port of entry. As a result, you may not be able to enter the United States.
U.S. Addresses and Contact Information
Before you travel to the U.S., you need to make arrangement for your accommodation in advance and know your residential address. In addition, you need to know the address of the Webster University campus location you are going to study at. Your campus address can be located from this link: http://www.webster.edu/locations/.
If you will be living on-campus in the St. Louis campus, you need to ask the Housing Office to provide you with the full residential address before travelling to the U.S.
Finally, you need to have the contact information of your International Advisor, also known as Designated School Official (DSO) or Responsible Officer (RO) in case a U.S immigration officer needs to verify your information with Webster University. Please refer to the Pre-Arrival Guide sent to you to find out the name of this individual.
Arrival at U.S. Port of Entry
Upon entry to the United States at the port of entry (such as the first International Airport you arrived at or seaport) you will need to present the following documents to a U.S. immigration officer:
- Passport with valid F-1 or J-1 student visa
- Form I-20 or DS-2019 – signed by you and Webster designated school official (DSO)
- Proof of financial support Webster University
- Acceptance letter and Scholarship Letter (if any)
- Form I-901 SEVIS fee payment receipt
As You Arrive at the Port of Entry
When you arrive in the U.S. you will be interviewed by an immigration official at the port of entry. You should be prepared to answer questions about the purpose of your entry to the United States and your studies plan, etc. Don’t be nervous. All visitors entering the United States must state their reason for wishing to enter the country. You will also be asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important that you tell the immigration officer that you will be a student. Be prepared to include the name and address of Webster University location where you will be enrolled at or program that you will participate in. In additional, you should be able to provide the address where you will be staying.
Once your inspection is successfully completed, the inspecting officer will place admission stamp in your passport.
Occasionally, if the immigration officer at the port of entry cannot verify your information, or if you do not have all of the required documentation, an immigration officer may direct you to an interview area known as “secondary inspection”. Secondary inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in order to verify information without causing delays for other arriving passengers. The inspector will first attempt to verify your status by using the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You may need to provide the name and telephone number of the international advisor at Webster University if the immigration officer needs to verify information with Webster University. Please refer to the Pre-Arrival Guide sent to you.
Failure to comply with U.S. government entry-exit procedures may result in you being denied entry to the United States. If you arrive at the U.S. port of entry without all of your required documents or with unsigned Form I-20 or DS-2019 or missing information, the immigration officer may deny your entry into the United States. As an alternative, the officer has discretion to issue you a Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor” Form, which authorizes temporary admission into the United States.
If you have been given a Form I-515A, contact International Recruitment and International Services immediately and request that all required documents, signatures or information requested be sent to theStudent and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) I-515A processing team within the period of temporary entry. If you do not do this, SEVP will terminate your SEVIS record. Your student, exchange visitor or dependent status will end, and you must leave the United States or file for reinstatement of status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within five months.
- Apply for a U.S. Visa
- Health Insurance
- Class Registration
- Change of Status
- International Services
- Prospective Students
- Admitted Students
- Current Students
- Contact IRIS
- Study Abroad & Site Transfer to the U.S.
- Immigration Basics for Academic Advisors
- Multicultural Center