Preparing for Travel | MCISA | Webster University

Preparing for Travel


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 to give yourself enough time to feel comfortable participating in the orientation. 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.

Important Documents

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:

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 traveling 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 contact Blerina Polovina, Primary Designated School Official.
Office Phone Number: +1-314-246-7860 | Office Fax Number: +1-314-246-7122

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

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.

Secondary Inspection

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 contact Blerina Polovina, Primary Designated School Official.
Office Phone Number: +1-314-246-7860 | Office Fax Number: +1-314-246-7122

Form I-515A

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.

What is Provided - On Campus Housing

Webster Village Apartments:

  • Desk
  • Desk Chair
  • Dresser
  • Extra-Long Twin Size Bed
  • Dishwasher
  • Kitchen Counter/Table
  • Kitchen Chairs
  • Oven/Stove
  • Refrigerator
  • Arm Chair
  • Coffee and End Tables
  • Sofa
  • TV Stand

Maria/East/West Halls:

  • Desk
  • Desk Chair
  • Dresser
  • Extra-Long Twin Size Bed
  • Wardrobe/Closet

 Packing List

Pack only what you may need in the immediate first days and plan to purchase other items after you move in. Many of these items may be purchased in the local area after arrival.

Tips for Your Carry-On Luggage

Pack Essential Medicinal Needs
Some students' luggage has been lost or delayed by airlines. Any medication that is essential should be carried on your person. You should also carry photocopies of all important documents (passport, visa, etc.)

Pack Extra Clothing
Bring a change of cloths in your carry-on luggage. Some students' luggage has been lost in transit by the airlines and they have been without a change of clothing (sometimes for a days).

Bring Cash in USD$
It is also advising to have at least $100 USD with you while you travel in case there are any issues with money transfers or using credit cards when you first arrive.

Bring Official Transcripts and Diploma - Don't forget to collect official and final versions of your transcripts, external exams and diplomas. You will need to provide these to an admissions counselor during International Student Orientation to confirm your check-in. It is so much easier to do this while in your home country! We recommend carrying these documents with you on the airplane, along with your immigration paperwork and medical documents.

What Not to Bring

  • Anything with an exposed or open heating element (Halls only)
  • Microwave Oven (Halls Only)
  • Mini-fridge larger than 5 cubic feet (Halls only; WVA residents provided with full-size fridge)
  • Candles/ Incense
  • Fryers
  • Pets that can survive out of water (only fish or pets that live in water are allowed)
  • Weapons

What You May Need After Arriving

Highly Recommended: Electrical Power Adapter

Purchase electrical power adapters for U.S. voltage BEFORE leaving home, or purchase online. Some students prefer to purchase new power cords for laptop computers and mobile devices to ensure easy access to technology after arrival.

For useful guidance on how to choose power adapters and a list of world plug types, please visit:

What about TV?

West Hall, East Hall, and Maria Hall
If you live in the Residence Halls, you are able to watch cable TV through your computer, just by connecting to the Internet with an ethernet cord. If you choose to bring a television, you can connect Smart TV to the cable by utilizing an ethernet cord - the same is true of gaming systems plugged in to the TV.

Your RA can help you navigate the process of accessing cable, and there will be instructions on the floor. Additionally, know that you can connect your gaming devices and Smart TVs to the WU_Res_Gaming_&_Devices WiFi by contacting the Information Technology (IT) Help Desk at 314-246-5995. If you would like to watch cable but do not have any of these devices available, please know that every floor has a lounge TV that is connected to cable for your viewing pleasure.

Webster Village Apartments
If you live in the Webster Village Apartments, you have the option of watching TV through the Internet on your computer, or you can bring a television set and coaxial cable to watch Charter Cable television. You do not need to rent a set-top box, and can instead pick up a cable box from the Housing Office in West Hall after you have completed move-in.

Sample Arrival Budget

Particulars Approximate Cost ($)
  Minimum Maximum
Luggage Cart Rental (Airport) $7 $10
Taxi to Hotel/Accommodation (Airport to University is approximately $35) $25 $50
Temporary stay (Hotel/Airbnb) per night $60 $150
Food expense (per meal) $5 $12
Buying necessary items (mattress/comforter/utensils etc.) $100 $200
Groceries (food to prepare) $50 $125
Mobile phone service (activation + monthly spending) $80 $100
Deposit + Rent if you are signing a new lease $1000 $1200
Transportation (if you are not using university free Metro pass) for Uber/Lyft (per instance) $7 $50
Textbooks (buying/renting) $300 $700
Emergency/contingency cash in hand $200 $500
Others (if you want extra cash in hand) $200 $1000
Total $2034 $4097


Note: The above expenses are estimated meet your needs for your first month. Please refer to immigration laws of your country / arriving country for maximum cash allowed before carrying such cash.

Above rates may vary / change over time. Some of them may not be applicable if you are living on campus or have already arranged for accommodations on your own.