UMass Boston

Arrival at Port of Entry

How soon can I enter the U.S.?

You can enter the U.S. 30 days prior to the start date on your Form I-20. 

What documents will I need to present?

You must have in your possession the following documents. (Do not pack these in your suitcase!)

  • Passport (valid at least six months into the future) containing your F-1 student visa stamp;
  • Certificate of Eligibility - Form I-20;
  • Evidence of financial resources (the financial materials you showed the embassy/consulate to get your visa).

What's Next?

A customs and border agent will review your papers and electronically process your Form I-94, your “Arrival/Departure” record. This record determines your status in the United States and it is important to check your record online to make sure you have been admitted in the correct category. It is a good idea to check this at the airport; if there is a mistake you can request that it be corrected immediately.


You should then report to an immigration clearance at the International Student and Scholar Office to be processed in the government database. Failure to report to a mandatory clearance will result in the termination of your immigration record and you will begin a period of status violation in the U.S. All attempts will be made to contact you before the government reporting date, which is 30 days after the start of the term.