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Travel

1. Travel with appropriate documentation:
  • Valid Passport (at least 6 months into the future)
  • I-20 with signature on page 2 by ISS staff. It is required to have your I-20 endorsed every 12 months during the degree program and every six months during Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  • Valid F-1 visa– Must be renewed if expired.
  • State of Ohio I.D., (not required but strongly encouraged).
  • Proof of finances, (not required but strongly encouraged).

2. You must get your I-20 signed for travel by ISS, if you are leaving and then re-entering the U.S. It is best to have your I-20 signed for travel each year during the degree program and every six months during Optional Practical Training (OPT). If the F-1 visa has expired, it is necessary to apply for a new one before returning to the U.S.

**Important Note**
Denison University travelers should be aware that government authorities may ask individuals to provide access to electronic devices, social media profiles, e-mail, and similar accounts when entering or exiting a country, including the U.S. 

During the secondary inspection, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer may search a traveler's electronic device to determine admissibility and identify any violation of laws. International students may be deemed inadmissible if the officer finds photos, messages, or any other proof of illegal activity. 

https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/inspection-electronic-devices-tearsheet.pdf


 
Arriving at a U.S. Port of Entry | What a Student Can Expect (modified from: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/getting-to-the-united-states)

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is committed to facilitating your stay in the United States while you take advantage of our nation’s academic, educational, and cultural offerings. To enhance security without slowing legitimate travel, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has instituted processes for U.S. entry and exit procedures. Careful planning and preparation by students traveling from abroad can ensure that any delay based on these procedures is minimal.

Plan the Date of Arrival
Students entering the U.S. on an initial F-1 I-20 and student visa may arrive no more than 30 days prior to the program start date listed on your form I-20.

Prepare Your Immigration Documents
Do not check the following documents in your baggage. If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will be unable to present the documents at the port of entry. As a result, you may not be able to enter the United States. It is your responsibility to present your passport and I-20!
  1. Your passport, valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay;
  2. SEVIS Form I-20. IMPORTANT: This document may be sealed by the consular official at the embassy. If you think you may need a copy of the document for bank loans, etc., be sure to make a copy prior to your appointment for your visa.
In addition, it is strongly recommended that you also hand carry the following documentation:
  1. Evidence of financial resources;
  2. Paper receipt for payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee
  3. Name and contact information for your “Principal Designated School Official” (PDSO) including a 24-hour emergency contact number at the school (see next page).
Please call the Denison Operator at +1 740-587-0810 if you have a problem at the Port of Entry. The Denison Operator is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Port of Entry
Proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers. Be sure to present the following documents: your passport; SEVIS Form (I-20); and Customs Declaration Form (CF-6059B).

All visitors entering the United States must state the reason for requesting permission to enter the country. You may be asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important that you present your I-20 to the Port of Entry Officer and state that you are entering as a student, not as a visitor.

Upon arrival in the United States, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer uses an inkless digital finger scanner to electronically capture finger scans.  The Customs and Border Protection Officer will also take a digital photograph of each person who enters the U.S. and may stamp your passport with your entry date and status (F-1, D/S for Duration of Status – meaning no expiration date noted)

**Be sure to review your documents prior to leaving the Port of Entry. Do not enter as a visitor! The passport must be marked F-1, D/S to ensure your student status.

Students entering from Canada will be interviewed at the border – be sure to have your passport, I -20, and financial documentation.

Following admission into the United States of America: Students should report to their designated school before the program start date listed on the SEVIS I-20. Failure to do so may result in serious consequences.

The Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record” is a critical record. The I-94 shows that you have been legally admitted to the United States, the class of admission, and the authorized period of stay. It is very important that the information on the record is correct. Inconsistencies between the information on the Form I-94 and Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) records can reduce the chances of a successful systems interface. This can cause issues with status verification for Social Security numbers.

An automated Form I-94 record will be recorded by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. CBP will provide an admission stamp on your passport which is annotated with date of admission, class of admission and admitted-until date or D/S. Students’ passports will be annotated with D/S (for Duration of Status). It is wise to check the stamp before you leave the area. The electronic arrival/departure record can be viewed and printed after entry via this website https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov.

Additional Information
Secondary Inspection Requirements
If the Customs and Border Protection officer at the Port of Entry cannot initially verify your information or you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be directed 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 and Visitor Information System (SEVIS). If the CBP Officer needs to verify information with your school or program, they will contact the Designated School Officials at Denison University.

Failure to comply with U.S. government entry-exit procedures may result in being denied entry to the United States. Under certain circumstances, the CBP officer may issue a “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor” Form (I-515A), which authorizes temporary admission into the United States. Contact your Designated School Official/Center for Global Programs staff to submit the proper documentation without delay.

**Important Note**
Denison University travelers should be aware that government authorities may ask individuals to provide access to electronic devices, social media profiles, e-mail, and similar accounts when entering or exiting a country, including the U.S.

During the secondary inspection, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer may search a traveler's electronic device to determine admissibility and identify any violation of laws. International students may be deemed inadmissible if the officer finds photos, messages, or any other proof of illegal activity.

https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/inspection-electronic-devices-tearsheet.pdf

US-VISIT Program
All non-immigrant visitors holding visas -- regardless of race, national origin, or religion -- participate in the US-VISIT program, a comprehensive registration system tracking entries to and exits from the United States. For more information visit the website: https://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/for-travelers

For more information on the John Glenn Columbus International Airport, please visit the website: http://www.flycolumbus.com
READ ALL OF THE FOLLOWING -- You are responsible for maintaining your immigration status and for exiting and entering the USA correctly.

Re-entering the USA: The basic requirements for a student in F-1 immigration status to re-enter the USA after traveling abroad for pleasure or personal business are the following:

A SEVIS Form I-20, endorsed for travel by Marilyn, Dorota or Chad each year or every 6 months during the post completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization period.

A current passport valid for at least six months after the date of your re-entry or, if you are from one of the countries that has a special treaty with the USA,
then a passport that is current through the date of entry. Please make sure that your passport is valid!

An F visa—current and valid. If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or other contiguous or adjacent countries for less than a 30-day period, then you MAY be able to re-enter on an expired F-1 visa—please see International Student Services if you have questions well before your planned travel date.

Electronic I-94 Process Entry information is recorded electronically by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), but instead of receiving a paper I-94 at the time of entry, students are able to print the I-94 form from the Customs and Border Protection website. You are responsible for printing your most recent I-94 information after entering the U.S. and making sure that it was properly recorded by CBP. Please visit: I-94 retrieval.

Additionally, you must carry and be prepared to present the following if asked:
  1. Your SEVIS fee receipt (Form I-901).
  2. Updated financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses. Thus, please make sure that you have a copy of your scholarship letter and an updated Declaration and Certification of Finances form with bank statement(s).
  3. Proof of enrollment. Screenshots of your course registration for the next semester and of your current transcript should do.
  4. Employment Authorization Card (EAD), if you have been issued one.
  5. If on OPT, job offer letter or other proof of employment.
Traveling without a valid Form I-20 Failure to have all proper documentation upon re-entry to the U.S. may be a cause for delay when going through the U.S. port-of-entry, and may be reason for the officer to send you to Secondary Inspections. If you your I-20 is lost or stolen and has not been endorsed within the past 12 months, please contact ISS immediately to determine if there is time to mail a new I-20. Students are responsible for the shipping fee.

If there is not enough time to mail a new I-20, ISS will write a letter of explanation for you to carry. If you have any problems entering the U.S., please request form I-515 (which enables temporary admission) from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Inspector at the U.S. Port of Entry. An F-1 student admitted to the U.S. with a Form I-515, Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor, is lawfully admitted to the United States for a period of 30 days. If you are receive Form I-515, you are required to report to our office immediately upon arrival so that we can mail the required documents to Immigration. SEVP will terminate the SEVIS record of any F-1 student who does not comply with the Form I-515A within the 30-day response period.

Travel to Canada, Mexico, or one of the islands adjacent to the United States. You can usually revalidate an expired F-1 visa automatically when returning from a visit of less than thirty days to Canada, Mexico, or one of the islands adjacent to the United States provided that you have a valid Form I-20 and a valid unexpired Form I-94. This process is known as automatic visa revalidation. You still may need to apply for a visitor visa to the country you are planning to visit. Automatic visa revalidation allows for re-entry into the U.S.