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Arrival Procedures

Before leaving your country:

  • Make sure that your passport is valid for entry into the United States.
  • The passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your expected stay.
  • Check to see that your visa indicates F-1.

If you are entering the United States for the first time with this current visa classification, it is not recommended that you attempt to enter the U.S. more than 30 days ahead of the start date on your I-20 and risk being turned back.

When you travel, carry these documents on your person, not in your luggage:

  • Passport, including attached envelope of immigration documents with F-1 visa
  • I-20
  • Proof of financial resources
  • Name and contact information for the Designated School Official (DSO) at the College of Lake County:

  • Beth Tinkham
    Manager
    College of Lake County
    Center for International Education
    19351 West Washington Street
    Grayslake, IL 60030 USA
    847-543-2069

If you are traveling by aircraft, the flight attendants will distribute CF-6059 Customs Declaration Forms and Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record for immigration, before you land at your initial point-of-entry in the US. Complete these forms while you are on the plane. Print clearly. Give them to the appropriate Customs and Border Protection Officer when you arrive. If you do not understand a form, ask the flight attendant for assistance.

Upon arrival at the port-of-entry, go to the terminal area for arriving passengers for inspection. As you get to the inspection stations, make sure that you have: passport, I-20, completed Form I-94, CF-6059 Customs Declaration Form. The Form I-94 should have the address where you will live, not the address of the school.

If you are entering through a land or designated seaport, the Customs and Border Protection Officer will provide the necessary CF-6059, Customs Declaration Form and Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record at the port-of-entry. If you do not understand a form, ask the CBP Officer for help.

Like all entering visitors, you will be asked the reason you wish to enter the US. You will also be asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important that you tell the CBP Officer that you will be a student. Be prepared to include the name and address of the school where you will enroll.

Once your inspection is complete, the inspecting officer will:

  • Stamp your I-20 for duration of status ("D/S")
  • Stamp the Form I-94 and staple it in the passport
  • Return the I-20

Secondary Inspection Requirements

If the inspector cannot automatically verify your information or you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be taken to an interview area known as “secondary inspection”. Secondary inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in order to verify information. These are done apart from the first inspection lines so that an individual case will not cause delays for other arriving passengers.

It is recommended that you have easily available the name and phone number of the Designated School Official at the College of Lake County, Beth Tinkham.

Failure to provide proper documentation and to comply with entry procedures is cause to refuse your admission into the US.

Questions? Contact Beth Tinkham, Manager, CIE at (847) 543-2069.

Safe travels!