Initial entry to the U.S.
If you’re a new international student to NAU, the following information is intended to assist you with your entry into the U.S.
When can I enter the U.S.? Accordion Closed
F1 and J1 students can enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the program start date located on their I-20 or DS-2019.
What can I bring in to the U.S.? Accordion Closed
How should I prepare to enter the U.S.? Accordion Closed
Have your immigration documents ready and be prepared to show them to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer when entering the United States. Do not pack your immigration documents in your luggage because you will not have access to your luggage when entering the US!
At the U.S. port-of-entry, you will need the following documents ready:
- Passport and F-1 or J-1 visa
- Original form I-20 or DS-2019 from NAU (do not forget to sign your form)
- NAU admission letter
- SEVIS I-901 fee payment confirmation
- Evidence of financial support
What should I expect when entering the U.S.? Accordion Closed
The CBP officer will ask you a few questions about why you are traveling to the U.S. Remember to remain calm and answer any questions the CBP officer may ask you. Be honest and confident! Explain that you are coming to study at NAU. You might be required to go through a secondary inspection or additional screening, which is not uncommon.
What do I receive as proof of my legal entry? Accordion Closed
When you are admitted, the CBP officer will provide you with an admission stamp on your passport that shows the following:
- The day of your entry to the U.S.
- Duration of Status (D/S): this indicates that you may remain in the U.S. as long as you maintain your immigration status.
- Immigration Status: this indicates the type of visa by which you were admitted to the U.S.
- Form I-94 digital arrival record (Arrival/Departure Record)
An I-94 arrival record will typically be issued in a digital format when entering via air or sea, and on a small white piece of paper when entering via a land border. Your I-94 includes a unique admission number that serves as proof of your legal status, the class of admission, and the duration of your stay (D/S). If you believe the information on your I-94 is incorrect, please contact us at email@example.com.
Travel within the U.S.
It is important that you carry the originals of the following immigration documents anytime you leave Flagstaff:
- Your passport and visa
- Copy of I-94
- Your I-20 or DS-2019 (no travel signature is required for traveling within the U.S.).
Travel outside the U.S./Re-entry to the U.S.
To prepare for traveling abroad and re-entering the U.S., you should check that your immigration documents are valid prior to departing. See below the required immigration documents to re-enter the U.S.
Your passport Accordion Closed
Your passport must be valid at least 6 months after your date of re-entry. If your passport is expired or due to expire in less than 6 months, you must renew your passport.
Your visa Accordion Closed
You can remain in the U.S. after your visa expires as long as you maintain your immigration status, but if you are traveling outside the U.S., you must renew your visa in order to re-enter the U.S. Read our Visa Information for visa issuing process.
I-20 or DS-2019 with valid travel signature Accordion Closed
Be sure that your I-20 or DS-2019 states your current and accurate information. If you are an F1 student your I-20 must have a valid travel signature on page three. If you are a J1 student, your DS-2019 must have a valid travel signature in the “Travel Validation by Responsible Officer” section of page one. Each travel signature is valid for one year (6 months for students participating in OPT) while you are a student at Northern Arizona University.
How can I request a travel signature?
- Complete the travel signature request e-form on iNAU,
- Bring your most recent I-20 or DS-2019 to the ISSS front desk at least two weeks before you depart Flagstaff. Please allow 5 business days to process your travel signature.
ISSS will email you when it is ready to pick up. Keep in mind that you may need a visa to enter a country other than your own. Please contact the consulate/embassy of the country you will be visiting for visa requirements.
Evidence of Financial Support Accordion Closed
The financial documents used to apply for your I-20/DS-2019 showing proof of funding for the duration of your studies in the United States.
Unofficial transcript (recommended) Accordion Closed
Locate your unofficial transcript on your LOUIE account by following this tutorial.
Issues during travel
While issues don’t always happen, we want you to be prepared in case they do. Below we have some helpful information to assist you if issues do arise while you’re traveling to the U.S.
What if I forgot something? Accordion Closed
You may be issued form I-515A which allows you to be admitted to the U.S. temporarily for 30 days if you fail to provide the CBP officer with ALL the required documents to enter the U.S. If you receive an I-515A, you must contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org immediately.