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Entering the U.S. in J-1 or F-1 Status


All F-1 and J-1 students (except Canadians) must have a valid appropriate F-1 or J-1 visa stamp in their passports before entering the U.S.  When traveling to the U.S., you should present the following documents to the admitting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer:

  • Your UVa Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Your passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of admission
  • Your valid F-1/J-1 visa in your passport
  • Copy of SEVIS fee receipt

The Immigration Officer will stamp your passport and should be marked "F-1" and "D/S" or "J-1" and "D/S."  "D/S" stands for "duration of status."  Make sure your passport is stamped appropriately as F or J before departing Immigration.  Visit for more information.

For new students: Using a valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp and Form I-20 or DS-2019, you may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019 (see section 5 of your I-20 or box 3 of your DS-2019). You may not enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status more than 30 days before your program start date. (Canadians and Bermudians traveling without a visa stamp will be required to show the SEVIS fee payment receipt in addition to their I-20 or DS-2019).

Do NOT enter the U.S. on B-1, B-2, Visa Waiver or a Trusted Traveler Program, as you will not be permitted to enroll under these statuses.


More information on entering the U.S. and maintaining your statusis available in the section of the site relating to your specific status.

Verify your proper entry as well as obtaining your admission number here:  Print out the verification for the ISO Document Check as well as for applications to government agencies, if needed.