International Scholar Relations

Travel Guidelines

“Travel and change of pace impart new vigor to the mind.” ~ Seneca


Always Hand Carry Your Documents

Please, do not place the important visa documents as listed below in your baggage. If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will be unable to present these documents at your port of entry. As a result, you may not be able to enter the United States.

  • Your Passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay in the United States. Remember, you will need a J-1 entry visa that is valid at least one day in order to enter the U.S.
  • Your DS-2019 Form
  • Proof that you have paid the SEVIS fee (http://www.fmjfee.com)

We also strongly recommend that you also hand carry the following documentation:

  • Evidence of financial resources
  • Letter of Invitation from the inviting college or department at WesternU
  • Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form 1-797

Documents to Protect

Listed below are the critical documents that exchange visitors must protect for the duration of their stay in the United States:

At the Airport Terminal

 When you arrive in the U.S. proceed to the airport terminal area for “arriving” passengers. Be prepared to have the following documents available for presentation:

  • Your passport
  • Your DS-2019
  • Customs Declaration Form (CF-6059)

All visitors entering the United States must state their reason for wishing to enter the country. 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 an exchange visitor. Be prepared to include the name and address of the school program where you will enroll/participate. Once your inspection is successfully completed, the inspecting officer will:

  • Stamp your SEVIS Form for Duration of Status (“D/S”) for J visa holders with date and port of entry
  • Stamp the Arrival-Departure Record Form (I-94) and sometimes staple it in the passport

U.S. Port of Entry – Secondary Inspection

If the CBP officer at the U.S. 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 CBP officer will first attempt to verify your status by using the Student and Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS). In the event that the CBP officer needs to verify your admission / participation with your sponsor we strongly recommend that you have the name and telephone number of your inviting college/department supervisor available. In the event you arrive during non-business hours (evenings, weekends, holidays), you should also have an emergency contact number for your supervisor.

Failure to comply with U.S. government entry-exit procedures may result in your 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. Work with your inviting college/department supervisor to submit proper documentation without delay.

More Information

For greater detail on procedures for traveling and arriving in the United States, you can visit the Education USA Web site.

The following sites also provide useful travel information for traveling Exchange Visitors:

Updated August 2015