Students carry bags and roll red and black suitcases along the walkway during student move-in on the UC Davis campus. A man with a large cart walks in the distance ahead of them.

Prepare for Your Arrival in the U.S.

Preparing for your arrival in the United States can be exciting and stressful at the same time. SISS is here to support you on your journey! This webpage includes information to help you along the way. Click on one of the checklists below to get started.

Entry Documents

To be admitted to the United States in F-1 or J-1 student status, you must have the required documents listed below. Ensure that all documents are printed (not in electronic format) and carried safely and easily accessible in a folder with your carry-on luggage. The visa alone does not guarantee entry to the United States and you should be prepared to present your documents to a Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officer for inspection and answer any questions related to your purpose for traveling to the United States.

  • Form I-20 or DS-2019 (must be signed and dated by student and the school official in blue ink
  • Passport valid for at least six months beyond date of entr
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa (not required for Canadian citizens
  • Copy of SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
  • Copy of UC Davis Admission Letter
  • Additional supporting documents and information
    • Class Schedule
    • Financial documents submitted to SISS for your I-20 or DS-2019
    • Know the U.S. address where you live
    • Be prepared to discuss your academic plans and future goals

When to Arrive

All students coming to the U.S. to study on an initial I-20 or DS-2019 can enter the United States up to 30 days before the program start date listed on these documents. We strongly recommend that students take advantage of this early arrival option to have enough time to recover from jet lag, become familiar with the campus and community, and finalize housing before beginning classes.

SEVIS transfer students may travel and re-enter the United States at any time while between school programs. However, transfer students must re-enter with their UC Davis I-20 or DS-2019, and not the previous school's document. They must also have a passport that is valid at least six months into the future, and a visa in their passport that is valid on the date of return to the United States.