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Arrival Information

In this Section

It is important to keep the International Student & Scholar Services office informed of your impending arrival. Details will be sent in a variety of pre-arrival communications for you to share with ISSS. You are strongly encouraged to arrive at a U.S. airport as there is no public transportation from Canada.

Note – complete your arrival form here!

Note – best travel to Potsdam, NY is to fly to Syracuse, NY and take the Trailways bus service to Potsdam.  Trailways offers two pick-ups from the airport and will drop students off on campus (Cheel Campus Center) or downtown Potsdam (Depot Street).

Arrival Dates – all new international students must arrive by the date noted on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. This date ensures you will meet all orientation events and allow you sufficient time to recover from your journey.

When you get to the United States

Certificate of Eligibility

Your ‘Certificate of Eligibility’ will either be your Form I-20 or DS-2019 depending on the type of visa you are coming to the U.S. under. Simply put – the ‘F’ & ‘J’ refer to the different type of visa stamp (status) the U.S. government provides to international students.  For F-1 status the Form I-20 is used – for J-1 status the Form DS-2019 is used. Please be sure you review this document to ensure the information is correct and complete. These details were emailed to you once your document was processed by ISSS.

U.S. Port of Entry Arrival

When you arrive in the U.S., your documents will be reviewed and processed by an official from Customs & Border Protection (CBP) before they ‘admit’ you into the country.

Documents necessary for CPB ‘inspection’

  • Passport – make sure your passport is valid and will not expire within the next six months. This document will be reviewed, along with your visa and then stamped to indicate the date and place you arrived to the U.S.

  • Form I-20 – or – DS-2019 – make sure you have your ‘certificate of eligibility’. Please be sure to show the Form I-20/DS-2019 for the school you actually plan to attend.

  • I-94 – this will be distributed to you on our flight to the U.S. Please be sure to complete this form completely and legibly. You will provide this to the CPB officer who will record your ‘arrival’ to the U.S. along with the date of arrival – status upon arrival (F/J) – and – ‘duration of status’ (D/S). Access to this number will be electronic when flying to the U.S. Entering the U.S. through a land border will provide these details on an actual ‘arrival/departure’ card which will be stapled with your passport.

Additional Resources

Study in the States

Customs & Border Protection (CBP)