Arriving From Your Home Country Into the United States

Have all of your important documents ready to present at the Customs & Border Patrol at the airport.

These include:

      Original I-20 (if you have any previous I-20s, you should bring those as well)

      Passport (valid for at least 6 months into the future)

      F-1 Student Visa (for Canadians: you will receive your F-1 Student Visa stamp upon entry into the U.S.)

      Declaration of finances and supporting bank statements (the documents that you took to your visa interview)

      Acceptance letter to RISD

      You will complete a form with the airline that will be given to the Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) Officer. This form will be entered into the automated I-94 system and will become your arrival/departure record.

      Any other forms of identification

Going through Immigration

1.     Have all of your documents ready to provide to the Customs & Border Patrol Officer

**If you are coming from Canada, this is where you will obtain your F-1 Student Visa stamp in your passport.**

Your I-20 and your F-1 Student Visa will be reviewed, your I-94 form will be entered in the database and your passport will be stamped by the officer.  Make sure to enter the U.S. using your F-1 Student Visa!!  Make sure Customs & Border Patrol DOES NOT enter you as a tourist!!

2.     Be polite and answer any questions they ask you.

3.     On occasion you may be asked further questions. It is important to have all required documents in order to provide supporting evidence of your F-1 status.

4.     If you have any trouble going through immigration, contact RISD Public Safety at (401) 454-6376 and they will be able to put you in touch with the Office of International Student Services. 

After you arrive in the United States

Once you arrive in the U.S. the Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) will enter your arrival information electronically and this becomes your I-94 record. You will be able to retrieve your I-94 record electronically.

* You will receive a paper I-94 card only if you enter the U.S. by car or by boat.

Please follow instructions to print out your I-94 card:

  1. In your internet browser, go to:
  2. Fill out your information in the fields provided
  3. Check the correct name spelling, all personal information, the visa category and expiration date of your authorized stay.  The name on your I-94 should match your passport
  4. If errors are found, CBP should be contacted as soon as possible.  There is a CBP Office outside of Providence, RI
  5. If there are NO errors you must print out the I-94 record and keep it with your passport and I-20
  6. When you arrive on campus, bring all immigration documents to RISD’s Office of International Student Services, located on the second floor of Carr House, 210 Benefit Street, Providence.

Click here for information on arriving to Providence and to RISD

If you would like to print this information for easy access when traveling, a .PDF file is available here