Earliest Arrival Date (30-Day Arrival Window)
Students issued an Initial (new) I-20 or DS-2019 are allowed to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date listed on their I-20/DS-2019. This is the earliest date you are allowed to enter the U.S. and is listed on the first page of the I-20 in the Program of Study section under “earliest admission date”.
SEVIS Transfer students:
The 30-day arrival rule is only for travel with an Initial I-20. If your I-20 Form Issue Reason is “Transfer Pending” and the Earliest Admission Date is blank, you are allowed to return to the U.S. at any time between the end of your previous program and the start of your CU Boulder program.
Port of Entry Documentation Requirements
A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a port of entry to request permission to enter the U.S. for a specific activity, it does not guarantee entry. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official at the port of entry has the authority to permit or deny entry to the United States and to determine length of stay based on the documentation presented.
- Prior to traveling to the U.S., please review Port of Entry resources available on the right side of this webpage
Nonimmigrant students seeking entry to the U.S. should be prepared to present documentation of their identity, purpose for traveling to the U.S., and ability to financially support themselves in the United States. Be sure to pack port-of-entry documentation in your carry-on luggage!
- Valid passport
- Valid U.S. visa (exceptions)
- Original I-20 or DS-2019 issued for your current CU Boulder program
- SEVIS fee receipt
- Financial support documentation (e.g., bank statement, affidavit of support, scholarship letter required for I-20 or DS-2019 issuance)
- ISSS phone number (303-492-8057)
Additional documentation may be required—e.g., admission letter/ exchange program acceptance letter; previous I-20/ DS-2019 and transcript (transfer student); local address in Colorado etc.
Port of Entry Procedure
It can take a considerable amount of time to clear customs so be sure to book a flight that allows ample time for you to complete the entry process and transfer to your next flight.
The CBP official will review your documents and may ask you questions about the purpose of your travel to the United States. The CBP official will determine if you are admissible CBP will create an electronic record of your arrival (I-94). Your I-94 will indicate your visa status (F or J), expiration date of your status in the U.S. (D/S for F and J status), and the date and port of entry. Please check your electronic I-94 immediately after entering the U.S. to confirm your entry was recorded properly.