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Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Office of International Services

Before & After Arrival > Clearing Immigration Inspection

Clearing Immigration Inspection

Upon arrival in the United States, you will be required to undergo immigration and customs inspection. You should be prepared to present the following:

  •     Your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
  •     A valid F-1 or J-1 visa
  •     An unexpired passport valid at least 6 months into the future
  •     A completed I-94 departure record card (The I-94 is handed out during your flight prior to landing, and is also available at the airport or border crossing upon arrival) IMPORTANT: when completing your I-94 card, indicate your family name/surname and first name/given name exactly as indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019.
  •     Your TC admission letter and financial documents
  • You should indicate to the immigration inspector that you are coming to the United States to pursue a full-time program of study at Teachers College, Columbia University. The immigration inspector should review your documents and:
  •     place a 'red' immigration stamp on your I-20 or DS-2019
  •     also stamp your I-94 card and write "F-1 D/S" or "J-1 D/S" on it

By stamping your I-94 card F-1 D/S or J-1 D/S, the immigration inspector is indicating that you have been permitted to enter the United States as an F-1 or J-1 student for "duration of status," i.e., for the duration of time you are a full-time student as indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019.

Prior to departing the airport, be sure that you have all of your original documents in your possession, including your passport, your original I-20 or DS-2019, your I-94 card, and your admission and financial documents.
Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 7, 525 W 120th Street
New York, New York 10027-6696
Phone: (212) 678-3939 ♦ ~ Fax: (212) 678-3990 ♦ Email: