Clearing Immigration Inspection

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International Services

The Office of

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.

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