Entering the U.S.
Preparing for Departure
Please be aware that students may not enter the U.S. any earlier than 30 days prior to the start date on their I-20 or DS-2019.
You should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry to the United States. The Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has authority to deny admission at the US port-of-entry.
Students should carry all essential documents with them in their carry on luggage. Double check that you have everything:
Enter Through the U.S. Port of Entry
You will meet the Customs and Border Protection Officers at your initial port of entry into the U.S. such as O'Hare International Airport (Chicago, Illinois), JFK International Airport (New York, New York), or Port of Washington-Dulles (Sterling, Virginia).
There will be two lines of entry: one entry for U.S. citizens and one for international visitors.
The officer will review your documents and ask you a few questions about the purpose of your travel to the U.S.
If all is in order, the officer will admit you to the U.S. and will stamp your passport with:
- date and place of arrival
- immigration status
- expiration of your stay in status
If you try to enter the U.S. without all your required documents or with unsigned or missing information, the CBP officer may deny your entry into the U.S. Alternatively, the officer might issue you a Form I-515. Learn what to do if you get an I-515.
Sometimes students are sent to secondary inspection for additional questioning by an officer to verify their status. If you are in need of support during arrival time for Ohio University, you can call our arrival and orientation line at 740.593.4339.
During your arrival process with CBP, they will issue your I-94 record.
The Form I-94, "Arrival/Departure Record" is a critical record. It shows that you have been legally admitted to the United States, the class of admission, and the authorized period of stay. Ohio University ISSS staff will check your I-94 record for accuracy during orientation.
If you arrive by a land port, you will receive a paper Form I-94. If you arrive at the port of entry by air or sea, an automated Form I-94 record will automatically be generated for you by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.
Traveling to Ohio University
Getting to the State of Ohio
Your final flight destination should be to John Glenn International Airport in Columbus, Ohio. The airport code is CMH. Learn more about John Glenn International Airport.
Getting to Ohio University
You can travel to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, with GoBus, a public bus service that offers three daily trips to the Ohio University campus. Please carefully read the bus schedule to confirm that a GoBus departure from John Glenn International Airport is available close to your expected arrival time. Please note that you should plan to debark from the GoBus at the Baker University Center stop. If your arrival is after the last GoBus trip for the day, you should plan for a hotel stay in Columbus, Ohio for the night. There are taxis and a university shuttle as travel options, however those may cost in excess of $120 per trip. If you are staying off-campus, you may need to call a taxi to take you from the GoBus Baker University Center bus stop to your final destination. If you or your family is driving to the Ohio University campus, please see our driving directions.
Reporting your Arrival
The Immigration Check-in should only be completed by students who are physically inside of the US. Once you have entered the country, please log into iCats.ohio.edu. Under the gray “Requests” banner click on the entry that starts with “Admitted Spring…”. Complete and submit the “Confirm Arrival” e-form. In order to complete this check-in you will need to have the following items available:
- The date you entered the U.S.
- An email and phone number for your emergency contact person
- A copy of your passport ID page
- A copy of your visa stamp (unless you are a citizen of Canada)
This step must be completed before we can report your arrival to the U.S. Government
You can find orientation information here.
If you have been approved for late arrival through the graduate college and ISSS, please visit the Late Arrival page for instructions on what to do next.