Preparing for your departure is key to studying abroad in the United States. Check with your institution for planning your stay. Some things to consider will be climate, housing, transportation, and health insurance options. The final steps to start your journey will be gathering all of your pre-departure documents, attending a pre-departure orientation which can be done online, and school orientation when you report to your university.
Pre-departure Documents for Student Visa
You will need documentation for traveling to the U.S. with your student visa. These documents include:
- Passport: You must have a valid passport to enter the port-of-entry
- Student Visa: Your visa will include specific information in regards to your program of study
- Certificate of eligibility: This document confirms the school you will be attending
- Birth certificate: The document must be a notarized translation if it is not in English
- Contact Information: You should have the number of your campus advisor in case you need to reach them after arriving in the U.S. You should also have your families contact info in case of an emergency such as traveling issues.
It may a good idea to create copies of these documents and carry the original ones with you at all times. Leave a copy of these documents with your family in case you have an emergency.
Electronic Arrival/Departure Record
Upon arriving at a port-of-entry into the US, you will receive a Form I-94. This form shows that you have been admitted entry, university admission, and your authorized period of stay. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers will provide a stamp of admission on your passport. If your information can’t be verified at the border, you may be subject to a secondary inspection which includes an interview. If you need further verification contact your admissions advisor to update your SEVIS record.
You will have 30 days to enter the U.S. and start attending your studies according to the date your program starts. This date is recorded on your SEVIS (I-20 form). You must follow this rule, or you will not be able to maintain your status and be sent back to your home country.
Mandatory Pre-departure Orientation
You must attend a pre-departure orientation before you begin studying abroad. This is to help students prepare for studying in the U.S. The emphasis is to promote health and safety. Some topics include:
- Financial responsibilities
- Mental and physical health
- Planning for travel
- Student conduct
- Security and safety policies
- University culture and academic information
This meeting is meant to offer guidance and prepare students for life studying abroad.
New Student Orientation and Studying Abroad
This is a new student introduction to the school they are attending. This meeting is mandatory for all new first-year students. This gives the students the ability to ask questions and tour the campus to familiarize themselves. Things to expect at orientation are:
- Registering for classes and meet with advisors
- Discussing academic requirements and discovering resources available
- Meeting other fellow students and networking campus contacts
International student orientation also includes discussing maintaining immigrant status and how to become successful within one’s program.
If you want to start learning at a university in the U.S., contact the Florida ILC to get the guidance you need to start achieving your dreams.
Authoritative Source: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum