Welcome to the United States

My flight has officially landed. Now what should I do?


Checkpoint 1: Passport Control/Immigration

Look for the Non-U.S. Citizen/Visitors line

This area does not allow the usage of a cellphone or camera.  Please turn them off.

Have your documents ready:
1. I-20 or DS-2019
2. SEVIS Fee Receipt
3. Passport and Visa
4. Other supporting documents if applicable (for example, financial documentation)

Sample Questions to Expect from the CBP Officer

Stay calm and answer questions to the best of your knowledge.

Where are you from? What is your final destination?  Why are you here?  What are you going to study?  What is the name of your school?  Who is your International Student Advisor or DSO?  Who is paying for you?  Where will you stay?



Once you are cleared, the officer will:

Ask for your fingerprints
Take your photo
Stamp your passport, usually on the visa page
Check the stamp to ensure it is correct: date of entry, visa status (F-1 or J-1)


Checkpoint 2: Baggage Claim

Check the monitor, look for your flight number and what carousel your baggage is arriving on. Special sized baggage will arrive in a different carousel. Please ask an attendant for help.


Checkpoint 3: Customs Service


If you do not know whether an item is allowed to enter the U.S., please claim it on the blue Customs Declaration Form and let the officer decide whether you can take it or not.  If you do not claim it, you might be fined.  Fruit, meat and poultry are not allowed.

1.  Have your blue Customs Declaration Form in hand and ready for the Customs Officer.
2. The officer will decide if you can exit or if they have to conduct a baggage check. 

Now You are in the United States!

Airport Pick-Up

If you have some to pick you up, they will be waiting for you at the exit after you pass customs.  Always have a person's cell phone number in case they are running late, cannot make it, cannot find you or has made another arrangement for you.  Always have a back up plan (taxi/shuttle service).

Hungry? You should be by now.  What kind of food?

You arrived in the U.S., checked in with your new home, you realize you are hungry but have no idea what to eat!  

Solution: Yelp.com

Yelp is a good guide and gives you an idea about what is good around where you live.  Enter the city and zip code and it will tell you what restaurants are around and what rating they have with other Yelp users.

More tips for...

Your first 24 hours in California​

Your first 24 hours in Chicago​​​​​​

Your first 24 hours in D.C.​​

Your first 24 Hours in Dallas​​​​

​​​What's Next?

Log on CBP’s website to get your I-94 Admission Number and print it out for future use, ex. Social Security Number, Driver’s License, travel…

Secure all your important documents.

Find out how to get to school and the campus.

Get familiar with your surroundings.

Find out how to purchase a ticket for local transportation.

Participate in the orientation and meet with your International Student Advisor

Open a bank account and get a Debit Card (bank card)

GE Contact

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your DSO.​




Contact Us

Office of Global Engagement
​(800) 595-6938​​, Option 6