Travel Guidelines and Arrival

International Student Travel Guidelines

Traveling to the United States can be a long process for students coming from around the world.  The following guidelines may be helpful for international students.

Carry the following documents on your person—do not check them with your baggage:

  • Your passport
  • Your Form I-20 (F-1) or Form DS-2019 (J-1)
  • Evidence of financial resources
  • Evidence of student or exchange visitor status
  • Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee
  • The name and contact information of your Designated School Official (DSO)

Note: If you are a new student or a new exchange visitor, remember to carry with you the sealed envelope given to you by the U.S. Department of States Consular Officer that is attached to your passport. It is important that you do not open this envelope.

  • Inform the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer at the port of entry that you are a new or returning student or exchange visitor to the United States.
  • Present Form I-20 (F-1) or Form DS-2019 (J-1), along with your passport and visa stamp, to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer.  At that time, the officer will create an electronic I-94 Arrival/Departure Record (those entering by land receive a paper I-94).  You are encouraged to retrieve and print a copy of your electronic I-94 record. 
  • Please be aware that it may take some time to pass through United States customs.  Therefore, you should plan travel and connecting flights accordingly. 
  • If possible, arrive in the United States during the office hours of your DSO.  This will better enable your DSO to provide assistance to you should you have any problem at the port of entry.
  • Report to your designated Mandatory Visa Check-In Appointment so that your school official can validate your participation in SEVIS.
  • Maintain contact with your DSO throughout your stay.

Arrival at the University of San Diego

International students are extremely busy during their first few weeks in San Diego.  The Graduate and International Programs office will help guide students through LLM program orientation, introductory workshops, course registration, and other important processes.

International students on visas should also plan to complete the following immigration-related steps when they first arrive at USD:

  • Check in with Robynn Allveri, Assistant Director and Designated School Official (DSO) for the School of Law
  • Attend a mandatory immigration check-in appointment with the Office of International Students and Scholars.  Students must bring the following documents:
    • Passport
    • Form I-20 (F-1) or Form DS-2019 (J-1)
    • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record (print your I-94)
    • Permanent address
    • Local address
    • Student ID number
    • Any other applicable immigration documents
  • At the Office of International Students and Scholars, students must enroll in a student health insurance plan or show proof of sufficient health insurance and complete an insurance waiver form
  • Students should verify that their immunization record was received, or receive required immunizations if necessary at the Student Health Center

Important Travel Information

  • All students and exchange visitors must have a valid DSO signature (travel endorsement) on their Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 prior to traveling out of the U.S.
  • A travel signature is valid for one year from the date of the most current signature
  • Be sure you also bring your valid passport, valid visa, and I-94 Record when you travel

Additional Resources


LLM/MSLS Admissions
Warren Hall, Room 203
Phone: (619) 260-4596
Fax: (619) 260-2218


M-F: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

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