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 participant, 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.

  • You will be required to present your Form I-20, with the F-1 visa authorization from the U.S. Consulate, to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection officer upon entry to the United States.  At that time, the officer will give you an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record card. This is an important document that you should keep with your passport. 
  • 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.
  • Inform the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officers at the port of entry as soon as possible that you will be a new or returning student or exchange visitor to the United States.
  • 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 LLM/MSLS Admissions will be available to help guide students through the 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 Card
    • 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 must have a valid DSO signature on the back of their Form I-20 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 valid I-94 card 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. 

Facebook Instagram