Make travel arrangements
You are expected to arrive in the U.S. for the International Student Arrival and Welcome. You may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days prior to the start date listed on your SEVIS I-20 Form or DS-2019. If you are not able to arrive by the first day of classes due to travel or visa delays, you must contact Admission Services at ASUinternational@asu.edu. Admission Services will provide you with further instructions.
Do not attempt to enter the U.S. after the school start date indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019, as you will be denied entry. See the academic calendar for important dates for the upcoming semester.
Entering the U.S. and Connect to Phoenix
Most students will arrive in the U.S. at an airport other than Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX). If you will arrive at PHX on an international flight, please see the international information on the Sky Harbor website.
Regardless of your port of entry, or POE, at the first entry point into the U.S. as a legal nonimmigrant, you will be required to complete the items below. For more explanation of what to expect at a POE, visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs website.
Visa and I-20
Not applicable for Canadian citizens
At your point of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will check your documents. This is where you will need to present your passport, visa and I-20 to the Customs and Border Protection officer.
The passport must be stamped by the port of entry official notating F-1 D/S or J-1 D/S (Duration of Status), date, and location of arrival in the U.S. If this is incomplete or the stamped date or visa classification is incorrect, please bring it to the attention of the port of entry official so they can make the correct annotation. Errors noticed after you leave the airport should be brought to the attention of the International Students and Scholars Center.
While a CBP officer inspects your immigration documents, you may be asked some general questions. Don’t get agitated or nervous; it’s just a routine procedure. Always answer clearly, honestly and politely. If there is a problem, suggest that they contact the International Students and Scholars Center at 480-727-4776. We are open during office hours, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You should have received an email with tips for navigating this process as you may be asked questions to verify information. You are allowed to ask the officer what the issue is - just do so respectfully.
After checking your documents and clearing you to enter the U.S., you will proceed to the baggage claim area to collect your luggage. You will then need to enter a line with U.S. Customs (or Agricultural Department) officials where they may ask about the contents of your bags or ask to open them. Students should follow their instructions and answer their questions honestly and politely. Please bear in mind that the penalty for carrying contraband is very high and may result in deportation.
After you collect your luggage, you will go through the customs checkpoint. This is where you turn in the form you were given on the airplane. On this form, you must declare if you have funds exceeding $10,000 (in any currency) and any items that need to be declared. Please visit cbp.gov for detailed information on what you are allowed to bring and what items you need to declare.
List of documents for new students to travel with:
- Valid passport (must be valid for at least six months past the date of intended arrival in the U.S.)
- Valid I-20 (Initial or Transfer-Pending)
- Valid F-1 or J-1 visa (Canadians are exempt)
- ASU admission letter
- Financial Guarantee documents
- SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt
- COVID-19 proof of vaccination
- ASU’s travel letter (Recommendations for travel in the U.S., proof of on-campus, in-person classes)
In addition to asking for these documents, the Customs and Border Protection officer may ask the following questions to determine several pieces of information:
- The purpose of your visit to the United States
- How long you plan to visit
- Where you will be staying
- If you have the means to support yourself financially in the United States
- If the documents you are presenting are compatible with the purpose and intent of your visit
Airport transportation and connecting flights
Once you have cleared the customs checkpoint, you will exit into the international arrivals area of the airport. If you need to catch a connecting flight to get to PHX, you will need to take your bags with you to the proper terminal or check-in counter for your domestic flight. At many airports, you will need to take a free inter-terminal shuttle to get to the proper location. We highly recommend visiting the website of your international destination airport to become familiar with what you will need to do.
Additionally, each U.S. airline has separate policies regarding charges for checked luggage and weight requirements. We strongly recommend researching your airline’s domestic flight baggage policies so that you know if you will incur charges at check-in for your domestic flight. Finally, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has detailed information about what you can carry onto the flight and things to consider when traveling within the U.S.