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Pre-Arrival Information


Contact the International Students Office (ISO) at if you have any questions related to your F-1 status prior to arrival.


Review Your Documents 

Please check if all the information on your Form I-20 (for F-1 visa) and Acceptance letter is correct. If you believe there is an error (for example your full name, date of birth, your program of study, the start date of the program etc), please contact the ISO directly at Once you have verified that the form is correct, sign on the signature line at the bottom of page 1 of Form I-20 in blue ink. The F-1 student must sign for the dependent Form I-20 (F2) as well.


Pay SEVIS Fee 

You must pay your SEVIS fee with form I-901 at least three days before the date of your visa application. You need to print the confirmation of payment of this fee as you will need it for your visa application.

For more information about the fee and how to pay, please visit the Study in the States website. The fee can be paid online in the U.S.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement I-901 fee web page.


Apply For Your U.S. Visa (F1/F2) Stamp 

The F-1 visa stamp on your passport is permission to apply to enter the United States in that visa category. Apply for the visa at a U.S. consulate in your home country. Allow ample time for the visa application process. U.S. consulates require in-person interviews for most visa applicants. You are encouraged to schedule the visa interview appointment as early as possible. The U.S. Department of State maintains an excellent website on the visa application process and you should study it carefully. Please remember you must have an original Form I-20 and acceptance letter with you for a visa interview. Once you are approved, the visa will be stamped on your passport designating CalUMS-VA as the school that you will attend when you arrive in the United States. When you receive a visa, please immediately verify if the information on your visa is accurate, such as your full name spelling/order, date of birth etc. If any errors are found, contact the consular office that granted your visa immediately to fix them.


Arrival Information


Entering the United States 

After you obtain the U.S. F-1 visa, you may travel to the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date indicated on your Form I-20. You should plan to arrive at the University at least a week PRIOR to the program start date.

Please contact the International Students Office at if you will arrive after your program start date.


Preparing to Leave Your Homeland 

Required documents for entering the United States:

  • A valid Passport at least 6 months into the future

  • A valid F1 Visa

  • Form I-20 and Admissions Acceptance Letter 

  • School address and phone number

  • Accommodation address and phone number 

  • Credit card/cash/traveler's check

  • Other

Check online for more information.



Prepare for Inspection at the Port of Entry

Do not put your documentation into your luggage when you travel to the United States. You will be asked to present the following to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer when you arrive:

  • A valid Passport 

  • A valid F1 Visa

  • Form I-20 and Admissions Acceptance Letter 

  • Custom Declaration

  • Additional Documents if requested such as proof of financial support etc 



SHUTTLE services are available upon request to pick you up from the airport to the school/apartment. You may contact Super Shuttle at (800) BLUE-VAN (800-258-3826).

You can also ask the information desk near the baggage claims area for alternative transportation.



If housing is needed, the Student Services Office can provide you with information about student housing providers in the area upon request. All requests should be made via e-mail at


Health insurance

As an international student, it is important that you get covered by health insurance. The Student Services Office can provide a list of affordable options specifically designed for international students. For more information reach out to

Post-Arrival Information 


Upon your first entry to the United States, you must report to the International Students Office immediately. Failure to enroll in the school, by the program start date on your Form I-20 may result in the loss of your student status and subject to your deportation.

Confirm your admission record online i94.cbp.dhs. Please print your online admission record (Form I-94) and keep it for your records.


New Student Orientation

Mandatory new student orientation is held before the new quarter begins. Detailed information is sent to new students through separate email. The orientation is specially designed with a focus on specific issues and needs for international students on F-1 visas

such as how to maintain legal status in the U.S. and how to engage employment legally as a student on an F-1 visa, etc.


Students’ responsibilities

  • Immediately upon arrival, students must physically report to the ISO, meet the Enrollment Advisor and register for classes

  • Enroll for and attend classes full-time

  • Maintain full-time enrollment and make normal academic progress towards completion of a program

  • Do not engage in unauthorized employment

  • Keep your passport valid for at least six months into the future at all times during your study in the U.S.

  • Report any changes in your physical address to the Registrar Office and International Students Office within 10 days of the change

  • File timely requests for a program extension, change of status, transfer, Optional Practical Training (OPT), Curricular Practical Training (CPT), and other benefits.

  • Obey all state and federal laws including laws regulating domestic disputes, child endangerment, sexual assault, driving while under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances, etc

  • Read and obey the Code of Student Conduct.


There are many rules and regulations that you must follow in order to maintain your F-1 student status after you have arrived in the U.S. The ISO is the only office on-campus responsible for advising students on their F-1 status. It is very important that you understand the terms of your student status and abide by those terms.





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