U.S. Immigration Inspection

When you arrive in the U.S. you will go through an immigration inspection. You will need to present the following items to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official:

  • a valid passport (including Canadian citizens) - the passport must be valid at least for 6 months at the time of admission.
  • a immigration document (for example an I-20 for F-1 status, a DS-2019 for J-1 status, an I-797 approval notice for H-1B)
  • if you are an F or J visa holder, you will need a receipt from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee
  • a valid U.S. visa (Canadian students do not need a visa. However, you will need evidence of funding.) 
  • Passport StampBefore you depart the customs area, look at your passport before you leave the immigration check point. Make sure you have the small ink entry stamp (see sample at right) with your visa classification and expiration date (“D/S” if you are F-1 or J-1) handwritten. If you do not have a stamp, or see a wrong visa classification written, request that the CBP officer give you a correct stamp. You may need to go to the Differed Inspection section of the airport.
  • As soon as you have access to a computer please look-up your I-94 record to make sure it is accurate, and print, or save a copy on your device.
Secondary Inspection

Most Yale students and scholars will clear U.S. immigration after your documents are reviewed by a CBP officer. However, a few may be referred to another officer to verify your student status or for additional questioning. This is referred to as “secondary inspection”. Although a referral to secondary inspection can be intimidating and make you feel anxious, there is usually little cause for alarm. It can, however, take you an hour or two to complete the inspections process.

If the CBP officer has questions that can be answered by OISS ask the officer if they would like to call OISS for confirmation. During office hours, you can call your designated OISS adviser directly or the general office number, 203-432-2305. After hours please call the Yale Police Department at 203-432-4400 who will immediately call the OISS executive director or associate director.