Arriving in the U.S.

Customs entry
COVID-Related Entry Requirements
Please refer to Current Travel Guidance for COVID-related entry requirements.

Upon arrival, you will go through immigration inspection, where your electronic I-94 entry record will be created. Be sure to have your passport, immigration document, and the rest of the recommended items below with you. Do not pack them in your checked luggage.

Documents to Have On-Hand

With all of the COVID-19 related changes to both U.S. immigrations and the operation of U.S. universities, we want you to have all the documents that you may need in coming or returning to the U.S. When you arrive at the U.S. port of entry, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will certainly want to see the first three documents but may ask to see other documents on this list. The officer may also ask you to answer additional questions about your study plans. Documents #6-7 on this list relate to the current situation. Please review them.

Important Note:
Carry these documents with you - don't put them in your checked luggage
  1. Valid Passport: must be valid at least 6 months into the future at the time of admission.
  2. Valid U.S. Visa (Canadian citizens do not need a visa)
  3. Your Immigration Document: a DS-2019 for J-1 status, an I-797 approval notice for H-1B holders, etc.
  4. Receipt from paying the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee: if you are an F or J visa holder.
  5. Copy of your hiring letter and proof of funds: while you may not be asked for it, it is advisable for new scholars to carry these documents as well. Proof of funds can include the same documents you submitted to obtain your DS-2019, such as bank statements.
  6. Proof of Vaccination: If you are not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. permanent resident,  you must show proof of being fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine before you board your flight to the United States. Limited exceptions apply. 
  7. If you are traveling from China, Hong Kong or Macau, you must show a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than 2 days before your flight departs.

What to Expect at the U.S. Port of Entry

Your visa and other immigration documents are evidence of your eligibility to apply for admission in a particular visa status at a U.S. Port of Entry.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is the government agency that controls admission to the United States. The CBP officer makes the final decision on your admission to the U.S. in a particular status and determines how long you may stay based on your documents.

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. Be aware that it can take an hour or two to complete this inspection 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 adviser directly or the general office number, (203) 432-2305. After hours call the Yale Police Department at (203) 432-4400 who will immediately call the OISS director or associate director.

Get to New Haven

Find out how to get from the airport to your new home!