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Pre-Arrival

To find information for people who plan to enter the United States for the first time to study, visit:
http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html

Upon Arriving in the U.S.

U.S. Customs
Once you have passed the immigration inspection at your U.S. Port of Entry, you will be asked to declare to a U.S. customs inspector what you have brought into the country.
For specific information about U.S. Customs go to: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/clearing/.

Port of Entry Information
For more information about what to expect at the U.S. Port of Entry, view the ICE Fact Sheet http://www.ice.gov/sevis/factsheet/100104ent_stdnt_fs.htm

The main airport is John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), one of the nation's busiest airports in NY. When your flight arrives at the international terminal, you should expect to spend at least two hours retrieving your luggage and getting through immigration. If you are entering the United States at a different location than JFK, please make sure to allow sufficient time for connecting flights.

F-1 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Yes. The international student Immigration Orientation is mandatory and all international students on F-1 visa status are required to attend. At orientation, you will be given information regarding federal regulations affecting your immigration status as well as have an opportunity to meet other international students and international peer mentors who can assist with your transition. Visit our website at http://www.bcc.cuny.edu/InternationalStudents for orientation dates.

Yes. You must make an appointment with an international student services (ISS) advisor so that you can receive the necessary attention and appropriate advice. However, the OISS does have walk-in hours but you would need to call 718.289.5921 to make an appointment. Please check the international students webpage for walk-in hours.

Yes. If you have maintained your F-1 status you may be able to take classes at another CUNY institution, but you must enroll for a minimum of six credits at BCC in the fall and spring if you plan to study elsewhere within these terms. You must obtain a letter of recommendation from your academic advisor or a transient form and complete a document request form from ISS. If all is in order, you will receive authorization from an ISS advisor to study at the second institution; a copy of your grades/transcript from the second institution must be submitted to the ISS office by the end of the term.

No. To maintain your immigration status you are required to enroll full-time during the fall and spring terms (12 credit hours for undergraduate students). Students who are considering dropping below full-time hours must meet with an ISS advisor.

If you are out of status you must schedule an appointment to meet with an ISS advisor to review your options in returning to status.

If you are enrolled full-time in the fall/spring semester and intend to continue full-time studies the following term you are eligible to take the summer term off.

Yes.

You can work up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring terms with authorization from an ISS advisor. During the summer vacation, spring break and holiday season you may engage in full-time on-campus employment starting on the Monday of the vacation period and ending on the Thursday before classes begin.

Yes, but the total hours cannot exceed a maximum of 20 hours per week between both employers. You must obtain authorization from an ISS advisor.

If you are on OPT after graduation, you are not eligible to extend the OPT end date

You can obtain a social security number once you have obtained employment and authorization from an ISS advisor. You must apply for a social security number through your local social security office. For the location nearest you, please go to www.mapquest.com and type in your zip code and retrieve map with local office or visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ss-5.html

No, the travel signature on page 3 is valid for 6 months.

Generally, your I-20 is only stamped upon initial entry at the port of entry; it is not stamped each time you travel.

A visa is an "entry document" used to enter the U.S. If it expires in the U.S., there is no need for concern as long as you are maintaining valid F-1status. However, if you plan to leave the U.S., you will need a valid visa for reentry to the U.S. Visas are issued at the American Embassy abroad. Check with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country regarding visa renewal requirements. Students must obtain a new I-20 for visa renewal from the ISS office.

You are considered to be out of status with immigration if your I-20 expires.DO NOT LET THIS DOCUMENT EXPIRE. If it has expired, schedule an appointment to meet with an ISS advisor immediately to discuss how to get back in status.

You must schedule an appointment to meet with an ISS advisor immediately to process an extension in a timely manner. If your I-20 will expire earlier than your anticipated completion date.

If your I-20 is lost, damaged, or stolen you must request a new I-20 from ISS by completing a document request form. If your I-20 is stolen, you should file a police report with the police department as soon as possible.

YES, "D/S" means duration of status and all F-1 students must have an I-94 with this annotation. If your I-94 does not reflect this, you must meet with an ISS advisor immediately.

If you want to travel outside the U.S. you must have a valid F-1 visa, a valid I-20 with a travel signature that is valid for six months, and a valid passport (at least six months into the future). If you are planning to travel to a country other than your home country, view this link www.embassy.org for travel guidelines and visa requirements.

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