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The U.S. Entry & Exit
U.S. Entry Information
I-20 or DS-2019
You must have one of these certificates of eligibility as an F-1 or J-1 visa holder entering the U.S. Please review the information on this document and be sure all information is correct and complete.
If information needs to be changed, call an international student adviser.
Entering the U.S.
F and J visa holders may enter up to 30 days before the start of your program listed on your I-20 or DS-2019.
You must attend the mandatory international orientation session.
When you arrive in the U.S., officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection will review your documents at the port of entry before they allow you to enter the U.S.
Have the following documents ready for the Customs and Border Patrol to review:
- Valid passport
- I-20 or DS-2019
- I-94: This is a card that will be given to you on your flight to the U.S. Please complete this card and give it to the Customs and Border Patrol officer when you enter the U.S.
The officer will stamp the I-94 card and will note your visa type and duration of stay (D/S). The officer may attach this form to your passport. Verify the officer wrote the correct visa status and D/S on your I-94 before leaving the officer’s work station.
Please note: The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has the authority to deny admission to the U.S. If you have difficulties crossing the border, call the Office of International Programs and ask to speak with an international student adviser.
You might have your fingerprints taken at the U.S. border.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s student page has more information on what you can expect when crossing the U.S. border.
U.S. Exit Information
I-94 and visa documents
- I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. When you leave the United States after completing your program at UTSA, you must surrender your I-94 card (usually to the airline) upon departure. If you don’t surrender the I-94 when you leave, there will be no record that you left the U.S. This could cause difficulties if you visit the United States in the future. If for some reason you leave the United States without surrendering the I-94, call the Office of International Programs for assistance.
- Visa documents. Keep all immigration and visa documents (DS-2019s, I-20s, I-797 approval notices, etc.) for your permanent record. Also, make photocopies of your I-94 cards for your records. You may be asked to provide these documents if you ever return to the United States or apply for immigration benefits (for example, a green card).
- J-1. If you leave UTSA more than 30 days before the end date on your DS-2019, report the new end date to the Office of International Programs. Your adviser will report the new end date to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as required by law. We will confirm the end date with both you and your host department before notifying DHS of your early departure.
- H-1B. If you leave UTSA before the end date on your H-1B approval notice (Form I-797), the Office of International Programs must notify both USCIS and the U.S. Department of Labor. Ask your department to notify the Office of International Programs in writing if you complete, withdraw, or resign from your appointment prior to the expiration of your current H-1B status.
- J-1. Persons in J-1 status have an automatic 30-day grace period after the end date of their DS-2019 form. You may remain in the United States during this time. If you are in J-1 status and your program ends earlier than the end date on the DS-2019, you may remain in the U.S. for 30 days beyond the date you finished your program. You are not allowed to work or re-enter the U.S. in J status during the 30-day grace period. If you need more time to complete your research, you must obtain an extension of stay.
- H-1B. Persons in H-1B status must leave the United States no later than the end date on their I-94 card. If you are in H-1B status and your UTSA employment ends earlier than the date on the I-94, you must leave the United States immediately upon termination of employment. There is no grace period for persons in H-1B status.
- TN/TD. There is no grace period for persons in TN or TD status. If you hold this status you must leave the United States upon termination of employment or the end date on the I-94 card, whichever is earlier.
- F-1 OPT. Persons in F-1 status have an automatic 60-day grace period after the end of their practical training. If you are in F-1 status, you may remain in the United States during the grace period. You are not allowed to work or re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status during the grace period.
- Review the tax information on this website and be sure you have satisfied all your tax obligations.
If you received salary from UTSA, inform the Payroll Office of your new address so they can forward important tax documents to you.