Entering the United States (F & J Students)


You have your visa in your passport, your bags are packed and you’re ready to go! Learn about documents needed to enter the U.S. for the first time as a KU student. For travel during your time at KU visit our Documents Needed to Travel(LINK) page.

Organize Your Documents

Have these documents in your hand (and not packed in a suitcase) for the officer to review:

F-1 Students

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid Visa (Canadians are exempt from visa requirement)
  • I-20
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Financial documents (used for your I-20 application)

​​​​​​The earliest date you may enter the U.S. is 30 days before the program start date on your I-20.

J-1 Students

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid Visa (Canadians are exempt from visa requirement)
  • DS-2019
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Financial documents (used for your DS-2019 application)

The earliest date you may enter the U.S. is 30 days before the program start date in item 3 on your DS-2019.


Enter through a U.S. Port of Entry

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

CBP (Customs and Border Protection) 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.

We recommend a 2-4 hour time period between your arrival time and your connecting flight to Kansas City.

The officer will review your documents and ask you a few questions about the purpose of your travel to the U.S.

Once the CBP officer has made the decision to admit you to the U.S., you will be photographed, fingerprinted and an admission stamp will be put in your passport. The stamp will indicate the status you are being given (F-1, J-1 etc). Your arrival will be registered electronically. Afterwards you can log into the CBP website to view and print a copy of your I-94, a document that verifies your legal entry.

When you leave the inspection area, make sure you do not leave any of your documents behind! Once you have finished the inspection process, you will be able to claim your luggage and continue on your way.

Stamp should be for F-1 or J-1 for “D/S” which reflects Duration of Status (until the end of the program on the I-20 or DS-2019 plus a grace period)

CBP also creates an electronic record of your arrival (I-94 Arrival/Departure Record).  Check your I-94 record a day or two later to make sure it is correct.

Sometimes students are sent to secondary inspection for additional questioning by a port of entry officer to verify their status. We recommend that you have 2-4 hour time period between your arrival flight into the United States and the connecting flight to Kansas City.

If you are sent to secondary inspection on multiple occasions, it may be helpful to file a report through DHS Trip.


Get to Lawrence

The city of Lawrence is about an hour away from the Kansas City Airport. Taxis will be very expensive. Uber and Lyft may not be available.

Helpful Information

  • Flat Rate 

    • Flat rate means that this is the total cost of the shuttle reservation, regardless of whether or not it is used by only one passenger or more than one passenger.

  • Shared Ride

    • Shared ride means that you pay the specified amount to reserve your space in a shuttle that may also be providing transportation to other individuals.

  • Gratuity

    • For any of these services, it is customary to tip the driver 15% of the charge.