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Brockport / International Students / Entry

Entering the United States

Man holding American flags

Now that you have received your I-20 form and secured your F-1 visa, you are ready to enter the U.S. and begin your studies at the State University of New York - Brockport. Keep in mind that you are permitted to enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before and no later than the beginning date indicated on your I-20 form.

Scheduling transportation

The easiest way to get to Brockport is to first arrive in Rochester, New York, whether it be by plane, train or bus. If flying, try to reserve a flight that arrives directly at the Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC). There are also trains and buses available from many major cities.

Most students will find that their flights connect through a major U.S. airport such as John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport in New York City or Detroit Metro Airport (DTW). If this is the case, you will go through customs at that port of entry before continuing your trip to Rochester and Brockport. Therefore, be sure to pack any necessary documentation in your carry-on bag as you will not have access to any checked luggage until after you have seen an immigration officer.

Arriving at the Port of Entry

In order to enter the United States, you will need to have the following (so be sure to pack them in a carry-on bag):

  • A valid passport;
  • Your F-1 visa stamp (except for Canadian students);
  • Your I-20 form; and
  • Financial documentation to show adequate financial resources.


Once you arrive at a port of entry into the United States, you will need to present the above documents to the immigration officer. The officer will keep one copy of your I-20 form and stamp another copy that will be returned to you, which is known as the "I-20 ID Copy." This “I-20 ID Copy" is a permanent record of your permission to enter and remain in the United States. This “I-20 ID Copy" must be kept in your possession for as long as you remain a student.

In addition, you may be issued a completed I-94 Arrival-Departure Record, which will be issued by an immigration officer at your port of entry into the U.S. This I-94 is extremely important as it indicates your visa status and the date when your permission to remain in the U.S. expires. The I-94 must be kept in your passport at all times. NOTE: Ports of entry in the U.S. are beginning to process the I-94 electronically.  You may not receive an actual paper I-94 Arrival-Departure Record.

Last Updated 12/20/13