You may have your visa, but there are a few important things to remember when getting ready to travel to the U.S. Listed below is important information on what you should do to prepare for your travels and things to do upon arrival.

  • Book your flights in accordance with your Program Start Date. On your Form I-20 your Program Start Date is listed in the Program of Study box in the middle of the first page. The Program Start Date on the DS-2019 is listed in box number 3 as Form Covers Period. It is crucial that you arrive to Kent State before the Program Start Date. Information about airports near us is located on our Airport/Arrivals webpage. You must be here by your program start date and it can cause you issues at the Port of Entry if you are not.

  • Pack like a champion. Kent, Ohio has all four seasons and a wide range of weather throughout the year. Look over our packing suggestions on our Travel Tips webpage.

  • Arrive at the Port of Entry (POE) into the U.S. This is the place where you will go through U.S. Customs (typically in the first U.S. airport you land) and talk to a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Officer. Recommended documents to carry can be found on our Travel Tips webpage.  Important note: Your visa shows that you have been approved to enter the U.S., but it is not a guarantee to get into the U.S. Having correct documentation at the POE is crucial for this reason.

  • Check in with the Office of Global Education (OGE). Upon arrival to Kent State University, you need to complete the Immigration Check-in Request Form and upload your passport, visa stamp, I-94, and Form I-20 or DS-2019. The same documentation is required for any accompanying dependents. Failure to report to the school will be reported to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a violation of your immigration status. Email for the link to the form and to let us know you have arrived. 

  • Bring your final and official academic documents to the OGE. International Admissions accepts scanned documents of academic credentials during the admissions process. However, your final and official transcript and diploma must be verified after arrival.  Contact if you have questions about which documents you need to bring. Your student account will be put on HOLD and you will not be able to register for classes if this is not done in your first semester (or first module for ESL students).

  • Read through Maintaining Your Immigration Status. This is a page dedicated to giving you some basic information on how to maintain your immigration status throughout your stay in the U.S. We will go through it more in depth at International Student Orientation, but it is important to have a general understanding before you arrive.

  • Attend International Student Orientation. We offer a full day of information to help you to succeed as a Kent State student. Orientation is mandatory and we expect you to be there. Make sure you register before attending, so we know to plan for you. See you there!

Never leave your Form I-20 or DS-2019 unattended. These forms are critical to your stay in the US.