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Arrival to the U.S. and OIA Arrival Check-In


The earliest you can enter the U.S. is based on the program start date of your I-20 (page 1). You can arrive up to 30 days before the I-20 start date. You should arrive no later than the program start date.  

If you feel you cannot arrive at Pratt by your I-20 start date, please notify and explain your situation. Arrival is time sensitive based on your I-20 start date and we cannot push back the start date to a later date.

When you arrive in the U.S., be prepared to wait in a long line to go through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) entry processes. When it is your turn, you must show CBP your I-20 and your F-1 entry visa in your passport. The CBP officer may ask your intentions in the U.S. and where you will be staying (home address you will be living). They will collect your fingerprints and photo.

Do not be too nervous, the CBP officers are not extremely nice, but they are also not mean. Under the vast majority of cases, if you have your valid Pratt I-20 and F-1 visa, all will likely go very smoothly. The main stress is the waiting in line part for most students. Welcome to the U.S.!


All incoming new, transfer, and returning with new I-20/SEVIS ID F-1 status international students need to complete OIA Arrival Check-In. Arrival Check-in verifies your arrival and activates your electronic SEVIS record with Pratt. Failure to complete this time-sensitive requirement can result in SEVIS auto-terminating your I-20 record.

Once you enter the U.S., you should go to CPB’s website and access your I-94 record. You should check to make sure it says “F-1 D/S.” If it does not, please contact for assistance. 

You will need to upload a copy of that I-94 record and complete Arrival Check-in for OIA before the semester begins. Arrival Check-in will be available in your OIA Student Portal once the I-20 entry period begins (30 days before I-20 start date).

You can only submit your Arrival Check-in after arriving in F-1 status to study at Pratt. Since you need the I-94, you cannot complete Arrival Check-in prior to entering the U.S. in F-1 status.

You will need:

  • most recent I-94 (click “get most recent I-94” not “travel history”)
  • F-1 student visa scan/photo
  • current residential address in NYC area where you live (can be temporary and updated later in your OnePratt person info)
  • preferred emergency contact person, phone, and email (can be abroad)

If you fail to complete Arrival Check-in before the semester begins, we cannot activate your SEVIS record and your I-20 record is subject to auto-termination by SEVIS.

If you feel you cannot arrive at Pratt by your I-20 start date, please notify and explain your specific situation.