International Scholars: Once you receive an invitation from a department to host you at W&M, you will complete the process to become a J-1 scholar with your department. Once you and your department complete the process, you will receive a DS-2019 and can apply for your visa.
If you have any immigration questions, contact the Reves Center.
Selecting Travel Dates
You may enter the U.S. up to 30 calendar days before the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. The start date is found in item #5 on the I-20 or item #3 on the DS-2019. Students who recently attended another U.S. school and have transferred their immigration record to W&M are not bound to this rule.
You must arrive in the U.S. on or before the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019.
If your travel will be delayed so you arrive in the U.S. after the start date, contact the Reves Center so we can update your SEVIS (Immigration) record.
Booking your flight: All new students are required to attend international orientation, so plan your arrival accordingly. Graduate students, check with your department about the best time to book flights home, as exam schedules and other graduate commitments vary. Undergraduate students, refer to the academic calendar and residence hall schedules when arranging flights home. Exams cannot be scheduled around flights, and dorms close shortly after the exam period.
Traveling to the U.S.
When you first arrive in the U.S. at the airport or border, you will go through an immigration checkpoint and will answer questions from an immigration officer about the purpose of your stay.
Keep these documents with you in your carry-on luggage:
• Passport • F-1 or J-1 visa (located in your passport) • I-20 (for F-1s) or DS-2019 (for J-1s) • Admission or invitation letter from William & Mary • Receipt of SEVIS fee payment • Financial documents (such as bank statements, scholarship details, etc.) • U.S. Customs Declaration Form (you will receive that on the flight to the U.S.)
The immigration officer will review your documents, take your photo and fingerprints, stamp your passport, and mark it as F-1 or J-1 and D/S. D/S means you may stay in the U.S. while your documents are valid and you maintain legal status.
You will also receive an electronic I-94 entry record, typically updated shortly after you arrive.
If you have any problems entering the U.S., call 757-221-3590 (Reves Center) or on weekends and evenings, call 757-221-4596 (W&M Police).