After Landing in the U.S.
When you are in the airport, you will first go through Primary Inspection. This is where a Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officer will review your documents to determine if you may enter the U.S. They may also ask you some basic questions. Provide truthful answers and ask for clarification if needed. Some items to note:
- Currency: if you/the family members you are travelling with currency amounting to more than $10,000, you must fill out an additional form to declare this. More information can be found here
- Food items: there are restrictions on certain food and agricultural items that are allowed into the US. Please reference the CBP website for more details
Generally, this step should not last more than a few minutes. If everything is in order, you may receive an entry stamp in your passport and you can proceed to collect any checked luggage. In most cases, the officer notes “D/S” (Duration of Status) on your passport pages (note that some airports no longer provide a stamp). This means you are allowed to stay in the U.S. for the length of time indicated on your I-20, provided that you maintain full-time enrollment and a valid F-1 visa status. Ensure your passport is properly stamped before exiting the immigration inspection area. Do not enter the U.S. in visitor status (B-1/B-2, WT, or WB). This status does not permit full-time study in the U.S.
If the officer has additional questions, you may be directed to Secondary Inspection.
Secondary Inspection (also called Deferred Inspection) allows a CBP officer more time to ask you additional questions and gather information to determine if you may be allowed entry. It is not a punishment, and does not mean that you will be denied entry.
The officer may ask you additional questions, or try to reach out to Northeastern to confirm your status. The following contact information may be helpful for you and the officer:
- International Safety Office:
- Office of Global Services:
Most importantly, ensure that you cooperate with the officer as much as possible so as not to create further difficulties. More information on Secondary Inspection can be found here.