Prepare for Travel
If approved for a visa, you are allowed to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your SEVIS I-20 form. To enter the country, you will need to provide your passport (valid for at least six months from the date of entry), your F-1 visa, and the same I-20 form you used to apply for your visa. Additionally, it is strongly recommended that you hand carry evidence of financial resources, evidence of student status (tuition receipts, acceptance letters, class schedule, etc.), and a paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797. For more detailed information on the documents necessary for entry into the U.S.A., download our handout.
Family members (other than your spouse and children) wishing to accompany you to the United States must apply for a B-2 "tourist" visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. You can learn more about this process by reviewing our recommendations.
When packing for the U.S., consider bringing these items with you:
- Clothing: A selection of clothing items for all seasons and weather conditions.
- Shoes: Comfortable shoes. Sandals and boots may be useful, too.
- Money: Combination of cash, traveler's check, and debit/credit cards. Make sure you can cover at least your first month's expenses and first quarter tuition (about $4,500). Never carry a large amount of cash!
- Medications, eyeglasses and/or contact lenses: Bring extras! Also, note that Seattle Colleges does not require students to show proof of immunizations or completed medical examinations. If you have any health concerns or medical conditions, bring a copy of medical, dental, and immunization records.
- Personal items: Pictures of your family and friends, small gifts, traditional clothes, maps, posters, music, and items that represent you or your culture. These items will be helpful for you to introduce yourself to people who you meet here and keep you feeling close to home.
- Food items: Although U.S. Customs enforces strict rules regarding what food items can and cannot be brought into the U.S., you may want to pack a few non-perishable foods, sweets, and/or cooking spices.
- Official secondary school and university transcripts: Students enrolling in the University Transfer or High School Completion Plus programs may be asked by the university where they apply to transfer to provide official transcripts from schools they have attended outside the United States. This includes official records of your secondary school or university classes, grades, and diploma (if you earned one) beginning with Grade 9. These can be original documents or copies your secondary school has certified. Since it can be difficult to get your secondary transcripts once you are in the United States, we recommend that you bring with you multiple originals or copies your secondary school has certified as official, so you can include them with your university application if required.
Reminder: Most airlines only allow one check-in luggage item and one personal carry-on item. Check with your airline prior to deciding what to bring with you on the airplane.