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Traveling to the United States

Follow these helpful tips when traveling to the United States:

  1. Travel with your passport, visa and I-20 or DS-2019 in your carry-on luggage. You will be inspected at the port of entry before you claim your checked baggage.

  2. Arrange for a family member, friend or supervisor to meet you at the airport, or take the Airport Executive Shuttle, as explained in the flyer in your prearrival materials.

  3. Keep the things that are important to you such as prescription eye glasses, a bilingual dictionary, and medication etc. in your carry-on luggage.

  4. To avoid unnecessary delays, make sure your ticket is confirmed at least one month before the day you are required to arrive.

  5. Government-sponsored students and those sponsored by private organizations should work together with their sponsors every step of the way.

  6. Shop around for airfare and check for baggage regulations before deciding which airline to take to the U.S.

  7. Arrive at the airport about three hours before the intended flight.

  8. Make sure your schedule allows sufficient time for connecting flights.

  9. Carry sufficient money for unexpected expenses or events, such as missing your flight. You may also want to carry an extra change of clothing in your carry-on luggage in case of unexpected delays.

All articles brought into the United States, including gifts for other persons, must be declared to U.S. Customs at the time you enter. If all the articles you have to declare are entitled to free entry under the exemptions allowed, you need not fill in the reverse side of the declaration form. Instead, you orally declare articles brought with you to the Customs Inspector. If the inspector deems it necessary, you may be required to make a written declaration and list articles brought with you. There is no limitation as to the amount of money (U.S. or foreign currency), travelers checks, money orders, or negotiable instruments in bearer form that you may bring into or take out of the United States. A report, however, must be filed with U.S. Customs at the time you arrive or depart with an amount which exceeds $10,000, or the equivalent in foreign currency. A form will be provided to you for this purpose.

The following articles may be brought in free of duty and internal revenue tax, if for personal use and not for others or for sale.

  • Personal effects (e.g., wearing apparel; articles of personal adornment; toilet articles; hunting, fishing, and photographic equipment).

  • One liter of alcoholic beverages (e.g., wine, beer or liquor) if you are an adult nonresident.

  • 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs.) of smoking tobacco, or proportionate amounts of each.

  • Vehicles (e.g., automobiles, trailers, airplanes, motorcycles, boats) for personal use if imported in connection with your arrival.

In addition to the above exemptions, articles up to $100 in total value for use as bona fide gifts to other persons may be brought in free of duty and tax, if you will be in the United States for at least 72 hours and have not claimed this gift exemption in the past 6 months. You may include in this exemption up to 100 cigars.