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Arriving in the U.S.

A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a port of entry to request permission to enter the U.S. for a specific activity, it does not guarantee entry. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official at the port of entry has the authority to permit or deny entry to the United States and to determine length of stay based on the documentation presented.

International students seeking F-1 or J-1 student status may only request entry to the U.S. within 30 days of the program start date indicated on the I-20 or DS-2019.

Port of Entry Documentation Requirements

Foreign citizens seeking entry to the U.S. should be prepared to present documentation of their identity, purpose for traveling to the U.S., and ability to financially support themselves in the United States. Be sure to pack port-of-entry documentation in your carry-on luggage !

  • Valid passport
  • Valid U.S. visa ( exceptions )
  • Original I-20 or DS-2019 issued for your current SBU program
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Financial support documentation (e.g., bank statement, affidavit of support, scholarship letter required for I-20 or DS-2019 issuance)
  • VIS' phone number (631-632-4685)

Additional documentation may be required—e.g., admission letter/ exchange program acceptance letter; previous I-20/ DS-2019 and transcript (transfer student); etc.


Port of Entry Procedure

The CBP official will review your documents and may ask you questions about the purpose of your travel to the United States. The CBP official will determine if you are admissible and, if so, will provide you with an admission stamp.

Your admission stamp should indicate your visa status (F1 or J1); expiration date of your status in the U.S. (D/S), and the date and port of entry.

CBP will create an electronic I-94 record of your arrival or, if you are entering at a land border, issue a paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.

Please access your electronic I-94 two days after entering the U.S. to confirm your entry was recorded properly .

Additional U.S. Entry Resources


Arrival & Intake

International Student Orientation is for all incoming international students in F-1 or J-1 status, including freshman, graduate, professional, transfer, and exchange students. This orientation is designed to help you learn about and understand important immigration regulations and procedures required of F-1 and J-1 students and to assist you in adjusting to Stony Brook University.

Upon arrival to the U.S. you are required to complete the Immigration Intake in accessVIS , and attend a mandatory Intake Check-In session.  Please visit the Immigration Intake & Check-In page for the  Check-In Schedule .

Undergraduate students visit  the Student Orientation and Family Programs website for information on completing New Student Orientation.

Getting to Campus

Directions To Stony Brook University

Students have the option of using public transportation to get to Stony Brook University. The Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Stony Brook Station is conveniently located on campus. Here are different ways on how to get to the campus.

Public transportation from New York John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK):

From JFK airport, take the AIRTRAIN to Jamaica station for the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). The $5 trip to Jamaica station lasts approximately 5 minutes. From the Jamaica station, take the LIRR (Port Jefferson line, eastbound) to the Stony Brook station, about a 2 hour ride. One-way fares range from $9.00 to $12.50, depending on the time of day.

Purchase your LIRR ticket from one of the ticket machines before boarding the train. You may purchase your ticket on the train (cash only) however there is an additional fee on board the train. The ticket machines accept U.S. Currency in small denominations, credit and debit cards.

View LIRR Info

Public transportation from New York City (NYC):

From Penn Station (34th Street and 7th Avenue), take the long Island Railroad (LIRR)’s Port Jefferson line to the Stony Brook station. The 7BUS offers daily direct service to and from New York City and Queens.

View More Info

Public transportation from Newark Airport (EWR):

Students arriving from Newark Liberty International Airport, see below for how to get from EWR to New York City Penn Station. From New York Penn Station take the LIRR train to Stony Brook University.

View NJ Transit Info

View LIRR Info

Airport Shuttle Service from JFK Airport:

Stony Brook has partnered with Super Shuttle to provide transportation services from JFK airport to Stony Brook University at a reduced rate.

Make Reservation

Phone Service & Sim Cards

You may need a SIM card to be able to use your cell phone to talk, text and stream upon arrival to the US. Want to prepare for your arrival in the US with a free SIM card from campusSIMS? Click here to request to have a FREE SIM card shipped to your home country