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Travel documents and port of entry

Certificate of eligibility

The certificate of eligibility is used to apply for the appropriate visa status to enter the United States. These certificates of eligibility correspond to the following visa types:

  • I-20: Used to apply for a student visa in the F category
  • DS-2019: Used to apply for a student visa in the J category

When you receive your certificate of eligibility, review it to ensure all information is correct and matches what is listed on your passport. If any information needs to be changed or added, contact the MU office that issued your document:

U.S. port of entry procedures

Once you have received your certificate of eligibility and successfully obtained your visa, you may enter the United States. F and J visa holders may enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the program start date listed on their I-20/DS-2019.

When you arrive in the U.S., officers from Customs and Border Protection will review your documents at the port of entry before you are admitted into the country. You should have the following documents ready to present:

  • Passport. A passport is a biographical booklet issued by your home government to allow you to travel to other countries and return to your home country. Make sure your passport is valid at least six months into the future. Customs and Border Protection in the United States will review your passport and visa. They will stamp your passport to indicate the date and place you arrived in the United States.
  • Certificate of eligibility. You must show the officer the certificate of eligibility for the school you plan to attend.

At the port of entry, you will also be issued an I-94 record. This is an electronic record of your arrival into the United States. This record will indicate your visa type and "D/S" (duration of status) — you should confirm that your I-94 record lists your correct visa type. This record means you are allowed to remain in the U.S. as long as you maintain your status. You can access your I-94 record online.

Note that Customs and Border Protection has the authority to deny admission into the United States. If you have difficulties entering the U.S., contact the MU Police Department at +1 573-882-7201, and they will put you in contact with an International Center staff member.