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Division of Human Resources

Preparing to Enter the U.S.

As international scholars prepare to enter the United States, there are a many things to consider, from proper documentation to living arrangements, and schools for accompanying dependents.

After a University of South Carolina department extends an offer to host or hire an international scholar, the knowledgeable staff of the Office for International Scholars will coordinate with the hiring department and the international scholar to begin working on the items required for you to obtain a visa to enter the United States.

When to Arrive

According to U.S. immigration regulations, those coming to the U.S. in H-1B or TN status can arrive no sooner than 10 days prior to the start date of employment. Those coming in J-1 or F-1 status may arrive no sooner than 30 days prior to the official program start date.


Some of the documentation that must be in order will include:

  • Visa document (I-797 for H-1B, DS 2019 for J-1, I-20 for F-1 OPT)
  • Passport
  • Offer letter from the University of South Carolina with financial documentation (or a copy of the H petition or TN support letter)

Printing Your I-94

The I-94 is the Arrival / Departure Record issued by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to foreign visitors entering the U.S., and can be completed online

When entering the U.S., an international must remember to do the following:

  • Check your passport to make sure that the CBP officer has put an entry stamp indicating that you entered on a certain date, in a certain visa status. Those entering in H-1B, TN, B-1 or W/B status should have a certain ending date — If you are entering in J-1 or F-1 status, you will receive D/S (duration of status) as the ending date. 
  • Print out your completed I-94, as you will need it for other purposes.

An electronic copy of the I-94 will be made available once you enter the U.S., and can be accessed using your passport number and entry information.