International Students - Arrival Information
You will need to plan to arrive at Meredith College the day before International Student Orientation begins. We ask that all students complete the Arrival Information Form and return it so that we know your plans for arrival, both in the U.S. and to the Meredith College campus.
Download the Arrival Information Form here.
Please note that if you are arriving at Raleigh Durham Airport the day before orientation begins, we will be happy to pick you up at the airport and bring you to campus. If you arrive in Raleigh at any other time, you will be responsible for making your own arrangements for transportation and housing until check-in time at Meredith on the day pior to Orientation. Staff in the Office of International Programs can assist with information on local accomodations and transportation should you have any questions.
We realize you may have many questions about your arrival, and have provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions below. If you have further questions after reading the information below, please contact Liz Yaros at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will be happy to assist you.
Frequently Asked Questions about Arrival
What is the process I will go through for my initial arrival in the U.S. at the Port of Entry (airport)?
In general, the admitting U.S. immigration officer will go through the following procedures:
- Review your visa and financial documentation for authenticity and validity – these need to be the same documents as those given to the visa officer at the Embassy
- Scan your SEVIS Form I-20 to log your initial arrival into the U.S. and return the original to you – the school on your I-20 must match the school on your visa.
- Issue an Admissions Number on your I-94 card
- Approve your entry into the U.S. for “Duration of Status” (D/S will be put on your card)
- The Customs officer will also scan an electronic fingerprint of both of your index fingers and take a digital photo for the new U.S. Visit System.
- Additional security checks (if applicable)
Please allow plenty of time at the U.S. Port of Entry for this process, which can sometimes take several hours, should additional security checks be required. Please note that not all airports are equipped for SEVIS inspection at the Primary Inspection desk and you may be sent to the Secondary Inspection line. Should this happen, please do not be alarmed. This is not an indication of problems with your visa, but rather is part of the Immigration entry processes at some airports. If you have problems at the Port of Entry, call Liz Yaros immediately (see below). If the admitting officer finds a problem with your documentation, but allows you to enter the U.S. with a “date certain” admission, this gives you 60 days to provide additional information to the local CIS Service Center. If this happens, please alert Liz Yaros as soon as possible and they will help you with this process once you arrive on campus.
For more information on what to expect when going through customs as well as what documents you need to have with you for entering the country, please see the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “Arrival Fact Sheet” online at: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/factsheet/100104ent_stdnt_fs.htm.
Who should I call if I have problems at the Port of Entry?
You should call the Office of International Programs at (919) 760-2307 if you have any problems upon arrival at the Port of Entry. The office staff is available during regular business hours of 9am-5pm Eastern Standard Time. If you cannot reach anyone at this number, please call Meredith Campus Police at (919) 760-8888 and ask them to contact Liz Yaros directly. In all cases, you will need to leave a phone number where you can be reached within the next 1-2 hours.
How early can I come to the U.S.?F-1 visa holders are allowed to arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days before their program start date, as indicated in section 5 of the I-20 form. You are advised to enter the U.S. before your program start date. If you cannot arrive by that date, please contact Liz Yaros immediately for further instructions.
What do I need to consider when booking connecting flights to Raleigh?
You will need to leave yourself plenty of time between your arrival at the Port of Entry airport in the U.S. and your connecting flight to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (see the process for initial arrival above).
How early can I get into my housing on campus?
Check-in for housing on-campus is between 2pm and 6pm the day before International Student Orientation begins. If you are arriving earlier in the day, we will try to make arrangements for you to get into your room beforehand. You will need to alert the Office of International Programs at least two weeks prior to your arrival if such arrangements will need to be made. You cannot check into your on-campus housing before this date. Should you choose to arrive earlier than this time, you will need to make your own housing arrangements. The Office of International Programs can provide hotel suggestions.
Will I be met at the airport?
You will be met at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport if you have filled out the Arrival information form indicating your desire to be picked up and faxed this information to Liz Yaros in the Office of International Programs by August 5th and are arriving on check-in day. A staff member will be standing in the baggage claim area with a sign that says "MEREDITH COLLEGE". If you are arriving on a date earlier than check-in day, we will try to make arrangements to pick you up at the airport, but cannot guarantee that a staff member will be available to do so. Information on taxis and other airport transportation can be found at the airport Information Desk.
What if my flight is delayed – will I still be met at the airport?
We will take every precaution to check the status of your flight if you have provided the necessary flight numbers and airline information on your Arrival information form. However, if your flight is delayed, please call The Office of International Programs at (919) 760-2307 to alert us to your new arrival time and flight information. We will make every effort to still pick you up at your new arrival time and you should allow extra wait time at the baggage claim area for someone to appear with a sign with your name on it. Should no one appear, you will need to take a taxi to the Meredith campus at 3800 Hillsborough Street and proceed directly to your Residence Hall. The officer at the main entrance can direct you to your Residence Hall. Once there you should locate the Resident Director for the building (they usually have an apartment on the first floor).
What will I be expected to do on arrival day?
We will not have any planned activities for you on arrival day other than to get settled into your room, meet your Resident Advisor, and rest. We are happy to come and meet you and see if you need any assistance settling in, but we have found that activities on that first evening are not typically well attended. We will begin promptly the next morning at 9 am for the required International Student Orientation. You will receive a schedule for the orientation and further instructions via email in early August. If you will not have access to your regular email address at that time, please alert us to an email or mailing address where we should send your information.