Entering the U.S.

Entering the United States

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Check-In and Arrival

You are allowed to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your I-20. Please schedule your flight to arrive prior to the date of the group orientation. You may register for some classes prior to arrival at myweb.sjeccd.edu. We may adjust your class schedule after arrival. 

When you arrive, please check in to the International Student Program office. We are located in the General Education building in GE-118 . You will need to bring the following documents to check in: 

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-20

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Students just arriving to the U.S. may wish to stay at a hotel for a few days until they find longer-term accommodations. A list of hotels in the San Jose/Silicon Valley area may be found on websites:

San Jose City College, similar to most community colleges, does not offer on-campus housing. SJCC works with the International Student Placements, www.isphomestays.com, to provide students the opportunity to live with host families. We strongly recommend you consider staying with a host family when you first arrive. International Student Placements also provides airport pickup service for students staying with host families.

Students may also choose to find other housing options: 

More information about your rights and responsibilities in “California Tenants: A Guide to Residential Tenant’s and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities”

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Airports and Transportation

The closest airports are San Jose International Airport (SJC) about 7 miles away and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) about 40 miles away. 


Visitor information can be found on the official San Jose website.

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Customs and Immigration at the Airport

You must keep the following documents in your carry-on luggage so you are able to present them to a CBP officer:

      • Passport (valid for at least 6 months after the date of entry)
      • Valid F-1 visa 
      • Valid Form I-20/Form DS-2019
      • Proof of financial support and resources reflected on Form I-20/Form DS-2019
      • Tuition and/or Housing receipt(s), if you have already made payments prior to your arrival
      • SEVIS fee receipt
During the immigration inspection, CBP officers may ask you questions similar to those asked at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate during your visa interview. It is your responsibility to prove your intent to enter the U.S. as a non-immigrant in F-1 status. The primary purpose of the student visa program is to pursue and complete a degree through full-time study. In addition to asking you these questions, CBP officers also have the right to look through any electronic devices and your personal belongings. 

More information on the legal authority of CBP can be found on their website.

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Health Insurance and Health Clearance

Upon arrival, students will be required to demonstrate proof of Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) immunizations and tuberculosis (TB) test. You may bring proof of health immunizations and TB test results from your home country. TB test results need to be within one year. If you cannot demonstrate proof of immunization, schedule an appointment with Student Health Services located in the campus Student Center during the first two weeks of school. Health immunizations records will need to be submitted to the International Student Program within three weeks of the start of the semester. 

Medical visits and emergencies can be very costly in the U.S. San Jose City College requires all international students to purchase and subscribe to the health insurance plan selected by the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District.  SJCC does not accept any other U.S. or foreign-based insurance plans. Only students who meet certain eligibility criteria may request a waiver by completing a health insurance waiver form and providing the required proof by the first day of each semester. 

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