Incoming students should make sure they have proper immigration documentation before leaving. You will need a passport valid for at least 10 weeks past the program start date with a valid M-1 stamp and the original Form I-20 issued by Gnomon.
We recommend that you arrive with traveler's checks and some U.S. currency—around $200—in small denominations ($5, $10, $20) to carry you through the first few days before you can cash your traveler's checks and/or set up your bank account.
Date of Arrival
U.S. regulations state that students entering on an M-1 student visa will be permitted to enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the program start date indicated on your Form I-20. Gnomon recommends you arrive two to three weeks before the beginning of the term to find housing, get a driver's license, and get accustomed to Los Angeles.
Arrival in the United States
When you travel, you should carry some specific documents on your person. Do not check them in your baggage! If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will not be able to show the documents to the Customs and Border Protection Officer and, as a result, may not be able to enter the United States.
Documents you should carry on your person:
- Passport (including attached envelope of immigration documents) with nonimmigrant visa
- SEVIS Form I-20
- Contact information for Gnomon
- Program Acceptance Documents from Gnomon
- Writing instrument (pen)
If you are traveling by aircraft, the flight attendants on board will distribute CF-6059 Customs Declaration Forms before you land at your initial point-of-entry in the U.S. Complete this form while you are on the aircraft and submit it to the appropriate Customs and Border Protection Officer upon your arrival. If you do not understand a form, ask the flight attendant for assistance.
Upon arrival at the port-of-entry, proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers for inspection. As you approach the inspection station, ensure that you have:
- Passport containing valid M-1 visa
- SEVIS Form I-20
- CF-6059 Customs Declaration Form available for presentation to the CBP Officer
Prior to leaving the inspection station, make sure the immigration officer writes “M-1” when they stamp your passport. If you do not see this, you must go back to the officer to request the correction before leaving the airport. You will not be able to commence your studies if you have been stamped with a different student status. When your passport is stamped, an Arrival/Departure Record is created, called an I-94. The I-94 establishes the date and place of your arrival in the U.S., your visa status, and the duration of your status. You can access this document by visiting the U.S. Custom’s and Border Protection website: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/consent.html
Your I-94 document serves as the official record of admission into, and permission to remain in, the U.S. We recommend printing this document for your records.
Upon arrival to U.S., you will need to notify Gnomon’s Administrative office to schedule an appointment. Make sure to bring your Form I-20, visa, passport, and local address information.
Verification of arrival and enrollment is electronically tracked through SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, a Web-based data collection and monitoring system managed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Failure to arrive at Gnomon and register as a full-time student will result in the immediate termination of your non-immigrant student status.
A mandatory orientation will be held for all incoming students on the Friday prior to the start date of your term. At your orientation you will receive your student catalog, containing important information regarding Gnomon policies and procedures, and meet members of the Gnomon staff and community who are here to assist you during your studies.
Information regarding your orientation time and date can be found in your acceptance packet or by contacting the admissions department: firstname.lastname@example.org.