Pre-Departure and Arrival Guide

Once you receive your official acceptance letter and I-20 form from the Kentucky State University, you will be able to apply for your visa. To submit an F-1 Student Visa Application, please visit this link:

We suggest submitting visa applications as soon as you receive your I-20 and enrollment acceptance letter to better ensure your materials are promptly accepted and returned to you.

Required material and/or documents include the following:

  • A signed Form I-20 (A Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status) or DS-2019
  • Passport valid for a minimum of 6 months into the future at the time of entry to U.S.A.
  • Letter of admission/acceptance from KSU
  • Completed nonimmigrant visa application form (DS-160). Form available at your local US Embassy or Consulate’s website:
  • Two Passport photos
  • Financial support documents (Current proof of support that meets expenses for the duration as indicated on Form I-20 or DS-2019. You can provide bank statements, award letters or approval letters, etc.)
  • Visa application fee payment receipt
  • Receipt showing payment of $350.00 SEVIS fee (I-901 fee) or $220 for J-1.

Once you book your flight, you need to contact the OISA for pick-up arrangement. OISA arranges airport pick-ups on certain scheduled dates and times. Please double check on it before you book your flight if you need a ride from the airport.

The closest Airports are:

As an international student, you need to bear in mind that a valid visa does not guarantee successful entry into the United States. It is the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry, not the consular officer that authorizes the traveler’s admission to the United States and determines the period of authorized stay.

When you arrive at the U.S. Port of Entry, a CBP officer at a primary inspection booth will ask you some questions to verify your documentation and may examine your luggage.

The CBP officer may send you to secondary inspection if you do not have the required documentation or if she/he cannot verify your information. A CBP officer at the secondary inspection will conduct a more detailed inspection to determine your admissibility. However, if she/he is unable to verify your legal admissibility, you may be allowed a temporary entry into the United States with a Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor,” ( This document allows you to have temporary admission into the United States for 30 days. To maintain your nonimmigrant student status, you must address your Form I-515A within the time provided to you. If you receive a Form I-515A, alert your designated school official (DSO) as soon as you arrive on campus. It is critically important you work with your DSO to address the Form I-515A within the 30 days given to you. For more information, you can visit US Department of Homeland Security website regarding the Form I-515A (

To help you with a successful entry to the United States, we have some tips for your entry preparation (Please refer to the KSU International Student Handbook for details):

  • Make sure you have the following documents with you in hand (carry-on)
    • Valid passport with a valid US F-1 or J-1 visa stamp
    • Original signed Form I-20 or DS-2019
    • Evidence of financial support documents
    • KSU admission/acceptance letter
    • Proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee
  • Do not bring any restricted items like alcoholic beverages, firearms, fish, plants, seeds, soil, animal products, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Have in hand with you the contact information for KSU:
    • Director of International Student Advising and Transition Services (Vacant)
  • Eric Yang (RO/DSO), Interim Director of Global Strategies and International Affairs, office phone 502-597-6327, Cellphone 502-545-5003, Fax 502-597-6763, email

Please refer to the KSU International Student Handbook for details).


  • Passport, visa, I-20 form, KSU acceptance letter and other supporting documentation
  • Airline tickets
  • Contact numbers for shuttle services (drivers vary, and contact information will be given to you before departure)
  • US Currency  
  • Please do not carry large sums of cash, as it can be lost or stolen
  • Credit and/or debit cards
  • Extra change of clothing
  • Reading materials, MP3 players, cell phone, or other travel necessities
  • Camera
  • Laptop computer or tablet
  • Prescription medication in the original packaging, all back-up supplies, and description in English from the doctor

Checked Luggage

Please check with your airlines on the luggage allowance policy.

    • Copies of all travel documentation
    • Clothing/shoes
      • Please note that Kentucky’s four seasons are drastically distinct. While summers are oppressively hot and humid (87-98˚ Fahrenheit, or 31-37˚ Celsius), winters are generally cool with some snowfall (20-34˚F, or -6.7-1.1˚C). Spring and fall are both mild and relatively warm, with ample precipitation and thunderstorm activity. Students will have opportunities to purchase winter clothing before the cold season arrives.
    • Eyeglasses and/or extra contact lenses
    • Electrical adaptors
    • One bath towel and washcloth (others can be purchased after arrival)
    • Toiletries for 2-3 days, such as shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, etc.
      • Please consider the TSA travel guidelines when transporting liquid