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Move in date on F-1 status?


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I'm sure this information is buried in the forums somewhere, but it was not coming up when I searched. I just accepted my offer to a school in California, and I'll be attending on F-1 status. I'm Canadian. I have to submit a housing application by next Friday, and it has to include an intended move in date. I recall reading that I can move to the US on F-1 status one month before the start of term, but I haven't found the webpage again to verify that. I'd like to move as early as possible, but I don't want to put a move in date that is too early and have to pay rent before I can actually be there!

 

Can anyone with experience comment on this?

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One month is correct, however, as a Canadian, you don't need a visa to enter the US, so in theory, you can still come to the US as a tourist until 1 month before your program start date, and then exit and re-enter on F-1 status.

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Yeah, I know re-entry is a possibility. But I'd be worried about them being jerks about it if I was re-entering from Mexico, and returning to Canada to re-enter wouldn't be cheap. It is doable, though. Thanks for the info.

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If you want the official information on the 30 days thing, here is the official website: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/study-exchange/student.html

 

Scroll down to the question "Can I enter the United States more than 30 days in advance?" and the answer is:

Students are not permitted to enter the United States earlier than 30 days before the start date of their program. If you wish to enter earlier than 30 days before your start date, you must qualify for a visitor (B ) visa. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials may admit you to the United States on the visitor (B )visa, but you must apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a change of status to student (F-1or M-1) status. You may not begin your course of study until the change of status is approved, and you may encounter lengthy processing times. 

 

 

Of course, as a Canadian, you don't need a B visa, you can just enter. The paragraph also notes that you can change your status while in the US, the information on how to do that is here: http://www.uscis.gov/visit-united-states/change-my-nonimmigrant-status-category/change-my-nonimmigrant-status. This is just to provide a "source" for what I said above :)

 

Also, in theory, you can do this without actually leaving the US. However, given all of this, I think the easiest/best way is to enter 30 days before your program starts! Housing at most schools work with the school calendar and so you should just pick your move-in date to be ~30 days before your program starts (this information should be online already).

Edited by TakeruK
B visa, not "cool sunglasses smiley face" visa!
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