Preparing for Your Arrival to the U.S.

Congratulations on your decision to come to Mount Mary! We truly look forward to having you on campus and being a part of your educational and professional journey to success. As you begin planning your arrival, make sure to keep in touch with our admission staff who will help your transition go as smoothly as possible!

Page Quick Links:

  1. Before You Arrive
  2. Things to Remember
  3. General Packing Tips & Milwaukee Temperatures
  4. Entering, Leaving and Moving within the U.S.
  5. Admission Number for First Time F-1 Entry


Before You Arrive

First and foremost, plan for a great start! Plan to arrive by the mandatory international orientation.   It is very important that you arrive to Mount Mary University by the arrival date indicated in the orientation schedule that you will receive from us. 

Things to Remember

  1. Have your travel documents in order and confirm with your International Student Counselor before you depart.
  2. Make arrangements to have U.S. currency available upon your arrival in the United States.
  3. Request the correct visa (F-1) at the US Embassy/Consulate in your home country.
  4. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer (CBP) will return the Student Copy of your I-20 and your passport to you.

Important: If the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer at the Port of Entry (POE) issues you an I-515 form, please bring this form, your passport and your I-94 (issued for 30 days) to our office. (This is an urgent matter that needs prompt attention.) See more information about Form I-515A.

Just like any international trip, packing the right items and bringing the correct documents are essential if you want to avoid unnecessary hassles or a negative experience. If you have any questions as you prepare for your journey to Mount Mary University, we are here to help you.

General Packing Tips

  • Clearly identify your luggage, purse and cell phone with your name, U.S. address and Home Country address. If you label your cell phone case, feel free to include Mount Mary’s Admission Office number (414) 930-3024 and your full name on the label. If someone finds your phone, they will need a number to call.
  • Check airline regulations for weight, size, and number of all bags.
  • In your carry-on, keep a change of clothes, toiletries, valuables, important documents (passports, visas, arrival instructions) and medication.
  • Carry all of your essential identification papers and documents on your person or in your carry-on baggage. Be careful not to put important documents in bags you have checked onto the plane.

When packing clothing, consider both the physical and social climate and dress accordingly. Take items that have multiple uses and (for colder climates) can be layered. Bring comfortable and practical clothing and shoes. If winter clothing is not available in your area, plan to purchase clothes and gear in Milwaukee. Our counselors can help you find shopping hot spots including Mayfair Mall, located just minutes from campus!

Milwaukee has a continental climate with wide variations in temperatures over short periods, especially in spring and autumn. The warmest month is July, when the average high temperature is 81 °F (27 °C), and the overnight low is 63 °F (17 °C). The coldest month is January, when the average high temperature is only 28 °F (-2 °C). Low temperatures in January average 13 °F (-11 °C).

Additional Items to Pack:

  • A quality bilingual dictionary
  • Books, manuals, or journals that you think may be useful for reference in your field of study
  • Pictures of your family, home, and country for yourself and to show to your new friends.
  • a printed version of contacts (if they are usually stored in your cell phone) in case you lose your phone.
  • Items from your culture, such as musical instruments, recordings of traditional and contemporary music, picture books, arts and crafts, and small gifts, to share your talents and customs with people in the United States
  • For festive occasions you may consider bringing traditional dress and accessories from your country to show and express more about your culture and traditions
  • Professional clothing in case of a site visit to a company or job/internship interview


  • $100 in U.S. currency for when you first arrive
  • Map of Greater Milwaukee or South Eastern Wisconsin
  • Photocopy of your passport information pages. Also leave a copy at home.
  • Books, cards, board games, journal
  • Camera
  • Umbrella
  • Sunglasses
  • Laptop


Entering, Leaving and Moving within the U.S.

Arrival Plans

Have your travel documents in order and confirm with Antje Streckel in the Admissions Office your departure and arrival date, and your attendance at the Student Orientation.

  • Arrive a day or two before the international student orientation date.
  • Make arrangements to have U.S. currency available upon your arrival to the United States.
  • Do not carry large sums of cash; traveler’s checks are safer.

Arrival into a U.S. Port of Entry (POE)

The immigration officer at the Port of Entry will request the following forms:

  • Passport valid for at least six months
  • F-1 visa, unless exempt from visa requirements as for Canadian citizens. For initial entries, the name of the school on the F-1 visa stamp must match the name of the school on the SEVIS I-20 form.
  • SEVIS I-20 form, properly signed by the Mount Mary University DSO and by the student
  • Evidence of financial support, including the same financial support information used to obtain the F-1 visa
  • I-94 card (Arrival/Departure Record), marked with the date and place of entry

The immigration officer will stamp “F-1 D/S” in your passport (F-1 visa page), and SEVIS I-20.

You will be directed to the Customs area for inspection of your luggage.

Admission Number for First F-1 Entry

Immigration uses the pre-printed admission number in the upper left-hand corner of the Form I-94 card (issued to you from the airlines prior to your arrival) for its arrival/departure database known as the Nonimmigrant Information System. Using this system along with the SEVIS system, immigration will keep track of the following information:

  • Arrival/departures of F-1 students
  • Field of study
  • Degree objectives
  • Transfers to other schools
  • Permission to work – Curricular Practical Training, Optional Practical Training
  • I-94 Subsequent Entries
  • Duration of Status (D/S)
  • Duration of status refers to the period that a student is pursuing a full course of study at an educational institution approved by immigration.
  • I-515 Form – Temporary Admission

If the F-1 student appears at the Port of Entry in good faith without a properly completed SEVIS I-20 or properly endorsed SEVIS I-20, but otherwise appears eligible for admission as an F-1 student, the immigration officer may grant the student a 30-day “date certain” admission by issuing the I-515. If you should receive this form, please bring it to Orientation.