Alien - Immigration Process - Entering the United States, What you Need to Know

The six step process is as follows:

  1. Invitation from U.S. organization
    A department at UCLA should provide the foreign visitor with a letter describing the purpose for visiting UCLA as well as the duration of the visit and any additional details (i.e. travel arrangements, payments to be given by UCLA, etc.)
  2. Obtain Passport (see individual’s country of citizenship requirements)
  3. Obtain Visa (if required)*
    1. Visitor should review the UCLA invitation letter to determine which visa status is most appropriate for their purpose at UCLA and obtain this status
    2. Access the U.S. State Department Visa page (see related information) for current visa information and requirements
    3. Make an appointment with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate
    4. Check required fees and method of payment
    5. Have documents ready
      • See United States Visas and Consulate web sites
      • Obtain documents from sponsoring entity
        UCLA Invitation Letter should be provided
      • International Student and Scholars contact Dashew Center
    6. Submit application, passport, and supporting documents to  U.S. Embassy or Consulate
    7. Interviews
    8. Approval/Denial of Visa
  4. Inspection Process
    1. Provide Inspector with documents:
      • U.S. Citizen – U.S. passport goes straight to Customs
      • U.S. Permanent Resident – Green Card, Reentry Permit or a Returning Resident visa goes straight to Customs
      • Alien – Passport and valid visa (if required)
      • UCLA Invitation Letter
    2. Inspector approves permission to enter the United States. (only aliens):
      Stamps passport and issues a completed I-94 or I-94W indicating the “Status” of the individual
  5. Customs
  6. Admittance into the U.S. 

*Note: Exceptions to the visa rule are: Canadian citizens, aliens with Border Crossing Cards and aliens traveling under the Visa Waiver Program.