Recently my F1 visa got approved I would like to enter USA 25 days before my school starting date. Because I want to visit Los Angeles for few days and then move to Washington DC (My school location is in Washington DC)

So my question is

May I enter USA through Los Angeles port instead Washington DC? or I must enter through DC because my school is located near by DC?

Do I have to face any troubles at Los Angeles Airport immigration?

2 Answers 2


According to the US state department, you can enter 30 days before the start of school with an F1:


Because many people take connecting flights, your port of entry has little to do with your expected city of residence. If you enter through LA, they'll likely assume you're taking a connecting to DC -- if asked, you can tell the truth and say you'd like to sightsee for a few weeks.

Once you have your F1, you can enter or leave anytime while you have a valid and endorsed I-20. So if you want to do extended (> 30 days) sightseeing over a summer, you should do it next year while you are between school years. But your short 25 day excursion this year should be fine.

tl;dr: Up to 30 days before the start is fine, but stay on the safe side -- 25 days should be ok. Port of entry does not matter.


You can enter from any airport.

I got my F1 for a school that didn't have direct flights from UK, so I did immigration at Dallas because that was the closest flight I could get.

The immigration officer will not ask for your on-going (forward) journey - they did not ask me. Good news too, since I hadn't booked my onward ticket because I wasn't sure if I was going to fly or drive there.

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