Arrival in the United States


Most GPC students arrive at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Click here for more information about the Atlanta airport!




Shortly before landing, the crew of the aircraft will begin handing out arrival forms, and will probably show you a short film telling you how to fill out both forms. The long white form is the I-94 Arrival/Departure Card, and the smaller paper form is a Customs Declaration. Follow the instructions carefully, and answer each question honestly and completely. You should place both of these forms in your passport so that they are handy after you land.






When you leave the airplane, follow directions for non-citizen entry.


Normally, there are two lines, one for US citizens, and one for non-citizens. The line can be very long if there are several international flights arriving at the same time. Please be patient, and do not cross the yellow line until the immigration official tells you to step up to the counter.






At the airport,a U.S.official will interview you and verify all of your paperwork.


You will need to show the immigration official your passport, visa, and I-20 form, as well as the I-94 Arrival/Departure Card you filled out in the airplane. The immigration official may ask you some questions about your reasons for coming to the United States. Don’t be nervous! Answer the questions honestly.



The immigration officers will require you to have your two index fingers scanned and a digital photograph (PDF) taken to verify your identity at the port of entry.  Visas are required for most students, business travelers (depending on their length of stay) and millions of other visitors, regardless of where they live.  Currently, US-VISIT will not enroll visitors seeking admission under the Visa Waiver Program.  However, by September 30, 2004, US-VISIT procedures will be expanded to include visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program arriving at air and sea ports of entry. It does not apply to U.S. citizens.


Once admitted,you will receive an immigration stamp in your passport and on your I-20. The officer will also stamp the I-94 card, and will return the bottom of the card to you. THIS CARD IS VERY IMPORTANT! KEEP IT IN YOUR PASSPORT! DO NOT LOSE IT!




After Immigration control, you will walk to the baggage claim area, where you will pick up your baggage, then you must take your baggage through the US Customs Control counter.


The US Customs Service is specifically interested in two things: the value of goods you are bringing into the US, and to make certain you are not bringing prohibited items into the United States, such as weapons or illegal drugs. It is also not a good idea to bring food into the United States. The Customs enforcement officers may use dogs to make certain that no prohibited items are in your luggage. For more information on what you may or may not bring into the United States, click here.


After you are finished with Customs, you are officially in the US!


If you have a connecting flight to another city, you should re-check your luggage after Customs, and follow directions to find your airplane.


If you arrive in Atlanta, you will have to put your luggage back on a conveyor belt for transportation to the main baggage claim area. International arrivals are on Concourse “E”, and you will take a train back to the main terminal, where you will pick up your luggage again. Ground Transportation and parking areas are right outside the main baggage claim area.


Special Notice to Students in F1 Status!


You must report to the office of International Student Admissions and Advising on the Clarkston Campus as soon as possible after your arrival! Bring your passport, I-94, and I-20 form with you! We will report to the Department of Homeland Security that you have arrived at GPC. At that time, we will advise you about placement testing, orientation, registration, and the required F1 Student Information meetings.