Complete your academic file if you have not done so. Blackburn College must have official copies of your completion of a secondary school program. For students with post-secondary (college/university) coursework, in addition to an official copy on secondary program completion, official transcripts of all post-secondary coursework is required.

Health and Travel Insurance – Purchase health care insurance policy adequate to cover your health needs while in the US (required). Travel insurance is not required but is recommended.

Make arrangements for travel to Blackburn College
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security prohibits F-1 students from entering the country more than 30 days prior to the start date on your I-20. Blackburn College will not allow you to move on campus earlier than the designated move-in date. Check our website for current semester move in dates.

Reserve your flight (and/or other mode of travel) and if you need transportation from the airport or train/bus station contact Blackburn’s Student Life Office for a Student Travel Plans form. A copy of your complete flight itinerary is required if arriving by air plane to a local airport; or, arrival times and bus/train station information.

Please note: Blackburn only arranges pick-up service at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, MO; Abe Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield, IL; Carlinville, IL Amtrak station (train); and Litchfield, IL Greyhound station (bus). Contact Blackburn’s Student Life Office for available pick-up times and/or to make pick-up arrangements.

Take time to double check that you have gathered important documents that you will need for your travel and stay in the United States. When travelling, keep these documents with you – do not put into your checked baggage. The documents include:

  • Passport
  • I-20
  • Form I-797, receipt for the SEVIS fee
  • Blackburn College acceptance letter
  • Official academic transcripts (all documents)
  • Evidence of financial resources (all documents)
  • Immunization and vaccine records and any pertinent medical records. Documentation of current health insurance coverage.
  • Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate (if applicable). You should obtain notarized translations of these certificates if they are not in English
  • Contact Information for the P/DSO at Blackburn –In the event that the Customs and Border Protection Officer at the port of entry needs to verify information, or in case you need to call upon arrival to the U.S

Arriving in the U.S
As your airplane gets close to landing in the U.S., you should be asked by the flight attendant(s) if you need to complete a I-94 card. (You will also be asked to complete Customs Declaration Form CF-6059.) Complete the I-94 card making sure your name and home address exactly match your other documents. When you arrive in the airport, you will see a Customs and Border Protection Officer and the I-94 form will be stamped “D/S” (Duration of Stay). The stamp specifies that you can remain in the U. S. for the length of time required to complete your studies as long as you keep “in-status” with your visa. The I-94 is then attached to your passport; always keep the I-94 card with your passport.

All visitors entering the U.S. must state their reasons for entering the country. It is important that you tell the government official that you will be a student. Also, be prepared to include the name and address of the school – Blackburn College; 700 College Avenue; Carlinville, IL 62626.

To arrange transportation from the airport/bus station, the Blackburn’s Student Life Office must be notified – see above ‘Make Arrangements for Travel…’


Upon arriving to campus, you must go through the “check-in” process before you can receive your keys and move into one of the residence halls. During this process, various offices will have you complete any unfinished business and/or paperwork.

You are also required to check in with a Designated School Official (P/DSO) and bring all visa documents with you. Blackburn College is required to officially notify the Department of Homeland Security of your arrival within ten days of the start of class. Failure to notify the PDSO of your arrival will result in you falling out of legal status and can lead to loss of F-1 visa and deportation.

Review the International Student Handbook
As an F-1 student, there are a variety of rules and regulations that you must follow in order to remain “in-status” with your visa and the U.S. government. Failing to maintain legal status can result in deportation. A copy of the International Student Handbook which outlines those policies and procedures is available from the P/DSO. It also includes a wealth of information that can assist you in your transition to the Blackburn College and the United States. In addition to the handbook, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is available to assist you with contacting other on/off-campus services and to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Below is a list of other helpful websites for the International Student, use these to find more information about visa processes, travel to the US, and US culture: