Late Arrival for New Students

The ISSO strongly recommends that students do everything to arrive on time. If students will arrive to UT Dallas after the first day of classes, we strongly suggest they defer their admission. Although Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the U.S. airport might permit students to enter past the program start date, it is our experience that late-arriving students have a stressful time settling in and meeting all the pre-registration requirements (Mandatory TB test, Orientations, Housing, etc). The inability to meet all these requirements may jeopardize a student’s F-1 or J-1 visa status.

Departmental Late Arrival Letter

UT Dallas academic departments have the discretion to write a late arrival letter on a students’ behalf [Sample Letter]. Departments may only issue this letter if they are willing to certify to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that they will ensure that the late-arriving student will be able to meet all university and immigration requirements despite the late arrival.

Department policies for approval for late arrival may vary. Each case for late arrival is reviewed individually and approval or denial will be based on the individual merits of the request. The letter should be addressed to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and sent directly to the student from the academic department. It is no longer required to contact the ISSO or the Office of Graduate Studies as part of this process.

In general, a scanned and printed image is sufficient and will be accepted by CBP. The letter should state the following:

  • How late the department is willing to let the student start the semester. This must be a specific date.
  • That the student will be able to enroll full-time in the academic program and make normal academic progress despite the late arrival.
  • If the student is a TA/RA, that the late arrival will not negatively impact eligibility for, and ability to, engage in the graduate assistantship indicated on the I-20/DS-2019.

The letter will not guarantee entry; it simply reduces the likelihood that late arriving students will not be turned away at the U.S. Port of Entry; however, being denied entry remains a risk. If late arriving students are turned away, it is generally their responsibility to pay the cost to return to the home country.

If Entering Late:

Despite recommendations to defer their admission, if a student decides to try and enter the country late, they should email the following areas their arrival date as soon as possible:

  1. The Student Health Center ([email protected]) to schedule a TB Test.
  2. Academic department to communicate about late registration.

Please note, even if a student is allowed to arrive late, they may face the following consequences:

  • Late registration for courses
  • Limited class availability
  • Late registration frees

Late arriving students are required to maintain full-time enrollment throughout the semester. The ISSO will not approve reduced course loads for students who are not able to find the right classes or who are likely to receive poor grades due to the late arrival.