Immigration Documents, Terms & Regulations
Immigration regulations state that you are responsible for keeping your passport valid at all times during your stay in the U.S. Your passport can be revalidated or renewed through your home country embassy or consulate.
The visa is a stamped endorsement made in the passport by an American consular or embassy official outside the U.S. It indicates that all requirements have been met for entry into the U.S. The number of entries allowed within a specified period is indicated on the visa stamp and can vary from country to country. A valid visa is essential for entering and re-entering the U.S.except for Canadian citizens, who do not require a visa.
I-94 Arrival /Departure record
The I-94 is a small white card that is usually stapled to the visa page in your passport by an immigration inspector when you enter the U.S. It records the length of your authorized stay in the U.S. The I-94, not the visa stamp, is the record of your permission to remain here. For the F-1 visa holder, the I-94 is usually marked "D/S" or "Duration of Status" meaning you have permission to remain in the U.S. for the length of your academic program as stated on line 5 of your I-20 as long as you remain a full-time student.
I-20 AB Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status
The I-20 is a three page computer generated form. It is stamped by an immigration inspector at your port of entry. Your original I-20 and any additional I-20 forms issued to you become the permanent record of your periods of stay in this country. The DHS will note any validation for re-entry, transfer of schools, or endorsement to work, etc, on your I-20.
Means that a student is classified and authorized by DHS to be in the U.S. for the principal purpose of pursuing a full course of study at an academic or language institution in the U.S. There are sections of the law and regulations that define what F-1 students can and cannot do while in the U.S. and students must abide by them in order to maintain their legal status.
The visa classification of dependents (spouse and/or children only) of F-1 students. There are sections of the law and regulations that define what person(s) on F-2 status can and cannot do while in the U.S. and that person(s) must abide by them to maintain legal status in the U.S.
A person entering the U.S. under a visa waiver means he/she is admitted into the U.S. as a "tourist" but without any actual visa stamp issued on his/her passport. Persons in this category, who may be issued a green I-94 with "W-T" noted on it, are allowed to remain in the U.S. for no more than three months or 90 days. NOTE: Persons admitted under this classification cannot apply to change status in the U.S.
Duration of Status (D/S)
A notation specified on the Form I-94 and refers to the period during which the bearer of the I-94 is authorized to remain in the U.S. until he/she completes his/her program of study in an educational institution, and any periods of authorized practical training, plus 60 days, if still applicable, to depart the U.S.
Change of Status
An DHS procedure through which persons in an eligible non-immigrant visa classification may apply to change to an F-1 visa classification in order to pursue a full course of study in the U.S. and be eligible for F-1 benefits. (NOTE: Persons admitted in C, D, K, and M visa classifications and the Visa Waiver program are NOT eligible to request a change of status to F-1 in the U.S.)
Program Extension (Extension of Stay)
The immigration procedure which an F-1 student must complete when he/she must remain in the U.S. longer than the time originally estimated for completion of his/her program as stated on his/her I-20. An extension can only be processed within a 30-day period before the originally estimated completion date.
The immigration procedure which an F-1 student must complete when he/she fails to remain in lawful status or overstays beyond his/her completion date as noted on his/her I-20 and fails to complete a program extension.
The immigration procedure which an F-1 student (or a J-1 student) is required to complete when changing from one U.S. institution to another or when changing from one educational level to another (i.e., from bachelor's to master's). Failure to complete this procedure puts a student out-of-status.