A valid passport must be maintained while in the United States. It should be valid for a minimum of 6 months beyond your period of stay in the U.S. You must have a valid passport to apply for an I-20 and a visa. If your name shown on your passport has changed for any reason, carry official name-change documentation with your passport. (For example, bring an original marriage certificate documenting a name change.) If you need your passport renewed, passport renewal is conducted at the embassy of the student’s home country.
F-1 Visa/J-1 Visa
An F-1 or J-1 Visa is the certification issued by the United States Consulate or Embassy granting foreign nationals legal permission to present themselves for inspection for admission at a port of entry to the United States. It is represented by a multicolored stamp in your passport. It is important to note that immigration officials at any United States port of entry can deny admission to any foreign national with a valid visa issued by a United States Embassy. The visa may be issued for single or multiple entries up to the date of expiration indicated. An American Embassy or Consulate abroad must renew a single entry visa to reenter the United States. With a multiple-entry visa, departure and reentry to the United States is allowed up to the expiration date indicated on the visa. In addition to a valid visa, you must always travel with a valid I-20 that has been signed by the Designated School Official or a valid DS-2019 that has been signed by the Responsible Officer.
N.B. No visa is extended or issued from within the United States. You should obtain a NEW VISA from your home country if you plan to reenter the United States after your visa has expired, or if your visa status has changed while you have been in the United States.
The I-20 indicates that an international applicant has been accepted as a full-time, degree-seeking student to study at a U.S. academic institution.The I-20 is used to obtain an F-1 or F-2 Visa. The information on your I-20 must be kept current at all times. If it needs to be renewed or adjusted due to a change of major, contact The Office of International Programs. The USCIS requires that before traveling, you must have your I-20 signed by a Designated School Official (DSO) at The Office of International Programs.
The DS-2019 is for Exchange Visitor status (J-1) and is used to obtain a J-1 or J-2 visa. The DS2019 must be kept current at all times. If it needs to be renewed or adjusted due to a change of major, contact The Office of International Programs.
Form I-94 is the DHS Arrival/Departure Record issued to aliens who are admitted to the U.S., who are adjusting status while in the U.S. or extending their stay, among other things. The visitor must exit the U.S. on or before the departure date stamped on the I-94.
In order to increase efficiency, reduce operating costs and streamline the admissions process, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has automated Form I-94 at air and sea ports of entry. The paper form will no longer be provided to a traveler upon arrival, except in limited circumstances. The traveler will be provided with a CBP admission stamp on their travel document. If a traveler needs a copy of their I-94 (record of admission) for verification of alien registration, immigration status or employment authorization, it can be obtained online.