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Form & Document Definitions

Form I-20: Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student

Your I-20 can be used for the following:

  • To obtain an F-1 visa from American Embassy/Consulate in your home country.
  • To enter the US for the first time.
  • To reenter after a short visit outside the U.S.
  • To transfer to another school.
  • For entry of family (spouse, children).
  • To extend expected program completion date.

DS-2019: Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Students Status (J-1 Visa)

Your DS-2019 can be used for the following:

  • To obtain a J-1 visa from American Embassy/Consulate in your home country.
  • To enter the US for the first time.
  • Extension of stay and renewal of Entry Permit (I-94).
  • To re-enter after a short visit outside the U.S.
  • For entry of family (spouse, children).
  • To extend expected program completion date.

I-94: Arrival-Departure Record

The I-94 is the small white card in your passport on which the visa classification and the expiration date of your authorized stay is written when you enter the U.S. All F-1 students should have F-1 written as the visa classification. All Exchange Visitors should have J-1 written as the visa classification. D/S stands for duration of status, which means the period during which the student is pursuing a full course of study, plus one year for practical training, and 60 days in which to depart the country.

What if I lose my I-94 card?

You must be in possession of your I-94 card at all times. If you lose it, you must complete an application form I-102 which can be obtained from the DHS. A fee of $330.00 must be submitted with the application. After details of your entry are verified, a new I-94 will be mailed to you by the USCIS.

Passport

A passport is your country’s identification of you as a citizen. Your passport must remain valid at all times. It is not allowed to expire. You may renew it by contacting your Embassy/Consulate within the U.S.

Visa: Stamped Page in Passport

A visa is normally a stamp placed in your passport by an official of the United States (or the country you are entering) permitting you entry. You must have a valid visa to enter the United States (unless visa exempt). However, unlike a passport, once in the U.S., a visa is allowed to expire.