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SECURING AN F-1 VISA

IMPORTANT FORMS

FORM I-20ID
It is page 3 of the I-20, returned to you at the port of entry, that serves as the Identification of the international student on an F-1 visa and must be carried at all times. If lost, a new one must be requested. ISFS is required by law to maintain a copy of the I-20ID on file.

FORM I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)
Form I-94, also called the Arrival-Departure Record of Stay permit, is the small white paper attached to your passport at the port of entry to the United States. This form officially determines how long an international student can remain in the U.S. Aliens of the F-1 visa usually have their I-94 stamped "D/S" (Duration of Status) which means that the student can remain in this country for all the time required to complete his/her studies as long as the student follows all the regulations of the student visas.

The I-20 issued to you should have a completion date, which is the estimated time it should take for you to complete your degree. If you will need more time, you need to contact our office (ISFS) to apply for an extension. Extensions of stay must be filed at least thirty days before the Date of Completion expires in order to remain in the U.S. legally.

Duration of Status (F-1 student status)

An F-1 student is considered in status for the entire length of time during which the student is enrolled as a full-time student in an educational program, plus any authorized period of practical training and an additional sixty days to prepare for departure.

Conditions of Duration of Status:
You must be enrolled as a full-time student at the school you are authorized to attend. This means that you must attend the school whose I-20 you last entered the U.S. with, or the school whose provisions for enrollment into the approved schools.

You may engage in employment or practical training only when you have received permission.

Limitations of Duration of Status:

  • Duration of Status continues until the date of completion which appears on your I-20. Departures from the U.S. of fewer than five months does not break the continuity of D/S. An application for extension of stay must be filed in order for students to continue in F-1 status after the completion date.
  • Duration of status expires if a student takes longer than expected to complete an academic level (e.g. bachelors's, master's,doctorate). The amount of time permitted for completing studies at a given level is determined by the date put on the initial I-20 issued at the beginning of each academic level. Subsequent I-20's issued for the same level of study that may be used for travel or transfer of schools do not changethe official deadline for completion that was determined by the first I-20. Students must pay close attention to the expected completion date noted in item 5 on the original form I-20 for each level. If more time is needed to a report of program extension must be filed with INS.
  • Duration of status expires if a student does not maintain a full course of study.