Current F-1 Immigration Documents
Your immigration documents consist of your passport, the visa page inside the passport, the I-94 card and your SEVIS I-20. Keep these documents together and in a safe place. At the same time, these documents must be accessible. You will need these documents when filing any type of application with INS/USCIS, applying for Social Security number, opening a bank account, obtaining a driver's license, or traveling. Remember that you should carry your documents for domestic as well as international travel. In the event you would be stopped by law enforcement for any reason, you need to be able to produce these documents. Copies of all these documents are on file at the ISS office.
Any time you are issued new documents, you should bring them to the office so that your ISS file as well as the SEVIS system can be updated.
Your passport cannot expire or you are out of status. You can renew your passport while here in the U.S. Contact your country's embassy to find out about the procedure and cost. Start your passport renewal process at least six months prior to expiration. Here are links to locate your embassy:
Foreign Embassies in Washington DC
Directory & Search Engine Of The World's Embassies & Consulates
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Your entry visa is issued by a United States Consulate abroad and affixed into your passport. The only purpose of an entry visa is to apply for admission to the United States at the port of entry. Your visa can expire while you are in the United States. You will need to renew it only for re-entry to the U.S. after you have traveled abroad. You cannot renew a visa while in the U.S. - you can only renew abroad. Check with the U.S. Embassy or Consul in your country about procedures and appointments. Many embassies are scheduling appointments, so investigate visa renewal procedures before you make your travel arrangements.
United States Embassies and Consulates Worldwide
You can also check on a visa renewal as a "third country national," (TCN), which means getting your visa renewed in Canada or Mexico rather than your home country. Here are two links for information about obtaining a third country visa:
Immigration News Flash
U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs
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This small white card is a record of your legal entry into the U.S. and immigration status. You complete it on a flight to the U.S. or at a border crossing, and it is then processed at a port of entry. An immigration inspector usually staples it into your passport. Form I-94 notes name, date of birth, country of citizenship, and the date and port of your arrival in the U.S. It also indicates how long you can stay in the United States. The notation D/S signifies "duration of status" and refers to the completion date on the I-20.
Make sure you do not lose the I-94 arrival and departure card that you are given to fill out on the airplane. If you loose your card or it is destroy, you need to apply for a new one as soon as possible. Download the application for I-102 on the INS/USCIS website and bring it to the ISS office for processing. The fee for I-94 Application for Replacement is $320.00.
What should I do with the I-94/I-94W from my last visit to the United States?
If you failed to turn inn your I-94 Departure Record, please send it, along with any documentation that proves you left the United States to:
DHA - CBP SBU
1084 South Laurel Road
London, KY 40744
Do not mail your Form I-94 Departure Record or supporting information to any U.S. Consulate or Embassy, to any other CBP Office in the United States, or to any address other than the one above. Only at this location are we able to make the necessary corrections to CBP records to prevent inconvenience to you in the future. The London, Kentucky office does not answer correspondence, so please do not ask for confirmation that your record has been updated.
To validate departure, CBP will consider a variety of information, including but not limited to:
- Original boarding passes you used to depart another country, such as Canada, if you flew home from there;
- Photocopies of entry or departure stamps in your passport indicating entry to another country after you departed the United States (you should copy all passport pages that are not completely blank, and include the biographical page containing your photograph.); and
- Photocopies of other supporting evidence, such as:
- Dated pay slips or vouchers from your employer to indicate you worked in another country after you departed the United States
- Dated bank records showing transactions to indicate you were in another country after you left the United States
- School records showing attendance at a school outside the United States to indicate you were in another country after you left the United States
- Dated credit card receipts, showing your name, but, the credit card number deleted, for purchases made after you left the United States to indicate you were in another country after leaving the United States
To assist us in understanding the situation and correct your records quckly, please include an explanation letter in English. Your statement will not be acceptable without supporting evidence suchas noted above. You must mail legible copies or original materials where possible. If you send original materials, you should retain a copy. CBP cannot return original materials after processing.
We strongly urge you to keep a copy of what you send to DHS-CBP and carry it with you the next time you come to the United States in case the CBP Officer has any questions about your eligibility to enter. Carrying those materials with you will also allow your record to be corrected at the time of entry if, for some reason, the London, Kentucky office has not yet done so.
If taking short trips (30 days or less) to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean Islands during the course of your visit to the U. S., hold onto your I-94 or I-94 (W); it should only be turned in when you leave the U.S. to return home.
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SEVIS I - 20
This is the document issued by a school through the Internet SEVIS system for presentation at a U.S. consulate abroad to apply for and F-1 Student visa. It must also be presented to an immigration official upon entry into the U.S. When traveling outside the U.S., those in F-1 status must carry either an initial or recertified I-20 and financial documentation if they intend to return to the U.S. to continue their studies or practical training. The I-20 and its corresponding electronic updates in SEVIS are a permanent record of one's activities as a student in the U.S. It is your responsibility to keep all I-20's issued to you throughout your student status, no matter how long you stay in the U.S. or how many times you travel abroad. The initial I-20 used when you enter the country and stamped by the DHS is a very important immigration document. Make a copy of both sides to keep with your records. If you were not issued an I-20, or if you lose it, please come to the International Student Services Office. Under most circumstances, we can provide you with a replacement form within five working days.
When I need a New I-20?
The International Student Services (ISS) will enter students into SEVIS when changes to their current I-20 need to be made. This would include:
- Change of major
- Change of level
- Program extension
- Work authorization
Your SEVIS I-20 cannot expire or you are out of status (check the program end date under #5.)
If you are not going to complete your program within the time stated on the I-20, come to the ISS office at least 3 months prior to expiration and request an extension. If you change your program of study, you must change your information on the MyBlue and have a new SEVIS I-20 issued from the ISS office.
Anytime you plan to exit and re-enter the U.S.,you need a current travel signature on page 3 of your SEVIS I-20. Travel signatures are valid for 5 months after the date issued. Only Designated Signing Officers (DSOs) can endorse an I-20 for reentry. Travel signatures need to be obtained from the Designated School Official (DSO) in Welch Hall in advance of your travel. DO NOT wait until the last week of the semester for an endorsement.
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For further assistance with the immigration process you can go to: