Your browser does not support JavaScript!
Navigation Navigation






Search Handshake for jobs, internships,
events and more!





Learning Commons, 1st Floor

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

to schedule an appointment!


Immigration FAQ Immigration FAQ

What is a non-immigrant? 

An individual that is not a citizen or national of the United States, who wishes to be admitted to the United States for a limited period for the specific purpose of study and plans to depart the United States after completing that purpose. 

What does F-1 mean? 

F-1 is a non-immigrant visa status.  F-1 status is for individuals coming to the U.S. to be full-time students. 

What is a Form I-20? 

The Form I-20 shows that a student has been admitted to a school or college in the United States as a student.  It is issued by the college you are authorized to attend and indicates how long you may remain in the U.S. to complete a program of study.  It also indicates your major field of study.  Students in valid F-1 status can remain in the U.S. until the completion of their program, plus a 60 days grace period. 

What is a visa? 

The visa is placed in your passport at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside the U.S.  A valid F-1 visa is required to enter the U.S. in F-1 status.  The expiration date of your visa does not affect how long you may stay in the U.S. 

What is a Form I-94? 

The Form I-94 is your official "Arrival/Departure Record."  Your Form I-94 is automated and available online at  Your Form I-94 indicates your immigration status (F-1) and the expiration date of your status.  Your expiration date is usually "D/S" which means "Duration of Status".  The notation refers to the date on which you are scheduled to complete your studies, or the end date on your Form I-20 (whichever is earlier). 

What is SEVIS? 

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a Department of Homeland Security internet based electronic system for international students and scholars.  Individuals seeking F-1 status are subject to a SEVIS fee which must be paid to the Department of Homeland Security before the U.S. Consulate/Embassy interview for the initial visa.   

What is a PDSO/DSO?

Staff at your host university who have been authorized by SEVP to maintain SEVIS records and issue I-20 Forms.  Both Primary Designated School Official (PDSO) and Designated School Official (DSO) can sign immigration documents and update SEVIS records.

What is USCIS? 

USCIS is United State Citizenship and Immigration Services, one of the branches of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

What does it mean if my Form I-20 expires? 

While there are several important sections of the Form I-20, one of the more significant parts of this form is the Program End Date listed in the Program of Study box.  This part of the form indicates when the form expires.  If you will not finish your program before the specific end date, you must meet with the Director of International Students prior to the end date to discuss how to apply for an extension.  If you come after your Form I-20 has expired, you will be out of status and ineligible for an extension of stay.