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International Center

Important Immigration Terminology

  • SEVIS: The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the web-based system that facilitates timely reporting and monitoring of nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors. SEVIS is used to generate your Form I-20. Your SEVIS record must accurately reflect your current information at all times.
  • SEVP: The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) acts as a bridge for government organizations that use SEVIS to monitor and collect information about nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors, as well as their dependents.
  • DSO: The Designated School Official (DSO) is the person authorized to create and maintain F-1 students SEVIS records. The DSO is usually your International Student Advisor.
  • Passport: Travel document issued by your government indicating your identity and citizenship. The U.S. government requires that your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you enter or re-enter the U.S. If your country appears in the Passport Agreement List, you are allowed to enter the U.S. on your current passport up to the actual date of expiration. Your passport should always remain valid while you are in the U.S. Only your government can renew or extend your passport and it usually takes several weeks for a passport to be renewed, so be sure to allow enough time. Contact your country's embassy or consulate in the U.S. for information.
  • Form I-20: "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status" is the document issued for a degree-seeking student to request an F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
  • F-1 Visa: The stamp in your passport issued by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that allows you to enter the U.S. in F-1 status. It is not required that your visa be valid while you are in the U.S. It is only when traveling outside the U.S. that you must have a valid visa for re-entry. An F-1 visa can only be obtained at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
  • I-94: The Arrival and Departure Record, in either paper or electronic format, issued by a CBP Officer when entering the United States. The I-94 indicates that you have been legally admitted to the U.S. in a specific immigration status and for a specific length of time. F-1 students are usually admitted to the U.S. for the duration of status (D/S).
  • D/S: Duration of status (D/S) is recorded in your I-94 and admission stamp in your passport when entering the U.S. D/S indicates that you are authorized to remain in the U.S. until completion of your program, plus your grace period, if you have maintained lawful status.
  • F-1 Status: Nonimmigrant visa status for students eligible to enroll in academic programs in the U.S. at colleges or universities awarding bachelor's, master's, doctorate or professional degrees.
  • F-2 Status: Nonimmigrant visa status required for dependents (spouse or minor children) of F-1 visa holders to enter the U.S.
  • Dependent: A student's spouse and/or minor child (who is unmarried and under 21 years old). Dependents may accompany an F-1 student to the U.S. or join them while they study.