Important Immigration Terms

DHS: Department of Homeland Security is the U.S. government agency responsible for all regulations related to immigration.

DS-2019: The DS-2019 is given to exchange students, scholars, faculty, and short-term visitors. This form is used to obtain a J-1 visa and to enter the U.S. The DS-2019 form must be endorsed by CIE in order to leave and re-enter the U.S.

I-20: This form is used to obtain an F-1 visa, to enter the United States (for F-1 students and F-2 spouses), to transfer to another school, and to document any benefits you may recieve, such as practical training.

It is important that you keep all of the I-20s that are issued to you as an F-1 student.

Page 3 of your I-20 must be endorsed by staff in CIE every 12 months in order to re-enter the U.S. Please bring the I-20 to CIE at least 3 days before your departure.

I-94: The little white card issued at the time you enter the U.S. is an I-94. It is your arrival/departure record and it indicates the length of time you are permitted to stay in the U.S., your visa type, and personal information.

When you enter, D/S or "Duration of Status" should be written on your I-94. D/S means that you can remain in the U.S. as long as you are enrolled in a full course of study (12 hours for undergraduate, 9 hours for graduate students) in an educational program, plus any periods of authorized practical training, plus a 60 day grace period.

You should turn your I-94 in whenever you leave the U.S. You will recieve a new one when you re-enter.

SEVIS: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, which is an Internet-based system that provides tracking and monitoring capabilities for nonimmigrants on F-1 & J-1 visas.

SEVIS requires schools and program sponsors to transmit electronic information and event notifications, via the Internet, to the DHS and DoS throughout a student's or exchange visitor's stay in the United States.

Visa: The visa stamp in your passport is used only for entry to the U.S. It gives your visa category (F-1, J-1, B-2, etc.), the visa expiration date, the date the visa was issued, the visa number, and the number of entries permitted during the visa's period of validity. You must have a valid visa to enter the U.S.

If your visa expires while you are in the U.S. you may still legally remain in the U.S. However, if you leave, under most circumstances, you must have an unexpired visa to re-enter.

USCIS: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in the U.S. government agency that is reponsible for all student immigration regulations.