Immigration Documents

Passport

Your passport is your international identification. It has your personal information on the first or last page. Your passport must be valid at least 6 months into the future at all times. To renew, contact your embassy in the US for instructions. You may be delayed when reentering your home country if your passport is expired.

Form I-20

The I-20 certifies that you are eligible to study at Xavier University and that you have shown the financial ability to pay tuition, fees, and basic living costs while pursuing your education.  This is the document that states that you are eligible to study in the U.S. When you receive your Form I-20, sign the bottom of the first page. You will take your I-20 document to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate to apply for your F-1 student visa.

When you enter the U.S., your Form I-20 will be stamped with your port of entry, date of entry, class, and D/S (see I-94 card for detailed information). The immigration office may write your visa issuing port and the date your visa was issued on your I-20.

Your Form I-20 must always be valid and show correct information including your current major at Xavier and your current financial support information. You must keep all I-20s you are issued from all schools you attend for your records (even after you graduate), as you may need them in the future.

I-94 Card

You will receive your I-94 card at the port of entry. The I-94 card is the white card in your passport and is your permit to stay in the U.S.  Do not lose this card!   It indicates how long you are allowed to stay in the U.S., what your visa status is, and your admission number.  An I-94 card for an F-1student should say D/S (Duration of Status) instead of an expiration date.  If you look at your I-94 card and find a date listed, bring it to the Center for International Education immediately.

Most immigration officers will staple the I-94 card into your passport, but in case they do not do so, keep your I-94 card in a very safe place. It is very expensive to replace!

F-1 Visa

Your U.S. F-1 visa in your passport is your approval to enter the US and attain F-1 student status while here. The visa may either be for single, double, or multiple entries.

The visa expiration date is the date when your visa is no longer valid. If your visa expires while you are still in the U.S., you may remain in the U.S., as long as: (1) your I-94 card indicates D/S (duration of status), (2) you remain in the U.S., and (3) you are maintaining your legal status (see below).

However, if your visa has expired and you depart the U.S., you will be required to obtain a new visa before re-entering the U.S. There are a few exceptions to this rule, so contact your International Student Advisor in advance if you have visa related travel questions. It is not possible to renew an F-1 visa in the U.S.

F-2 Visa

Accompanying dependents (spouse and children) of F-1 students are issued F-2 visas. For more information about F-2 immigration regulations or if you would like to bring a dependent to the United States please contact your International Student Adviser.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a national database that allows the United States government to track and monitor various events during your program of study. Xavier University is required to provide information through SEVIS, such as the local address, enrollment status (enrolled or not enrolled), and dates of study for students in F-1 and J-1 status.

Duration of Status (D/S)

D/S allows an F-1 student who is pursuing a full course of study to complete any educational level, series of educational programs, and any authorized practical training.  Upon completion of studies or training, the student has 60 more days to leave the U.S., apply for a change of status, transfer to another institution, or change education level.  Students who stop their studies before they are completed and have prior approval from their Designated School Official (DSO) may have 15 days to leave the U.S.  Students who stop their studies before completion and do not receive prior approval from their DSO or students who fail to maintain their legal status must leave the U.S. immediately.

Designated School Official (DSO)

The individual who has been authorized by the Department of Homeland Security to process immigration paperwork related to F-1 students.  DSO's are the only individuals who may sign I-20s and should be contacted when an F-1 student has questions related to immigration.  The DSO's at Xavier University are Jane Conzett, Lea Minniti and Anja Abney.