Definition of Documents
Passport - Your passport is permission from your home country to travel abroad.
- Visa - The visa is permission to apply at a port of entry for permission to enter the U.S. It does not give you permission to enter and must be valid, if required at all, only to the day you enter the U.S. There is no effect on your legal status if your visa expires while you are in the U.S., and F1 visas are neither issued nor extended in the U.S. Do not worry if your visa expires. A valid visa is very important if you wish to leave the U.S. and re-enter, however. You should always meet with the International Student Advisor before engaging in such travel.
- I-94 - Arrival/Departure record - It is usually stapled right on to your passport and it is your most important document. It is your permission to enter and remain in the U.S., issued at the port of entry or border crossing. Do not lose it. You will note that it gives F1 students permission to remain in the U.S. for "D/S." This means that you may remain for Duration of Status of or as long as you continue to engage in full-time study or in authorized practical training of or as long as you continue to obey the basic rules.
- I-20 - Your I-20 is necessary to obtain an F1 visa or to enter or re-enter the U.S. in F1 status. It is also used as proof of continuing studies during brief travel periods. To travel you must have page three signed by the International Student Advisor in order to re-enter the U.S. This signature is good for one year from issue date, so be sure and check BEFORE leaving the U.S. to make sure it is valid.