Expiration Date of Entry Visa
The validity period shown in a non-immigrant visa relates only to the period during which it may be used in making application for admission into the United States; it does not indicate the length of time one may spend in the United States. Some visas are valid for several years, others are valid only for a few months or weeks. The visa in your passport allows you to enter the United States and may expire after your arrival in the country. Once you have entered the United States to begin your studies, you will be concerned with this particular expiration date only when you expect to travel outside the U.S. If you wish to re-enter the country and your visa has expired, you must apply for a new entry visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad (except when traveling to Canada. See note about Travel to Canada). You must consult with the Director of International Student Programs before traveling outside of the United States (see Travel Abroad).
D/S: Duration of Status notation
The F-1 or J-1 student is admitted to the United States for "duration of status," noted as "D/S" on both Form I-94 and Form I-20 or DS-2019. Duration of status means the period during which the student is pursuing a full course of study in any educational program (e.g., BA) and any periods of authorized practical training, plus sixty days (F-1) or 30 days (J-1) within which to depart from the U.S. or apply for a change of status. The Form I-94 should be kept in the student's passport at all times, since it indicates the purpose of admission and the length of time for which his or her stay is authorized. Students should also always have with them their Form I-20 ID or DS-2019, particularly when they travel, even within the United States, since this is their personal identification and carries their computerized SEVIS# and barcode. A non-immigrant who remains in the U.S. beyond the period for which he/she has been granted permission to stay may become subject to deportation. The form I-94 will be taken by airline personnel when the student leaves the U.S. (except for travel to Canada, Mexico, & the Caribbean). The student will complete a new I-94 card upon reentry to the U.S.
Extension of Stay
All international students should pay attention to their approved length of stay in the U.S. The length of authorized stay for F-1 and J-1 individuals is indicated on the Form I-94 as D/S (duration of status), and refers to item 5 on the I-20 and to item 3 on the DS-2019. People who need additional time to complete their degree requirements must consult with the Director of International Student Programs at least 30 days prior to the expiration of their authorized length of stay. The completion date on forms I-20 and DS-2019 might differ by a few weeks from the actual end date of the study program (last day of final exams), please be advised that the actual end date is the legal date.
Transferring Schools within the U.S
Transfer Students in F-1 Status Attending Carleton College
The student musty first notify his or her current school of intent to transfer and must indicate the school to which he or she intends to transfer. Transferring students must let the Director of ISP know as soon as possible of their intent. Upon notification by the student, the current school will update the student's record in the SEVIS as a 'transfer out' and indicate the school to which the student intends to transfer, and a release date. The student is required to contact the Designated School Official (DSO) of the transfer school within 15 days of the program start date.
Transfer Students in J-1 Status Attending Carleton College
In general, an exchange visitor may transfer from one program sponsor to Carleton College sponsorship if the purpose of the transfer is to complete the objective for which the J-1 student was admitted into the United States. The original sponsor must be in agreement with the transfer.
J-1 students must inform the Director of International Student Programs of their plans at least 60 days prior to transfer.
Maintaining Proper Immigration Status
Forms I-20 and DS-2019 indicate the type of status, length of authorized stay, and name of the authorized institution or school, which the student will attend. Students are required to maintain lawful immigration status at all times. It is the student's responsibility to keep track of immigration matters. In order to maintain proper immigration status, F-1 or J-1 students must:
- Register for a full-time course load every semester. Failure to register for a full-time complement of courses is an automatic breach of lawful status.
- F-1 and J-1 students may not study part-time.
- Remain at Carleton College for the complete duration of the program of study (Bachelor of Arts). Students wishing to transfer to another institution before completion of this course of study will need to receive proper authorization from both Carleton College and the transfer institution.
- Not perform any unauthorized employment, either on or off-campus, while in F-1 or J-1 status.
- Apply for an "Extension of Stay" if studies will take longer than the prescribed duration of status, well in advance of the completion date on Form I-20 or DS-2019.
"Out of Status"
Failure to comply with immigration regulations will retroactively place you "out of status" and in violation of U.S. immigration laws. Students who fall out of status must apply for reinstatement and will likely be asked to leave the country and re-enter with new documentation. They also may be barred from re-entry for a period of three years or longer if an immigration judge or the service finds them in violation.
If an international student has not maintained lawful immigration status, s/he may face difficulties with and possible legal action from the ICE. Some immigration problems can be resolved simply; others can be complicated and require months of effort by many offices to resolve.
It is imperative that F-1 and J-1 students contact the Director of International Student Programs immediately if there appear to be any problems related to the student's immigration status.
In some instances the student may be required to exit and re-enter the United States in order to rectify a problem related to lawful status. Sometimes students have problems which are complicated enough to require the services of an immigration attorney. Students are urged to consult the Director of International Student Programs before contacting an immigration lawyer, lest they be required to pay for expensive legal services unnecessarily.
Travel Outside the United States
Whenever a student plans to leave the U.S., s/he must consult with the Director of International Student Programs and either obtain new documents or have the current ones endorsed (signed) for travel at least two weeks before the travel date.
Students wishing to travel outside the United States during winter break should therefore seek endorsement before Winter Break. Without these endorsed and signed (Director of International Student Programs) documents, a student may not be allowed to return to the United States.
Students should also remember that for re-entry they must have a valid visa, a passport valid for at least six months and proof of financial support from the school, their family, or both.
Similarly, in order to maintain student status, the student's passport must be kept valid at all times for at least six months (which means an application for passport extension must be filed with the Embassy of the student's home country at least six months before the expiration date).
Proper Documents for Travel: F-1 & J-1
- Valid passport
- Valid F-1 entry visa affixed in the passport
- Complete Form I-20 or DS-2019 signed by the Director of International Student Programs (signature must be less than 6 months old at date of re-entry)
- Evidence of financial support
If the F-1 entry visa stamped in your passport has expired, then you must visit a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad and obtain a new entry visa before your return to the U.S. YOU CANNOT OBTAIN A NEW ENTRY VISA WITHIN THE U.S. When you arrive at the port of entry to the United States, present your travel documents for inspection. The immigration inspector will staple a new Form I-94 into your passport, noting your original admission number from your Form I-20 and your SEVIS number.
Travel to and from Canada, Mexico and Neighboring Islands
Travel to Canada is handled a bit differently than travel to other countries. Airline officials do not take the passenger's I-94 card before departure from the U.S. (as is done for departure to other countries.) but you must have the I-94 with you. In fact, you cannot enter Canada from the U.S. without a valid I-94 card and I-20 or DS-2019. Students from certain countries will need a Canadian entry visa to enter Canada and should check with the Canadian Embassy in Washington before traveling to Canada. (www.embassy.org)
If you are taking a trip of fewer than 30 days to Canada, Mexico, or neighboring islands (Bermuda, Bahamas, and all Caribbean islands except Cuba), you may reenter the U.S. even if the F-1 or J-1 Entry Visa in your passport has expired. Please check with the Director of International Student Programs before departure.
Special Registration is a system that lets the U.S. government keep track of non-immigrants that come to the U.S. every year. Some of the approximately 35 million non-immigrants will be required to register with immigration authorities either at a port of entry or a designated immigration office in accordance with special registration procedures such as personal interviews and fingerprinting.
Males between the ages of 16 and 45 from the following countries may be affected by special registration: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria. But anyone can be required to "special register" by the Port of Entry official.
Special registrants also have to register their departure from the U.S. Anyone who fails to do so may be denied reentry into the U.S. There are also specially designated "ports of departure & entry." Please consult the Associate Director of the Office of Intercultural & International Life if you are leaving the U.S.
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