Oklahoma Panhandle State University
All International students and scholars should be aware of the immigration regulations applicable to their stay in the U.S. and must keep all documents appropriately updated and valid. The ultimate responsibility for maintaining your immigration status falls on YOU. Therefore, you should be familiar with the following documents:
- Passport: The passport is the legal document issued by your country that indicates your identity and country of citizenship. Your passport must be valid at all times while in the U.S. The passport can usually be renewed through your nearest Embassy or Consulate in the U.S.
- Visa: The U.S. visa is the stamp or computer label in passport obtained from a United States Embassy or
Consulate giving you permission to enter the United States. The visa stamp that a nonimmigrant used to enter
the U.S. can expire while the nonimmigrant is inside the U.S., with no negative effect on the person's
nonimmigrant status. However, if a person wishes to exit and re-enter the U.S., the visa must be valid for
the re-entry. If the visa has expired since the last time the person applied for admission to the U.S., the
individual must obtain a new visa at a U.S. consular office before re-entering.
To extend or renew your visa, contact your country's consulate or embassy for directions. For the addresses and phone numbers of consulates and embassies, go to: http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html (click on Locate an American Embassy). The easiest way to renew your visa is to go to Mexico or Canada.
- I-20: Certificate of Eligibility is used to present to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad to obtain an F-1 visa and is shown to the port of entry each time you travel abroad and return. If you plan on traveling outside the U.S., you must have this document signed prior to your travel. The official’s signature on your I-20 is only valid for one year, so check the date of the signature on your I-20 before leaving the country. This document is important for your stay in the United States. Do not lose it or throw it away, even if it has expired.
- I-94: Departure Record: Arrival/departure form is issued to all nonimmigrants upon arrival in the United States. The form is surrendered upon departure. This document authorizes you to be in the U.S. as a student or scholar for a specified time. Two dates appear on the I-94, the date of entrance into the U.S. and the date of expiration of your stay.
- I-539: Immigration form used by a nonimmigrant to apply for a change to another nonimmigrant status, and for an F-1 student to apply for reinstatement.
- I-515: Immigration form used to notify a student or exchange visitor admitted to the U.S. without an I-20 or a DS-2019. The student must submit an I-20 or DS-2019 to BCIS within 30 days after entry to the U.S. See the International Coordinator if you have been issued an I-515.Please avoid getting issued this form. Simply remember to keep your I-20 and other immigration documents with you when traveling.
- I-765: Immigration form used when applying for off-campus employment such as Optional Practical Training and Severe Economic Hardship.
- EAD: (Employment Authorization Document) A card issued by BCIS containing your photograph and dates of allowable employment.
- SEVIS: Student Exchange Visitor Information System is the BCIS tracking system for all students with an F, M, & J status.
Note: BCIS forms usually have identification numbers (i.e.: I-765) in the lower-left corner of the page.Do not destroy or discard any immigration forms that have been issued to you.