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students riding the HRT train


Form I-20

One type of "Certificate of Visa Eligibility" or "Visa Certificate". Form I-20 is issued to students who have been admitted to study at NSU, need a student visa to enter the United States, and has documented their ability to finance their education. This computer-generated document is required to obtain an F-1 student visa and is necessary for entry and re-entry to the U.S. Keep all copies of this important document with your passport, and make certain that all information contained on the form is kept up-to-date.

Form DS-2019

Another type of "Certificate of Visa Eligibility" or "Visa Certificate" needed for exchange visitors to obtain a "J" visa. This document is issued by the program sponsor, which may be a university, government agency, or other organization sponsoring the visit. It is computer-generated through SEVIS.

I-94 Form: 

This form is your record of legal entry into the United States. The form notes your name, date of birth, citizenship, and the date and port of arrival. The form is also a record of your arrivals and departures.  The I-94 form can be retrieved from the U.S. Customs and Borders Protection website: click on Get Most Recent I-94.  You will need your passport to complete the information.  Each time you leave the United States and reenter, you will need to print a copy of the I-94 form and submit it to the office and be sure to retain a copy for your records.


The acronym for "Duration of Status". This term refers to the time period during which you may remain in the U.S. As long as you are maintaining status as an F-1 student, D/S is equal to the completion date of your current program, plus 60 days grace period in which to leave the country/ transfer schools, or your completion date plus 12 months for Optional Practical Training, plus 60 days grace period.


The acronym for "Student and Exchange Visitor Information System". This is the data collection and monitoring system that creates an interface between institutions of higher education and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), consulates and embassies abroad, and ports of entry. Schools are required to make regular electronic updates in SEVIS throughout the semester on the records of their enrolled students in F-1 and J-1 status. This includes, but is not limited to enrollment status, changes in address, changes in level of study, employment recommendations, and school transfers.


The acronym for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. This branch of the DHS (Department of Homeland Services) is responsible for most of the application and petition adjudications formerly done by the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service).


PDSO is the acronym for "Primary Designated School Official". DSO stands for "Designated School Official", and "ISA" is the "International Student Advisor". At NSU, the PDSO is the intermediary between F-1 and J-1 students and the USCIS, and the immigration official on campus. The ISA provides students with immigration services. The DSO is also an immigration official; however access to SEVIS by these individuals is limited.


Immigration regulations state that you are responsible for keeping your passport valid at all times during your stay in the U.S. Your passport can be revalidated or renewed through your home country embassy or consulate.


The visa is a stamped endorsement made in the passport by an American consular or embassy official outside the U.S. It indicates that all requirements have been met for entry into the U.S. The number of entries allowed within a specified period is indicated on the visa stamp and can vary from country to country. A valid visa is essential for entering and re-entering the U.S. except for Canadian citizens, who do not require a visa