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Visa Information and Regulations

Emporia State University issues student visas (F) and Exchange Visitor visas (J) for international scholar wishing to pursue academic work in the U.S. It contains information for both types of visas.


Nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors are subject to the SEVIS fee. Applicants who require a visa to enter the United States must pay the SEVIS fee before going to the U.S. embassy or consulate for their visa interviews.

For more information about the U.S. immigration systems and how to pay for the SEVIS fee, click here.


Immigrations Documents and Definition


A nonimmigrant is any alien whose reason for coming to the United States involves a temporary stay that will end when its purpose has been accomplished. Nonimmigrant visas are issued in accordance with provisions of Section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. Most students receive F-1 visas and enter the U.S. in F-1 status to pursue a full course of study in an academic institution or to engage in language training.

Immigration Documents

Much confusion exists over certain basic concepts and processes of immigration. The visa and the arrival-departure card (I-94) have meaning and importance.



A visa to enter the U.S. as a nonimmigrant is a stamped entry on a page of the passport. It enables the passport's bearer to request the immigration officer at the port of entry to grant him admission to the U.S. under conditions specified for the type of visa the bearer holds.

This document does not guarantee entry since the alien must pass through inspection and show that he/she still qualifies within the status prescribed by the visa. Visa stamps cannot be obtained within the United States. Application for a new stamp must be made in person at a United States consulate or embassy outside the United States. The validity period of your visa stamp does not determine the length of time you may remain in the United States after you enter. Once entry is made, the visa is no longer of importance. How long the person remains in the United States is determined by the inspecting officer at the point of entry and is endorsed on the arrival-departure card.

There is very often confusion between the term "visa," which gives a person permission to apply for entry to the U.S. , and the terms "Arrival-Departure Record," "I-94," or "permission to stay." The latter term refers to a person's permission to stay and it must be kept valid.

Confusion also surrounds the term "visa" and "status." The "visa" is stamped in the alien's passport and is used for entering the U.S. ; the alien is said to be in a particular immigration "status" once in the U.S. But the type of visa stamped in the passport may not be the same as the status in which the alien is in the U.S. An alien may enter the country with one type of visa (e.g., B-2 visitor) and subsequently have his "status" changed to another one, such as F-1 student. This change will be noted on the Form I-94 of the alien, who will then be in "F-1 status" even though the visa stamped in his/her passport is a B-2 visa. He /she will have one type of visa and a different type of status.


Arrival-Departure Document (I-94)

This document contains basic biographical information about the alien along with the symbol of the status in which entry was allowed and the date to which such status was granted. 

This document is extremely important for anyone who must make a judgment on the credentials of the alien. The eleven digit number in the upper left corner is called the Admission number.

When you need to apply for any employment, you will need to print the I-94 from


Immigration Forms

Form I-20 - Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 Student Status

This is the form used for obtaining an F-1 visa, entering the U.S., transferring schools and informing the immigration office when you change programs or proceed to a higher degree. As an international student, you should be in possession of your I-20 at all times. This document is necessary to travel in and out of the U.S. while you are attending ESU. Form I-20 is a permanent record of your status. Before you leave the U.S. for temporary visits, you must have the I-20 endorsed by an official in the OIE. Keep this form in your passport. DO NOT surrender it when you leave the U.S.

Form DS-2019 - Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor-J-1 Status

Students with J-1 visa status receive and use Form DS-2019. This form is a legal document and all of the information stated supplies official knowledge on a student's J-1 Status. The use of DS-2019 for other purposes than those mentioned below is illegal.

Specific Uses of Forms I-20 and DS-2019

  1. To apply for a U.S. entry visa at a consular office abroad.
  2. To allow a student to return to the U.S. after a trip abroad. Most international students will receive D/S for "duration of status" on their I-94's instead of an actual date. This means that they are allowed to stay as long as they remain in status.
  3. To enable a student to transfer schools and to transfer to another exchange visitor program.
  4. To enable family members to travel separately.
  5. To enable a student to apply for Practical Training after completion of an academic degree.


Important USCIS Forms

Form I-539

Application to extend visitor visa, for change of status, and for reinstatement. $370 USCIS fee.

Form I-539 Supplement A

Form I-134

Affidavit of support. No fee.

Form I-765

Application for Employment Authorization. $410 USCIS fee.
All of the forms mentioned above are available in the Office of International Education.


U.S. Visa Information and Regulations

Staying legal as F-1 student

OIE = Office of International Education
= Designated School Official
SEVIS = Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
USCIS = United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly INS/BCIS)

Basic Rules for F-1 student:

  1. Attend the school you are authorized to attend. On your initial entry to U.S. the school noted on the visa and the I-20 must be the same, and that is the school you must attend.
  2. If you are required to go through "Special Registration", comply with all rules associated with Special Registration.
  3. Keep your passport and I-20 valid at all times.
  4. Be enrolled in a full course of study (generally 12 credit hours undergrad/9 credit hours grad) by the 10th day of classes every semester. Then maintain and complete a full course of study each semester, with the exception of summer. Summer enrollment is optional unless it is your initial or final term.
  5. Limit enrollment in distance education or on-line courses to no more than 3 credit hours per semester if the hours are to be applied toward full course of study requirements.
  6. Obtain approval from an OIE DSO prior to enrolling in ESU classes if enrolling less than full time when it is your final term. An email from your academic advisor will be needed.
  7. Obtain approval from an OIE DSO prior to withdrawing from a course that places you below full time for an allowable academic or medical reason.
  8. If withdrawing from ESU and leaving U.S., notify an OIE DSO prior to withdrawing to obtain a 15-day grace period for departure.
  9. When transferring to another institution (even between degree levels), contact an OIE DSO within 60 days after completing your ESU program to establish a SEVIS release date to the new school. Upon receipt of the new school's I-20, sign the Student Certification section and report to a DSO at the new school within 15 days of the I-20 report date.
  10. Report any change of name or address within 10 days of the change to the OIE. If subject to Special Registration, also notify USCIS within 10 days of the change on Form AR-11SR (
  11. Never work more than 20 hours per week on campus except during summer or periods when school is not in session.
  12. Never work off-campus or after completion of your academic program without obtaining prior authorization from an OIE DSO or USCIS .
  13. Have your I-20 signed by an OIE DSO (or request a new I-20 if there has been a substantive change) before traveling out of the U.S. if you plan to return to continue your program at ESU.
  14. Obtain a new I-20 to reenter U.S. any time you will be out of the country for an entire semester or more than five consecutive months. You will need to pay the I-901 fee again for the new I-20.
  15. Obtain a program extension from an OIE DSO prior to the expiration date of the SEVIS I-20 if you will not complete your program by that date. An email from your academic advisor will be needed.
  16. During post-completion optional practical training, report any change of name or address or early termination of employment (if other employment will not be sought) within 10 days of the occurrence to an OIE DSO .
  17. Keep all of your old original I-20s for your records.

There are almost always exceptions to these rules. See an international student advisor ( DSO ) in OIE if you have ANY questions BEFORE you do something different.

REMEMBER: It is always easier to stay in status than to get back in status!

Notes regarding F-2 dependents:


Staying legal as J-1 student

RO = Responsible Officer

ARO = Alternate Responsible Officer

SEVIS = Student and Exchange Visitor Information System

Sponsor = Your program sponsor is listed in section 2 of your DS-2019

Basic Rules for J-1 students:

  1. If you are required to go through "Special Registration," comply with all rules associated with Special Registration.
  2. Keep your passport and DS-2019 valid at all times.
  3. Carry health insurance throughout your entire J-1 program for yourself and any J-2 dependents.
  4. Only engage in the program as described in section 4 of your DS-2019.
  5. Enroll at the school (as indicated on your DS-2019) within 30 days of the report date on the DS-2019 (section 3) and within 20 days of the start of classes every semester thereafter.
  6. Maintain and complete a full course of study each academic term except during official school breaks and annual vacations.
  7. Before withdrawing from a course, or under enrolling for an allowable reason such as a medical problem or final term of a degree, obtain approval from your RO/ARO.
  8. Get a new DS-2019 within 10 day of any change in name, degree level, or program sponsor.
  9. When changing program sponsors (even between degree levels) be certain the old program sponsor enters the program number of the new sponsor and a release date in SEVIS before your current stay expires. Upon receipt of the new sponsor's SEVIS DS-2019, sign the Exchange Visitor Certification and report to the new sponsor within 30 days of the new report date.
  10. Report any change of name or address to your program sponsor, OIE and the registrar's office within 10 days of the change. If subject to Special Registration, also notify USCIS (formerly INS/BCIS) within 10 days of the change on Form AR-11SR (
  11. Never work (on or off campus) without prior written approval from the RO/ARO designated by your program sponsor.
  12. Don't work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session, if granted employment authorization for on-campus and/or severe economic hardship.
  13. Have your DS-2019 signed by the RO/ARO designated by your program sponsor before you travel out of the U.S. if you plan to return to the same program.
  14. You must have a valid SEVIS DS-2019 if you are applying for a new visa.
  15. Do not spend an entire semester out of the U.S. without obtaining a new DS-2019 to present at the port-of-entry when re-entering the U.S.
  16. Don't let your DS-2019 expire.
  17. During Academic Training, report any change of name or address within 10 days of the occurrence to your program sponsor.

There are almost always exceptions to these rules. Consult an international student advisor or your program sponsor if you have ANY questions BEFORE you do something different.


Important information for J-1 students:

Health Insurance

Health and accident insurance is REQUIRED by federal law for all J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents during the period of time that an exchange visitor participates in his/her program. An exchange visitor who willfully fails to maintain the insurance coverage shall be subject to termination from the Exchange Visitor program.

Two-Year Residency Requirement

Some J-1 students are subject to this requirement and some are not. Students receiving direct funding from the U.S. government or their home government will be subject. There is also a Skills List, established between the U.S. government and the individual student's home government. Students studying a skill on the list for their country will be subject to the requirement. Those individuals who are subject must return home for two years before they can apply for permanent residence, an H visa or an L visa. If subject to the two years, exchange visitors cannot apply for any type of change of status from within the U.S. Waivers of this requirement are few, difficult and time-consuming. If the J-1 is subject to the two years, all J-2 dependents are subject as well. For further information about the waiver process, refer to the U.S. Department of State's website:


Full course of Study Requirement

For degree-seeking students: J-1 students must pursue a full course of study each fall and spring semester. There are a FEW exceptions, such as for a medical problem or a student's final term. In these circumstances, the student must first get approval from the RO/ARO* designated by the program sponsor.

For non-degree-seeking students: The student is required to be engaged full time in a prescribed course of study not to exceed 24 months.

Change of Majors

Generally speaking, deviation from one's program objective (item #4 on the initial DS-2019) is not allowed. The major can generally only be changed, if it is CLOSELY related. For example, changing from Pre-Business to Business is acceptable. A student can change program levels as long as the student continues to study in the same field.


J-2 dependents can take classes that are avocational or recreational. They cannot study full time unless the J-2 is a child in elementary or secondary school. J-2s can request employment authorization through USCIS (formerly INS/BCIS). Any change in address or name of a J-2 dependent requires notification to the ARO/RO designated by the program sponsor.

Program Extension

Students can request an extension from the RO/ARO* designated by their program sponsor if they need extra time to complete their original program objective. Extensions cannot be granted if a recommendation for a waiver of the two year home residency requirement has been received from the U.S. Dept. of State.

Degree-seeking students: must pursue a full course of study and maintain satisfactory advancement towards the completion of their academic program to request an extension.

Non-degree-seeking students: must be participating full time in a prescribed course of study and be maintaining satisfactory advancement towards the completion of their academic program to request an extension.



All work authorization must be received in writing from RO/ARO* designated by the program sponsor (#2 on the DS-2019) prior to employment. Students may apply to work part-time (20 hours a week or less) if one of the following three types of employment applies:

  1. It is pursuant to the terms of a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship.
  2. It occurs on campus
  3. It occurs off campus because of a serious, urgent and unforeseen economic circumstance

The student must be in good academic standing (ESU requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0). The student must continue to engage in a full course of study. Employment can be more than 20 hours per week when school is not in session. The approval may be valid up to 12 months, but it is automatically withdrawn if the student's program is terminated.


Academic Training

Students are eligible to apply for employment authorization (academic training) that is directly related to their major during or after the completion of their studies through the RO/ARO* designated by their program sponsor. Most degree-seeking students are eligible for 18 months of academic training. Full eligibility details are available through your program sponsor.

Duration of Status

All J-1 students should be admitted to the United States for "duration of status" - meaning they don't have a specific departure date on their I-94, but rather "D/S". This means they may stay in the U.S. as long as they are maintaining their J-1 student status. In addition, J-1 students have a 30-day period after the completion of their program to prepare to depart the U.S. Students cannot work during this 30-day period.

Early Departures

Any time the exchange visitor completes the program more than 30 days prior to the completion date on the IAP-66/DS-2019, the program sponsor must be notified.


Employment in the U.S.

Permission for On-Campus Employment

In order for an international student to be eligible for on-campus employment, he/she must:

Work permits will be authorized in one semester increments to those students who have submitted the required documents and who also meet the criteria of maintaining status (carrying a full course load) and maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.0 (graduate students must have 3.0).

Any work permit issued at the beginning of a semester is subject to review and denial at any such time as the student is no longer enrolled in a full-course of study or maintaining a satisfactory GPA.

It is the responsibility of the individual students to renew their work permits at the beginning of each semester.

Permission for Off-Campus Employment

Off-campus work permission is difficult to get. F-1 students must make application through the Office of International Education (OIE) and must prove unforeseen, severe economic hardship. J-1's can receive work authorization through the sponsor. An F-1 student needs to have been in "F-1 status 1 full academic year" (2 semesters) .


Come to the Office of International Education (OIE) with your passport and Form I-20 student copy. Complete Form I-765. The address on Form I-765 must be your current residence address, not a Post Office Box or the address of OIE. Pay the $175 fee.

You may accept employment only when you have received Employment Authorization Document endorsed by USCIS to show that you have permission to work.


Permission to work allows you to work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during vacation periods. Your permission to work expires on the date specified on your Employment Authorization Document, when your need to work ends, or when you transfer to a new school, whichever is earlier. F-2 dependents may not work (there are no exceptions).

Under extraordinary circumstances, J-2 dependents may request permission for work authorization from the sponsor. Make an appointment with the Assistant Vice President of OIE. Bring passports and I-94 of yourself and your spouse.

If you have not received a decision from USCIS about your employment authorization within 90 days, see Applying for an Interim EAD at the Kansas City District Office below.


Practical Training for F-1 Students

What is practical training?

A student with F-1 visa status is eligible for a limited period of employment in the United States doing work related to his/her field of study.

In all cases, in order to be eligible a student must have been full-time and in F-1 status for at least 9 consecutive months prior to undertaking practical training.

How long can a student work on Practical Training?

Generally a student is eligible for up to 12 months of Practical Training for each consecutive degree at a higher educational level (first 12 months for a bachelor's degree, next 12 months for a master's degree, and another 12 months for a Ph.D.) Any period of part-time optional practical training (20 hours per week or less) will be deducted from the total available optional practical training at one half the full-time rate.

Curricular Practical Training may be either part time or full time. If Curricular Practical Training is full time with no concurrent course work, each month of such training counts as one month toward the maximum 12 months of training.

Practical Training will end either 12 months after the exact date employment began or 14 months after completion of studies, whichever is earlier. If a student does not find employment within the 12 month period, no further Training time is allowed.

How to apply for Practical Training?

1. Curricular Practical Training - CPT [8CFR214.2(f)(10)(i)]

Refers to coop programs, internships, and other employment, engaged in prior to graduation. This training must be an integral part of student's curriculum. It must be a part of the academic program required of all students or an activity for which the student is receiving academic credit. The Designated School Official at the OIE will authorize practical training upon verification by an academic department that the training is part of the degree curriculum or that the student is receiving academic credit for the experience.

Curricular practical training is available to F-1 students who have been enrolled in a full-time basis for nine consecutive months. An exception to the nine-month enrollment requirement can be made when a student is in a graduate program that requires immediate participation in curricular practical training. Students in English language programs are not eligible for practical training.

Application Process

  1. The student should have his/her academic advisor or the instructor for the practicum/internship experience complete and sign the short information form (available in OIE). The OIE will also need an official letter offering employment.
  2. The student takes the following documents to the OIE: endorsed advisor form, I-20, passport, I-94.
  3. The DSO at the OIE will issue a CPT I-20 noting the authorized period of practical training, whether the practical training is full or part-time, and the name and location of the employer. The I-20 will be used as proof the student is authorized to accept the employment. The employer will need to make a copy of this document, but the student should keep the original.
  4. The DSO will enter the CPT information into SEVIS.

Important: A student authorized for one year or more of full-time curricular practical training is ineligible for post-completion practical training.

2. Optional (post-graduation) Practical Training - OPT

The OIE will issue an OPT I-20 with the Practical Training employment permission for one year period beginning the day of completion of studies or graduation, or up to 60 days after. The student must apply for OPT during the ninety days prior to graduation.

Application Process

Required documents:

The OIE will process the paperwork. Income earned from employment during Practical Training is subject to both state and federal income taxes. However, students are not required to pay Social Security (OASDI) taxes.

Students should use an address within the Nebraska Service Center jurisdiction on the I-765. If the student moves, the student needs to submit a change of address according to previous instructions.

Applying for an Interim Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Students are eligible to apply for an interim (temporary) EAD from the USCIS District Office in Kansas City if the student has a receipt showing that the application has been pending for more than 90 days.

The KC office will accept applications for interim EADs on Wednesdays only, between 7:30 am and 2:30 pm. The KC Office is located by the Kansas International Airport at 9747 N Conant Ave., Kansas City, MO 64153.

An interim EAD cannot be issued if the application has already been adjudicated (decided), even though the EAD may not have yet arrived. As well, an EAD may not be issued if a Request for Further Evidence (RFE) from the NSC has been sent to the student. Check the status of the application online immediately prior to departing for Kansas City at

Students should take the following documents:

  1. Passport
  2. Original I-94
  3. Original I-20 - if the original was sent with the application; reprint a new one
  4. Original receipt from Service Center
  5. Copy of I-765 application

EADs are issued the same day. Students are reminded to be courteous and patient. There may be long lines.


Academic Training for J-1 Visa

A student is authorized to participate in academic training for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training, provided that the amount of time for academics approved by the academic dean or advisor and approved by the responsible officer.
[22 CFR 62.23(f)].

To obtain authorization to engage in academic training, the exchange visitor must present to the responsible officer a letter of recommendation from the student's academic dean or advisor setting forth:

  1. The goals and objectives of the specific training program
  2. A description of the training program, including its location, the name and address of the training supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training
  3. How the training relates to the student's major field of study
  4. Why it is an integral or critical part of the academic program of the exchange visitor student.

The student is required to begin post-completion academic training no more than 30 days after completion of studies.



How do you find a work place for your Practical Training?

While each student is responsible for arranging his/her own Practical Training experiences, the following persons may be of some assistance in planning your Practical Training:

  1. Your department advisor or Chairperson
  2. Professional publications in your field that have job listings
  3. Career Services at ESU
  4. Other international students
  5. Persons you may know in the Emporia community

Do not hesitate to contact the OIE if you have any additional questions about Practical Training.


Program Extension

When do you need a program extension?

Refer to completion date on the I-20 to determine the date by which your studies are to be completed. An F-1 student who does not complete his or her educational program by the completion date must apply for a Program Extension.

Completion Date

The OIE makes a reasonable estimate of the time needed to complete your academic program.

Important: The I-20 is only valid until the completion date or until the respective degree is completed, whichever comes first.


Changing Program Levels

Students who move from one program level (ex. from Bachelor to Master) to another will receive a new program completion date, if they have their I-20 properly validated through OIE or at the port of entry. A new date of completion will be noted on the I-20 issued for the new program.

Visa Expiration

People often confuse their length of stay with their visa expiration date. A visa is only an entry permit and it has nothing to do with your length of stay. It only needs to be valid at the time of entry to the U.S. Your visa can expire while you are in the U.S. You may remain in the U.S. with an expired visa as long as you are maintaining your status. Your visa does not determine the date you need to leave the U.S.

Duration of Status

F-1 students are admitted to the United States for Duration of Status (D/S). This refers to the time during which the student is pursuing a full course of study and making normal progress toward completing a course of study, (or engaged in post-completion optional practical training), plus 60 days to depart the U.S. "D/S" should be marked on the F-1 student's I-94.

Who is eligible for a program extension?

Any F-1 student who has continually maintained status and who has a compelling academic, medical or other reason for not completing the educational program by the completion date on the I-20 is eligible for a Program Extension. A "compelling reason" may include such things as a change of major or research topic, unexpected research problems, or a documented illness, which has interfered with full-time study. Academic suspension and probation are not considered acceptable reasons for a Program Extension.

When to Apply

You need to apply for an extension at least 2 weeks prior to your current I-20 expiring. For example, if your I-20 expires December 16, 2017, you must apply no later than December 1, 2017 to process the extension. The expiration/completion date can be found on your I-20.

How to Apply for an extension

Please allow one week for processing time to prepare a new I-20. After processing the extension, the OIE will send you an email stating your new I-20 is ready.

What happens if a Student is not eligible or does not apply for a program extension on time?

An F-1 student who is ineligible for a program extension is considered out of status. A student who is considered out of status is ineligible for any F-1 benefits such as on- and off-campus employment authorization, including practical training. An out of status student should meet with an international student advisor to discuss options such as applying for reinstatement through the Immigration and Naturalization Service or traveling outside the U.S and re-entering to regain a new status.

J-1 Extension of stay

J-1 visa holders must make timely application for extension of your stay. Application for extension of stay may be made up to 60 days before expiration and MUST be made 30 days before expiration of the I-94. Your sponsor (office or agency who issued initial document) must provide the new document (DS-2019) for the application of your extension. The OIE will help you with this process. Be sure your passport is valid. Look at the copy of your DS-2019. If your program sponsor is not ESU, write or call your sponsor to request a complete new DS-2019. Complete and sign the back of page 1.

If your program sponsor is ESU, come to OIE to apply for a new DS-2019. Bring: your passport with I-94, financial support documents for the time of your requested extension, current copy of DS-2019, passports and I-94's of dependents. We will also need an email from your academic advisor. OIE will update your file in SEVIS with the extended program information.

Also note that an Exchange Visitor may not change the purpose for which he originally was accepted, e.g. a research scholar may not become a student; a student may not change to research (except as explained under "Practical Training"), etc. See item 4 on your DS-2019 to learn the category into which you have been accepted.




Reinstatement is an option for an F-1 student who fails to maintain status and wishes to regain status without leaving the U.S. An F-1 student must be in status to be eligible for any benefits such as work permission including practical training, program extension, school transfer, and adjustment of status. Depending on the circumstances of the individual cases, reinstatement may or may not be the best option. Please consult with an international student advisor. An F-1 student may be considered out of status if he or she:



To apply for reinstatement, the student:

  1. Cannot have been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing reinstatement (unless the student can demonstrate exceptional circumstances and he/she is filing as promptly as possible);
  2. Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of USCIS regulations;
  3. Is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue a full course of study in the immediate future;
  4. Has not engaged in unauthorized employment;
  5. Is not deportable on any other grounds; and
  6. Establishes to the satisfaction of USCIS by a detailed explanation showing either that
    1. the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control (such as serious injury or illness, closure of ESU, a natural disaster, or a mistake made by the international student advisor)
    2. the violation relations to a reduction in course load that would have been in the international student advisor's power to authorize, and failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.

For additional information about the procedures for reinstatement, please visit the Office of International Education.


Student Dependents


In order to bring dependents to the U.S., you must be maintaining status as an F-1 or J-1 student and must show that you have sufficient funds to support your family here without any of you being employed. Your spouse and unmarried minor children (under age 18) are eligible to apply for F-2 or J-2 visas. No other family members are eligible.

Application Process

Come to the OIE with your passport, copy of dependents passport, and evidence of your financial support for your family. You should have the Form I-20 or the Form DS-2019 most recently issued to you in your possession. If you are maintaining status and have the necessary financial support for your family, and if there have been no substantial changes in the information on your Form I-20/DS-2019, the OIE will issue a dependent Form I-20 (F-1's) or issue a new DS-2019 (J-1's) for the purpose of bringing your family to the United States. (If there have been substantial changes in the information on your Form I-20 or if you no longer have that form, you must obtain a new Form I-20 for yourself also.) When you have the Form I-20's or DS-2019's, send them to your family with instructions for them to apply for F-2 or J-2 visas at the United States consular office. In addition to the Form I-20/DS-2019, they will have to present valid passports, evidence of their financial support, evidence that they intend to return to their home country at the conclusion of your studies in the United States, and perhaps other information which the consular officer may specify.

Action by Consulate and USCIS

If the consular officer is satisfied that your family members are bona fide student dependents who intend to return home and that they have sufficient funds for their support here, he or she will issue F-2/J-2 visas to them. Your dependents may then come to the United States and will be admitted to the country for duration of status. That means they may remain here with you until you complete your studies. Your family may remain in the United States in F-2 or J-2 status only while you are here in F-1 or J-1 status.


Do not allow your family to come to the U.S. in some other immigration status or before they have received the Form I-20 or DS-2019 and F-2 or J-2 visas. If they do, they run the risk of being denied admission to the United States at the port of entry, or of having to go in person to the immigration office in Kansas City to have their eligibility for admission determined, or of being denied a change of status and being required to return home early. Always obtain a Form I-20 or DS-2019 and instruct your family carefully to come to the United States only in F-2 or J-2 status (unless they qualify for some other and more advantageous status and can maintain that status during the intended time of their stay here.)


Temporary travel outside the U.S.

Students who plan to travel temporarily to visit the home country or another country but plan to return to ESU to resume studies should secure the proper documents before leaving the U.S.

Every F-1 student must obtain an I-20 Form from the OIE. A J-1 student needs the DS-2019 Form. If a spouse or children on an F-2 visa plan to travel, he/she/they also need an I-20.

Re-Entry for F-1 students

For F-1 visa holders, you and your dependents must have the following documents to ensure your re-entry:

  1. A valid passport
  2. A valid U.S. visa (the visa stamp in your passport should be valid beyond the date you return to the US and should have multiple entries)
  3. A valid Form I-20 (check the expiration date and check for the endorsement by an OIE advisor)
  4. If you are doing Optional Practical Training, you must show proof of employment.

Re-Entry for J-1 Students

Before traveling outside of the U.S., the OIE should certify that the exchange visitor is still in status, in the same program, and in good standing at the institution. The OIE should revalidate the exchange visitor's DS-2019 form by endorsing the exchange visitor's copy. A new DS-2019 may be issued if it is preferred by the sponsoring organization.

To re-enter the United States, a J-1 must have:


Obtaining a New Visa Stamp for Re-entry

You must have a valid F or J visa on your passport in order to re-enter the U.S. This is essential in addition to having a form I-20 or DS-2019. If your visa is no longer valid, you must take your passport and a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) to the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy in the country you are visiting to apply for a new visa. Evidence of Financial support for your studies in the U.S. must also be presented. Before you leave for a trip abroad, consult the OIE to determine whether you need a new visa.

It is not always necessary to obtain a new Form I-20 for re-entry after a temporary absence from the U.S. A properly endorsement of a previously issued Form I-20 will serve that purpose if there has been no substantive change in the information since the Form I-20 was issued. If there has been any substantive change in that information, a new Form I-20 is required for re-entry.

An F-1 student returning to a different school after a temporary absence from the U.S. who has effected a transfer of schools may be readmitted to attend the school which is noted on Form I-20 even though the new school may not be noted on the student's visa. If unable to effect the transfer before departure from the U.S., the student must have the new school noted on his/her visa by a U.S. consular officer. The student must attend the school noted on his/her visa or on Form I-20 or he/she is not eligible for entry.


Departure after Completion of Studies

You are required to notify the OIE either in person or in writing, of the completion of your studies or practical training and of the date of your final departure from the U.S. If you intend to leave ESU, but plan to remain in the U.S. to study at another school, you must obtain appropriate transfer authorization.


Advice from the OIE



Government & Immigration Websites