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International Student Office - Important Documents to stay in US



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1. Visa
This is the visa you obtained at the American Embassy or Consulate which allowed you to ask for permission to enter the United States. A nonimmigrant visa (such as an F-1 or J-1) is valid only for the purpose for which it was issued. It is NOT a guarantee of entry. For initial admission, you are required to report to the school for which I-20 or DS-2019 you used to obtain the visa. Once you have been granted entry, your visa does NOT determine how long you stay in the U.S. You are required to renew your visa only when you leave the U.S. and wish to return and if your visa has expired or if your visa was designated as "single entry only." A request to obtain a new visa must be made at the American Embassy or Consulate outside the United States. PLEASE NOTE: If your visa has expired, it is all right to remain in the U.S. if you are in legal F-1 or J-1 status. However, you must renew your visa if you go outside of the U.S.

2. Passport
This is your most important piece of identification, and you need to keep it valid at least six months beyond your projected date of departure from the U.S. You cannot renew your visa unless your passport is current; neither can you leave the U.S. without a valid passport. It is strongly urged that you photocopy important pages of your passport, i.e., the identification page, the expiration page, and the visa page. Should you lose your passport, having photocopies of important pages may reduce the time needed to replace the document. To renew your passport, YOU must contact your country's embassy or consulate.

3. I-94 Number
You can retrieve your I-94 arrival/departure number from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

The I-94 form verifies your legal entrance into the U.S. and will be required if you need a drivers license or social security number.

4. I-20 - Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant F-1 Student Status
This form is issued to you to attend WKU initially. Having accepted the I-20, you are required by DHS to attend WKU for at least one semester before transferring. Whenever you travel outside U.S, you must carry a current I-20 form endorsed by a Designated School Official (DSO) at ISO. You must also check the visa requirements of the countries to which you will travel. The I-20 form certifies you are eligible to study at the designated school and you have verified your financial ability to pay tuition, fees and basic living costs while pursuing your education. Page 3 of I-20 form is used to note transfers and other records (i.e., employment, reinstatement of status). It is also used to document your date of readmission to the U.S. after a temporary absence. In conjunction with your I-94, your I-20 indicates length of time you have permission to remain in U.S. (by the expiration date) as long as you are still maintaining your status and working towards the degree indicated on the I-20.

5. DS-2019 - Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant J-1 Student Status
The DS-2019 is a white, two-page document issued by WKU to individuals for US entry in J-1 status for the purpose of study. The DS-2019 should remain valid (unexpired) throughout your studies in the US. If your studies will continue beyond the current DS-2019 expiration date, you may request an extension through International Student Office.


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 Last Modified 9/25/14