Passport: Your passport is your government’s permit for you to leave and re-enter your country of citizenship. You must have a valid passport while residing in the U.S. Do not let your passport expire. When your passport is within 6 months of expiration, consult your country's consulate or embassy in the U.S. to renew your passport. The officials there will tell you what forms and fees, if any, are required. If you are required to supply a letter affirming that you are a student at UL Lafayette you can request a letter from the OIA.
Visa Information: International students in the U.S. are generally admitted under the F-1 student visa classification. Under special circumstances, international students may also be admitted on J-1 sponsored student visa. Those who petition for F-1 or J-1 visas are admitted as a nonimmigrants, and are granted temporary stays in the U.S. In order to apply for the F-1 visa, the prospective student must receive a SEVIS I-20 AB. Those applying for J-1 visas receive the form DS-2019. All nonimmigrant visas should not be expired at the time of entry/re-entry to U.S. It is permissible to have an expired F-1 visa while in the U.S. as long as the SEVIS I-20AB remains valid. The guideline information on visa renewal is available at the U.S. State department services website.
SEVIS I-20AB: This document is issued by the University and is required in order for a student to apply for an F-1 visa. It is issued for the program and level of study for which the student has been admitted. It is signed by a Designated School Official at the University and by the student. Upon a student's arrival in the United States, the I-20AB will be verified by the USCIS officer and authorized. This document must be valid throughout the entirety of a student's educational pursuits in the U.S.
Keep your SEVIS I-20AB in a safe place. If you have several SEVIS I-20AB's, the latest one is the one that counts. However, it is important that you keep all of your SEVIS I-20AB's with you as long as you decide to maintain status with the U.S.
Your SEVIS I-20AB has to be endorsed by the Office of International Affairs before you leave the country and decide to come back. In order to get your SEVIS I-20AB endorsed, you will have to bring your SEVIS I-20AB to the Office of International Affairs no more than two weeks before your departure, and no less than three business days.
Obtain a new SEVIS I-20AB whenever the information (such as major, academic level, financial support like assistantship or scholarship, expiration date, etc.) in the SEVIS I-20AB changes.
Requests for program extension can be made at the OIA thirty days before expiration of student’s current program as stated on his/her SEVIS I-20AB. Result for noncompliance is: Out of status.
When a student changes academic level, i.e., from an undergraduate to graduate etc., a new SEVIS I-20AB must be obtained from the Graduate School and brought to the OIA.