Passport: You should keep your passport valid at all times. Your passport is your own government’s permit for you to leave and re-enter your own country. Most passports contain an expiration date. Consult your own 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 at OIA. The office can provide the addresses of your country’s consulate or embassy.
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 or M-1 vocational or technical student visas. Whenever a person seeks entry to the U.S. in one of these student visa classifications, he or she will be admitted as a nonimmigrant, and will be granted a temporary stay in the U.S. When this person applies for the nonimmigrant visa, they must overcome the presumption by the U.S. Consular Officer that the person intends to stay permanently in the U.S. and prove they have a residence outside the U.S. that they do not intend to abandon. They must be able to prove their nonimmigrant intent during their temporary stay in the U.S.; otherwise, their applications for visas will be denied. The F-1 student visa classification is for full-time study in the U.S. In order to apply for the F-1 visa, the prospective student must receive a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status - for Academic and Language Students, SEVIS I-20 AB. The visa should not be expired at the time of entry/re-entry to U.S. It is okay to let the visa expire, while 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: The SEVIS I-20 AB copy is the F-1 student’s copy of the SEVIS I-20AB issued for the program and level of study the student is presently pursuing. There are spaces for information about employment authorization, curricular practical training, recommendations for Optional practical training, or notations by an USCIS official. Upon your Arrival to United States, your I-20AB will be verified by the USCIS officer and authorized. You get back your SEVIS I-20AB with an “Approved” stamp on page.
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.