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Immigration Documents

  • 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 under the J-1 exchange visitor visa. Those who petition for F-1 or J-1 visas are admitted as a non-immigrants 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. Those applying for J-1 visas receive the form DS-2019. All non-immigrant 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-20 remains valid. The guideline information on visa renewal is available at the U.S. State department services website.
  • SEVIS I-20: 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 (DSO) at the University and by the student. Upon a student's arrival in the United States, the I-20 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.

    Print your I-20 and keep it in a safe place. If you have several I-20's, the latest one is the one that counts. However, it is important that you keep all of your I-20's with you as long as you decide to maintain status with the U.S.
  1. Your I-20 has to be endorsed by the Office of International Affairs before you leave the country and decide to return. In order to get your I-20  endorsed, you must submit a Request for Travel Authorization and  follow all all instructions listed on the form.
  2. Obtain a new I-20 whenever the information (such as major, financial support such as assistantship or scholarship, dependent information or expiration date) on the I-20 changes.In order for our office to make changes to your I-20, you will need to complete a Student Information Update Form and email it to
  3.  Requests for program extension can be made by completing a Graduate Request for I-20 Extension or an Undergraduate Request for I-20 Extension no more than 30 days before the program end date listed on the I-20. I-20s cannot be extended once the program end date passes.
  4. When a student changes academic level (i.e., from an undergraduate to graduate) or enrolls in a new graduate program, the student must apply for admission to the new program and the Graduate School or the the Office of Undergraduate Admission will issue a new I-20.