F-1 immigration documents

Read  important information for F-1 students regarding various immigration documents.

F-1 visa

Your U.S. F-1 visa in your passport is your approval to request entry to the United States and receive F-1 student status while here. The visa may either be for:

  • single entry
  • double entry
  • multiple entries

If your visa expires while you are in the United States, but your Form I-20 and Form I-94 are valid, your legal immigration status in the United States remains valid. You may remain in the United States as long as you are maintaining your immigration status.

However, if your visa has expired and you depart the United States, you will be required to obtain a new visa before re-entering the United States.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, so contact your International Student Adviser in advance if you have visa related travel questions. It is not possible to renew an F-1 visa in the United States.

F-2 visa

Accompanying dependents (spouse and children) of F-1 students are issued F-2 visas. For more information about F-2 immigration regulations, or if you would like to bring a dependent to the United States, please contact your International Student Adviser.

Form I-20

Your Form I-20 must always be valid and show correct information, including:

  • your current major at Northern Arizona University
  • your current financial support information

You must retain all I-20s you are issued from all schools you attend for your records (even after you graduate), as you may need them in the future.

Expiration date in Form I-20

The expiration date on your I-20 (shown in number 5 on your I-20) is the date that your program of study in the United States ends. However, you have 60 days beyond that date before you are required to leave the United States. You may use this 60-day period to prepare for your departure or to travel in the United States.

You are not permitted to engage in employment of any kind during this time period. You will not be permitted to re-enter the United States if you travel outside its borders after the date listed on Form I-20, even if it falls within this 60-day period.

Form I-94 (arrival/departure card)

You must always have your current I-94 card stapled into your passport. If lost, it must be replaced by submitting an application and a fee to the Department of Homeland Security.

Passport

You must always have a valid passport for at least six months into the future. This means you should renew it about six months prior to the expiration date. To renew your passport, contact your embassy in the United States for instructions. You may be delayed when re-entering your home country if your passport is expired.