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 International Education Program

Immigration Regulations

Please refer to links above for additional information

Your Legal Status in the United States

The Office of International Education Programs (IEP) has been established to assist you in complying with all federal regulations. Keep in mind, however, that it is your personal responsibility to see that you comply with all regulations. Please call the IEP office if you have any questions: 480-732-7391 or send email to:

Each international student is advised to make a photocopy of the following documents. These copies should be kept in a separate place from the original documents. IEP office will also keep a copy of these documents.

  1. SEVIS I-20 ID
  2. Copy of your entire passport (except blank pages) - it must be valid at all times.
  3. I-94 card (Arrival/Departure card -small white form attached to your passport
  4. U.S. Visa (stamped inside your passport, or official letter from USCIS)


SEVIS is an electronic reporting system that provides the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with information on international students and scholars in the United States who hold F, J, and M visas. The system also tracks entries into the U.S. and departures from the U.S. Every school, college, and university that admits students or scholars on F, J, or M visas is mandated to use SEVIS.

This document gives the foreign student permission to study in the U.S. for the time it takes to complete their educational program. The I-20 is used to obtain the F-1 visa at the US Consulate or Embassy. Students must finish on or before the completion date. You will have 60 days after completion to leave the U.S., apply for another visa, apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or transfer to another school. Please bring the stamped I-20 and passport to the Office of International Education Program (IEP) as soon as you enter the country so that a photocopy remains in your file.

SEVIS requires daily reporting on full course enrollment and changes you may make in your academic program (examples: change of major or degree program). The following information is reported as well and includes: academic status, employment, and residential address. You need to make sure that all information printed on your I-20 remains accurate. If there has been any change in the information printed on your I-20 form (example: your name has changed, the source and/or amount of your financial support is different, etc.).

Reporting requirements include:

  1. Whether the student has enrolled at the school, or failed to enroll.
  2. A change of the student or dependent's legal name or address.
  3. Any student who graduates prior to the end date listed on the I-20.
  4. Academic or disciplinary actions taken due to criminal conviction.
  5. If the student drops below a full course of study without prior authorization from IEP
  6. Termination date and reason for termination.
  7. Any student who fails to maintain status or complete his or her program.
  8. Other data generated by standard procedures such as program extensions, school transfers, changes in level of study, employment authorizations, and reinstatement.


The U.S. government requires that international students keep their passports valid for at least six months into the future. If you are working on campus, you will learn that the college payroll office is unable to issue your paycheck if your passport is expired. Only your government can renew or extend your passport. Contact your country's embassy or consulate in the United States for information. Addresses and telephone numbers for foreign embassies in the United States are available on the web at


All foreign students entering the United states are issued a small white card called an I-94 (also called an "Arrival & Departure Card"). The I-94 card is an official document used by the immigration service to confirm that you entered the U.S. lawfully. It is also used to record changes of nonimmigrant status. When you enter the U.S. the immigration inspector will grant you an immigration status and determine how long you may remain present in the U.S. in that status. This document is usually stapled to the passport at the port of entry. The I-94 and valid I-20 permit an F-1 student to stay temporarily in the U.S. For F-1 students, the officer will indicate Duration of Status or D/S on the I-94. This refers to the length of time an F-1 student has permission to remain temporarily in the U.S. to pursue a full course of study. When you travel overseas, your I-94 will be collected by the airline during check-in or by immigration services during a pre-departure interview (NSEERS registrants only). You will receive a new I-94 card upon reentry. Admission Number: The 11-digit number that is on your I-94 card. It is used by DHS to record your arrival and departure from the United States. If you have an expiration date on your I-94 card, then you need to contact the IEP Office immediately. It is your most important document. Don't lose it! It's expensive to replace. Please keep this document with your passport at all times.


A visa is a sticker placed in your passport and visa gives permission to enter the U.S. F and M visas can be obtained only outside the U.S. at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Student should have an F-1 visa to study in the U.S. If your visa expires while you are studying in the U.S., you do not need to renew it unless you plan to travel outside of the United States. You are encouraged to renew your visa in your home country. Your visa stamp also includes information on the number of entries allowed. If your visa allows one entry only, you will need to obtain a new one if you travel overseas. Updated information about applying for a visa at many U.S. embassies and consulates around the world is available on the web at Look for information about nonimmigrant visas.