Maintaining Immigration Status
- All international students must register with the Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) upon arrival in the United States before the start of every term. (Contact Admissions at 719-587-7712 for more info.) Returning students must check in with the PDSO as well. Please bring the following documents with you:
Valid Passport - A passport is basically a permit from your home country to allow you to leave and reenter your own country. You must have a valid passport (with a validity date for at least six months after your proposed date of entry) for travel into the United States. Do not allow the validity of your passport to expire; at least six months validity beyond your entry date. It is your responsibility to maintain a valid passport.
Renewing your Passport -
You must keep your passport valid at all times. Consult with your consulate or embassy in the United States 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 Adams State University, you can request such a letter from the Principal Designated School Official.
SEVIS form I-20 "Certificate of Eligibility" - This is the necessary document to apply for the appropriate visa for entry into the U.S. It proves your eligibility for F-1 status. You must make sure that it is accurate and up-to-date at all times. The form indicates the latest date by which you should report to Adams State. This date is generally the first day of classes. F-1 students need to also have a valid signature from the Principal Designated School Official on Page 3 of their I-20 in order to reenter the US. The signature is valid for one academic year.
Expiring I-20 Form -
If your I-20 will expire before you complete your program, you must apply for an extension of your I-20. To do so, consult with the Principal Designated School Official. You must apply for an extension at least 30 days prior to expiration.
There are serious penalties for "overstaying" your I-20 expiration. If you stay beyond your authorized stay for 1-179 days, your F-1 visa will become invalid and you will fail to maintain your status. If you remain in the country beyond your authorized stay for 180-360 days, your visa becomes invalid and you will have to wait three years to obtain a new visa. If you stay beyond your authorized stay for more than 360 days, your visa becomes invalid and you will have to wait 10 years to obtain a new visa to enter the USA.
I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) - This card, if issued, is placed into your passport at the port of entry and shows that you have lawfully entered the United States. It is usually stapled onto the U.S. visa page of your passport. The form identifies your arrival date, your visa status, and your length of stay, usually marked D/S (duration of status). The duration status is defined in the following paragraph:
8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(5)(i) general definition of F-1 "duration of status" - "Duration of status is defined as the time during which an F-1 student is pursuing a full course of studies study at an educational school approved by the Service for attendance by foreign students, or engaging in authorized practical training following completion of studies, except that an F-1 student who is admitted to attend a public high school is restricted to an aggregate of twelve months of study at any public high school(s). An F-1 student may be admitted for a period up to 30 days before the start of the course of study. An F-1 student who has completed a course of study will be allowed an additional 60-day period to prepare for departure from the United States or prepare for transfer to a higher level at the same or another educational institution. An F-1 student authorized by the DSO to withdraw from classes will be allowed an additional 15-day period for departure from the United States. However, an F-1 student who fails to maintain a full course of study or otherwise fails to maintain status is not eligible for an additional period for departure. The student is considered to be maintaining status if he or she is making normal progress toward completing a course of studies".
Expiring I-94 (if issued) -
There may be a date written in the upper right-hand corner of your I-94. You must leave the USA by that date, or you must apply to extend your stay. If there is no date, but rather the inscription "D/S" (duration of status), you are admitted for the length of your program of study as indicated on your I-20, plus any period of optional practical training, plus 60 days. If you graduate before the completion date indicated on your I-20 you are considered to have completed your program of study and your I-20 is no longer valid.
- It is extremely important to keep the documents listed above, in addition to the following documents listed below, in a safe place. You will need them in the future in order to identify yourself, apply for employment authorization, prove your status, and maintain a record of your status throughout your stay in the United States. It is also recommended to keep photo copies of the I-94 card, if issued, and I-20 in identity page of your passport. It is also suggested that you carry these important documents when traveling.
- Proof of Payment of the I-901 SEVIS fee
- Evidence of financial resources
- Per Immigration laws and regulations, you need to be a full-time student and "In Status" at all times. Full-time status minimum unit load is 12 units per semester (spring and fall). No more than the equivalent of one on-line/distance education class or 3 credits per session may count towards the "full course of study" requirement.