F-1 Visa International Education Furman

immigration and travel

As a student carrying an F-1 student visa, you are already familiar with Form I-20 which you used to apply for your visa. This was issued by Furman and provides proof that you were invited by Furman to come to the United States. When your visa was approved, you received a visa stamp in your passport. It is important that both of these documents remain up-to-date. 

Once your visa stamp expires, you can arrange to get a new stamp at any U.S. embassy or consulate outside of the U.S. It's OK if your visa stamp expires while you are in the U.S. You must have an updated one to enter the U.S. Additionally, you should always apply with your home country's government to renew your passport at least six months before it expires. 

At your port of entry into the U.S., an immigration official also stamped an I-94 Departure Record card and likely stapled it into your passport. This is your proof of arrival in the U.S. and you will be required to surrender it at the airport or border any time you leave the country. If you are only leaving for a vacation, you will receive a new I-94 Departure Record card when you return. Any time you leave the U.S., you must be sure that the travel authorization line on the second page of your Form I-20 has been signed within the last year by someone from the Office for Study Away and International Education and carry with you the four original documents mentioned above. It is also advisable to carry photocopies of all the documents with you. Be sure that our office has copies of your most recent documents.

Maintaining status

When you arrived in the United States, your immigration documents were marked with a stamp that says “D/S,” an abbreviation for “Duration of Status.” This means that you can legally remain in the U.S. as long as you comply with the terms of your F-1 visa, that is, as long as you maintain status. 

In order to assure that we can communicate with you and help you to maintain
status, it is imperative that you keep our office informed with your most recent contact information and that you check your e-mail regularly. Most correspondence from our office will be by e-mail. Federal requirements state that to maintain status, you must:

  • Report to our office within two weeks of the start of classes each term so that you can be registered with the federal government as being on-campus for the current term.
  • Attend the school authorized on your Form I-20.
  • Carry a full course of study and make normal progress towards completion of your degree. If you begin to have academic difficulty in your classes, please see someone in our office immediately so that we can advise you. Don't withdraw from a class without notifying our office.
  • Refrain from unauthorized work.
  • Maintain health insurance. This requires purchasing Furman’s plan or having an alternate plan approved by Financial Services.
  • Maintain a valid passport (renew at least six months before it will expire)
  • When traveling abroad, always return in proper F-1 status. If your visa will expire before you re-enter the U.S., this will require getting a new visa stamp in your passport.
  • If you move, report a change of address to our office within 10 days of the change
  • Obey all state and federal laws
  • File timely requests with our office for a transfer, withdrawal, program extension, optional practical training, and other benefit.

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