INTERNATIONAL STUDENT AFFAIRS OFFICE

F1 VISA

How to Understand Legal Acronyms and Terms

$100 correction fee
12-Month Bar
Academic Training

Alert List
CIS
Completion Date
Designated School Official (DSO)
DHS
DS-2019
Duration of Status (D/S)

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Exchange Visitor

F-1 Student
I-94 (Arrival/Departure record)

I-20A-B (I-20)

J-1 Student
Nonimmigrant
Passport
Program Extension

Reinstatement

Release Date
Responsible Officer (RO)/Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO)

School Transfer

Status
Traveling Abroad and Reentry
Visa
Visa Waiver

$100 correction fee:Fee charged to departments when re-issuing a DS-2019. If OIS issues a DS-2019 and the document must be fixed due to incorrect or incomplete information provided by the department or exchange visitor this fee will apply. If a DS-2019 is incorrectly issued by OIS there is no fee to re-issue a corrected document.

12-Month Bar: The 12-month bar states that any individual who has been in the United States for more than 6 months in the previous year in J-1 status is not eligible to enter the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for 1 year. Time spent in the J-1 Short-Term Scholar category does not count towards the 12-month bar. Individuals subject to the 12-month bar may enter as J-1 Short-Term Scholars, Non-Degree Students, etc. The 12-month bar does not apply to J-1’s transferring between institutions or F-1 students.

Academic Training: Academic Training (AT) is work, training, or experience related to a J-1 student’s field of study. Individuals in both the Student and Non-Degree Student category are eligible for Academic Training. AT can be paid or unpaid and authorized during or after the completion of studies. Further information and applications for this work authorization are available in OIS.

Alert List: The SEVIS database aims to ensure that all F-1 and J-1 non-immigrants maintain their respective immigration statuses while in the United States. If there is a potential problem with a student’s or scholar’s SEVIS record the name will appear on an alert list in the database. OIS consistently monitors this list and makes every effort possible to contact individuals on the list in order to resolve the problem.

CIS
The Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) oversees: citizenship, asylum, lawful permanent residency, employment authorization, refugee status, inter-country adoptions, replacement immigration documents, family and employment related immigration, and foreign student authorization. There is a CIS field office located in Los Angeles.

Completion Date
A student's completion date refers to the date the student completes the requirements for his or her degree program; i.e., it is the date the student finishes the last class, turns in a required thesis or dissertation, or otherwise meets the requirements for the degree. It is not the date of graduation, which may follow the completion date by weeks if not months. F-1 student have 60 days to remain in the U.S. beyond completion of studies to either prepare for departure or begin any authorized practical training; J-1 students have 30 days.

Note: If a student does not complete his or her studies and withdraws from USC before the end of the semester, the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) expects them to leave the U.S. no later than 15 days after withdrawing from school.

Designated School Official (DSO)
A Designated School Official (DSO) is an employee or agent of an educational institution who has been authorized by the CIS to verify information about and certify documents for F-1 students. Specifically DSOs must sign your I-20 or DS-2019 before you leave the United States. A DSO’s signature is valid for 6 months. At USC, your DSO islocated at OIS.

DHS
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created to coordinate 22 previously disparate domestic agencies in an effort to protect the nation against threats to the homeland. As a part of this major restructuring, the former Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) reorganized into three separate divisions. Under the supervision DHS, there are now three agencies: the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) which is charged with controlling the borders of the United States. The agency that International students with interact with the most is the CIS.

DS-2019 (formerly IAP-66)
A DS-2019 is a certificate of eligibility issued by an authorized Exchange Visitor program. The certificate enables eligible individuals to obtain a J-1 visa to study, conduct research, or teach in the U.S.; the properly endorsed DS-2019 must also be carried by the J-1 exchange student or scholar and dependents while traveling and re-entering the U.S. The DS-2019 form functions as a record of J-1 status throughout the exchange visitor's stay in the United States. It is an important government document that should be retained at all times as a part of the exchange visitor's permanent records.

Duration of Status (D/S)
"Duration of Status" or "D/S" is the length of time for which individuals in F and J status are admitted to the United States. D/S allows students to remain in the United States as long as they are pursuing full-time studies and are otherwise complying with all immigration regulations. D/S is not, however, for an indefinite period of time. D/S is based on the completion date on your I-20 or DS-2019, plus a 60-day grace period for F-1 students and a 30-day grace period for J-1 students. It is possible to extend D/S by applying for a program extension prior to the expiration of the current I-20 or DS-2019.

Employment Authorization Document
The "Employment Authorization Document" or "EAD Card" is a photo ID card issued by the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) to nonimmigrants which grants employment authorization for specific periods of time. F-1 students need to apply for an EAD card to have permission to engage in optional practical training and off-campus employment based on economic hardship; J-2 dependents may also apply for an EAD card to engage in any type of employment.

Exchange Visitor: The purpose of the J-1 program is to increase mutual understanding between the United States and other countries around the world via educational and cultural exchange. Therefore, any individual who enters the United States in J-1 status is referred to as an Exchange Visitor (EV).

F-1 Student
An F-1 student is a nonimmigrant who is admitted to the United States to pursue a full course of study. F-1 students' educational expenses are typically met by personal, family or institutional funds.

I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)
The I-94 is a small white card issued to all nonimmigrants by a U.S. immigration officer at the port of entry. It is evidence of legal entry to the U.S., indicating the date of arrival, the classification (e.g., tourist, diplomat, student) and the amount of time one is permitted to stay in the United States. The I-94s of those in F and J status should be marked with the letters "D/S," for duration of status (see below).

I-20A-B (I-20)
An I-20 is a certificate eligibility issued by an authorized educational institution, to enable eligible individuals to obtain an F-1 student visa or to apply for F-1 student status. The properly endorsed I-20 must also be carried by the F-1 student and dependents while traveling and re-entering the U.S. The I-20 reflects the student's biographical data, school and program information, and financial resources. It is an important government document that should be retained by the F-1 student as a part of his or her permanent records. The I-20 is a three-page form; students should retain all copies.

J-1 Student
A J-1 student is a nonimmigrant who has been selected to participate in an exchange visitor program. J-1 students generally are financially sponsored by an educational institution in the U.S. or abroad, the U.S. or an international government, or a private agency in support of international educational exchange.

Nonimmigrant
A nonimmigrant is a person who is in the United States temporarily to pursue a specific activity or purpose (e.g., study, travel, business). Most nonimmigrants, including all F-1 and J-1 students and their dependents, must have an established residence abroad to which they intend to return.

Passport
Passports must be valid at all times during your stay in the U.S. Generally, it is required that a passport be valid for at least six months into the future. Passports can usually be renewed at your home country consulate in the U.S. Consulates are located in Los Angeles, San Francisco or Washington, D.C.

Program Extension (Extension of Stay)
The immigration procedure that an F-1 or J-1 student must complete when he/she must remain in the U.S. longer than the time originally estimated for completion of his/her program as stated on his/her I-20 or DS-2019. An extension must be processed before the expiration date on the original I-20 or DS-2019.

Reinstatement
The immigration procedure that an F-1 or J-1 student must complete when he/she fails to remain in lawful status or overstays beyond his/her completion date as noted on his/her I-20 or DS-2019 and fails to complete a program extension.

Release Date: Applies to the transfer of immigration records within the SEVIS database. A transfer can be cancelled or postponed prior to the release date. However, once a student’s or scholar’s record has been released, the new institution is the sole “owner” of the individual’s SEVIS record. The previous institution cannot make any changes to the record.

Responsible Officer (RO) / Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO)
The Responsible Officer (RO) and Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) are those in charge of overseeing and executing a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. The RO and AROs for USC's J-1 Exchange Visitor Program are all located at the OIS.

School Transfer
The immigration procedure that an F-1 student or a J-1 student is required to complete when changing from one U.S. institution to another or when changing from one educational level to another (i.e., from bachelor's to master's). If students are transferring from another school in the U.S., they need to see an international student adviser at their new school within 15 days after the start of the term to complete the transfer process. Failure to complete this procedure will result in unlawful status.

Status
Once nonimmigrants enter the United States, they are classified by the CIS according to the purpose of their visit. This classification is known as "status." Students are in either F-1 or J-1 status and their dependents are in F-2 and J-2 status. The CIS regulates nonimmigrants according to the rules specific to that status. For example, one of the requirements of F-1 status is full-time study. A person's status also determines how long he or she may remain in the U.S.

Traveling Abroad and Reentry
Students planning to leave the U.S. and then re-enter in their student status, need a valid passport, a valid visa in their passport from a U.S. consulate or embassy and an I-20/DS-2019 with a recent International Student Adviser's signature (less than six months old). Students should always be prepared to verify their finances. When returning to your home country, you must renew your visa if it is expired.

Visa
The visa is a computer generated security-printed label or "foil" applied by the State Department to the page of a passport belonging to someone who wishes to enter the US for a particular purpose. The visa allows an individual to enter a particular country, such as the U.S. The visa indicates the purpose of someone's visit. Persons entering the U.S. to study must obtain either an F-1 or a J-1 visa. The visa is also valid for a specified number of entries to the United States: one, two, or "multiple," i.e., any number, until the expiration date. The visa does not indicate how long a person may remain in the United States (see "Status," below), but only whether a person may enter the U.S. to pursue a particular type of activity (visit friends, study, work).

The visa needs to be valid on the day you enter or re-enter the U.S. The visa does not need to remain valid while you are in the U.S. However, if you leave the U.S. and the visa stamp has expired, you must get another one at a U.S Embassy or Consulate abroad before you can return. Canadians do not need visas.

Visa Waiver
A person entering the U.S. under a visa waiver means he/she is admitted into the U.S. as a "tourist" but without any actual visa stamp issued on his/her passport. Persons in this category, who may be issued a green I-94 with "W-T" noted on it, are allowed to remain in the U.S. for no more than three months or 90 days. NOTE: Persons admitted under this classification cannot apply to change status in the U.S. USC international students should NEVER enter the U.S. on a Visa Waiver.