Office of International Programs (OIP)

F-1 visa

A visa represents permission from the U.S. State Department for you to enter the United States for a particular purpose (i.e. study, work, visit, etc.). In the past, visas were rubber-stamped on the passport page with multi-colored ink. Presently, a machine-readable, label-type of visa, with your photograph is issued by the U.S. embassy or consulate overseas. You used the visa to enter the U.S. Your visa is numbered, and shows your name, the visa category (for example, F-1), the date and place of issue, the expiration date, and the name of the consular official who issued it.

A visa permits you to request entry into the U.S. at a port of entry (for example at the San Francisco International Airport). Once you are in the U.S., your visa may expire without any penalty (as long as you maintain your full-time student status), since it governs only your entry and not your stay.

However, if you travel outside of the U.S. and then wish to return to continue your studies after your visa has expired, you need to get a new visa stamp in your passport (at a U.S. embassy/consulate preferably in your home country) before you can return to the U.S.

Furthermore, visas are not renewed; a new visa is issued to replace an expired one. And visas are not generally issued from within the U.S. You need to return to your home country (or go to another country) and apply for a new visa at the nearest U.S. embassy/consulate.

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Duration of Status (D/S)

Duration of Status (D/S) is defined as:
  • The time during which you are pursuing a full course of study (12 units for undergraduates/8 units for graduates per semester) and making normal progress toward completing that course, plus
  • The time you may be working in authorized practical training after you complete studies (if you qualify and are so authorized), plus
  • 60 days to depart the country
  • If you terminate your course of study before you complete all degree program requirements, you must notify OIP. At that time you will only have a 15-day grace period. Students who fail to notify OIP before terminating their studies prior to the completion of their program of study do not have a grace period

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What is I-94?

I-94 is the DHS Arrival/Departure Record issued to non-immigrants who are admitted to the U.S., who are adjusting status while in the U.S. or extending their stay, among other things.  An immigration inspector from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will scan a student’s passport, generating an electronic arrival record with data elements found on the current paper I-94. CBP will make the electronic I-94 available at

F1 students may visit this website to print their electronic I-94 number before applying for immigration or public benefits, such as a driver’s license or Social Security Number.

In addition, CBP will provide each student with an admission stamp that is annotated with date of entry, class of entry (F-1) and admitted until date (D/S for F-1 students) in the passport.

Those who haven't traveled overseas after April 26, 2013 may still have an I-94 card (a little white card staped in the passport). If you lost an I-94 card, you need to request to a replacement card by filling out the 鈥I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document鈥 application. You will need to submit this applicaiton with a $330 application fee to USCIS.

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The I-20 is an official U.S. government form. You must obtain a signature before traveling outside the U.S. so that your I-20 can be signed or a new form can be issued, if required. See Travel to and from the U.S.regarding how to obtain a signature.

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Report stolen passport

According to Travel. if your passport with your I-94 are lost or stolen, you must get them replaced immediately. There are a number of steps you need to take as follows:

Police Report
Go to the local police station and report your document(s) lost or stolen. If available, you will need to provide copies of the original documents. You will be issued a police report detailing the incident. Don’t forget to make an extra copy of the report for your own records.

Report your Passport Lost/Stolen to Your Embassy
Contact the local Embassy or consular section for the country of your citizenship for information on the procedure to replace a lost or stolen passport. Most countries have Internet web sites with contact information.

Report your Visa Lost/Stolen to the U.S. Embassy Abroad
To report your visa lost or stolen, fax the Consular Section or Consul General at the Embassy abroad which issued your visa. Go to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website to locate the fax number and contact information. Be sure to include your full name, date of birth, place of birth, address in the U.S., and an e-mail address (if available). Specifically state whether the visa was lost or stolen. If you have a copy of the passport or visa, fax this to the Embassy or consular section. Otherwise, if known, report the category of visa, and the passport number from the lost/stolen visa.
If you have already reported your visa lost/stolen to the U.S. Embassy abroad, and then you later find your misplaced visa, please note that the visas will be invalid for future travel to the U.S., and you must apply in person at the Embassy or Consulate abroad for a new visa.

Applying for a Replacement U.S. Visa
Lost or stolen U.S. visas cannot be replaced in the U.S. For replacement of a visa, you must apply in person at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. When applying for the replacement of a visa, you will need to provide a written account documenting the loss of your passport and visa. Include a copy of the police report.

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Procedures to replace a lost I-20

To apply for an I-20 that has been lost, stolen or destroyed, complete a "F-1 Document Request Form鈥 and submit it to the OIP front desk. The new I-20 will ready for you to pick up within 5 business days.

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