Visa Information

Visa Information for International Students

The F-1 student visa is the appropriate visa category for international students living outside the United States who intend to enroll full-time at Pine Manor College and whose primary reason for coming to the United State is to study. Students entering the United States on an F-1 student visa must remain enrolled full-time; those who fail to do so are considered out-of status and are subject to deportation.

Obtaining Your F-1 Visa and Entering the United States

  1. If you do not have a passport, you must obtain one from the appropriate office of your government. The passport must be valid at least six months into the future at all times while you are in the United States.
  2. Read all information on page 2 of the I-20 Certificate of Eligibility carefully. It explains your legal responsibilities as an F-1 visa holder in the United States.
  3. With your non-immigrant documents, go to the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate.
    The Embassy may issue you the F-1 visa no earlier than 90 days before start date on the I-20. Also, F-1 students may only be admitted to U.S. up to 30 days prior to the reporting date noted on the I-20.
  4. The Consular Interview. Even though you are applying for an F-1 non-immigrant visa, the United States Consular Officer who interviews you when you apply for your visa may assume that you plan to remain in the United States indefinitely and therefore may deny the visa.
    You must show to the officer:
    • An I-20 properly issued in SEVIS by PMC
    • PMC acceptance letter
    • A passport valid for at least 6 months
    • Intention to stay in the United States "temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study"
    • Proof of a residence outside the U.S. to which the student intends to return after completing the temporary period of study
    • Financial ability to cover the cost of education and living expenses in the U.S.
    • PMC scholarship letter if applicable
  5. Except for unusual circumstances, the U.S. consular official will review the documents and evidence presented, and will issue a visa within a few hours or days of the submission of the application. Although the institution may be satisfied that an applicant meets all the evidentiary requirements specified for obtaining F-1 status (e.g. admission, language proficiency, financial certification), the U.S. consular official makes the ultimate decision as to whether the applicant will be granted an F-1 student visa.
  6. After approving the visa application, the consular officer places an F-1 visa in the applicant's passport, noting the period of its validity, and the number of entries allowed.
  7. The same type of interview may occur when you arrive in the United States. Therefore, be prepared to present your passport (valid for at least six months), F-1 visa (for initial entries, the name of the school on the F-1 visa must match the name of the school on form I-20), SEVIS I-20, evidence of financial support, and your acceptance letter when passing through the United States port of entry. Do not pack these documents in baggage that is to be checked into the baggage compartment.
  8. At the port of entry, the immigration inspector will review your papers and, if everything is satisfactory, the inspector will then give you all the documents including a Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, a small white paper, which the inspector will attach to your passport. I-94 will include the date, place of entry, the alien's status as an F-1 student, a unique 11 digit admission number, and for the period of admission known as "duration of status," indicated by the notation "D/S." Report to the International Student office at Pine Manor College during the Orientation since PMC is required to report whether the student has enrolled or failed to enroll at PMC. The International Student office will request copies of your I-20, passport, I-94 card and F-1 visa.
  • Please keep in mind that a student who attends a school other than the one authorized is considered to be out of status and must apply for reinstatement.
  • The name of the school recorded on a student's visa must match the name of the school on the student's I-20 only for the initial entry to the U.S. in F-1 status. If a student travels outside the U.S. after having attended the school referenced on the student's visa, subsequent entries with an I-20 to attend a new school, including I-20s issued for transfer, are permitted.

Maintaining F-1 Status

It is extremely important for a nonimmigrant to maintain his or her status while in the United States. Failure to maintain the terms and conditions of nonimmigrant status is a ground for removal from the United States.
To maintain F-1 status, a student must:
  1. Report to the Designated School Official (DSO) for Initial Registration in SEVIS upon arriving at the school.
  2. For the first entry for initial school attendance, the school listed on the visa and on the I-20 must be the same, and that is the school the student must intend to attend.
  3. Pursue a "full course of study" at the school listed on the currently valid Form I-20 during every academic semester except during official school breaks, or unless approved under a specific exception, in advance, by the DSO.
  4. Make normal progress towards completing the course of study, by completing studies before the expiration of the program completion date on Form I-20.
  5. Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for extension of stay.
  6. Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for change in educational levels or programs of study.
  7. Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for transfer of schools.
  8. Abide by the F-1 grace period rules, including remaining in the U.S. for no longer than 60 days after completing a full course of study, unless prior to completing the course of study the student has followed procedures for applying for practical training, moving educational levels, or school transfer.
  9. Report change of address to the DSO within 10 days of the change, so that SEVIS can be updated.
  10. Abide by rules requiring disclosure of information and prohibition on criminal activity.
  11. Do not work, either on or off-campus, unless specifically authorized under the regulations.

Information on Passport, F-1 Visa, I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

Passport

A passport is a travel document issued by your country of citizenship or residence. It states your identity and nationality and shows the date of issuance as well as the date of expiration. Your passport also allows you to enter designated countries and a return to your country.

When you are in the U.S., you must make sure that your passport remains valid six months into the future. If your passport is about to expire, contact the country’s consular office or embassy in the U.S. to apply for an extension or a new passport. If you lose your passport, consult your consular office or embassy. immediately to replace it.

F-1 Visa

A visa is a stamp in your passport that permits you to enter to the United States. The type of visa you applied for and received at the U.S. embassy or consulate defines what you are allowed to do while in the U.S. An F-1 student visa may be granted to someone who is considered to be a full-time student seeking temporary entry in order to study. Each visa states the full name of the applicant, visa type, location of the visa issuing office, passport number, sex of applicant, date of birth, nationality, number of applications for admission (or the letter "M" for multiple entries), date of issuance, date of expiration and a visa control number.

Your visa may expire while you are in the U.S.. It is used only to enter the country. If, however, you are leaving the U.S., and your visa has expired, you must contact the consulate or embassy in your country of origin in order to request another F-1 visa. It is not possible to apply for a new visa in the U.S..

I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

Every nonimmigrant entering the U.S. temporarily is issued a Form I-94. I-94 is divided into three portions: Instructions, arrival record, and departure record. At the port of entry, arrival record is kept by BCIS; departure record is returned to the student and is usually stapled into the passport. This card will be surrendered when the individual exits the U.S.

The I-94 form is a key document for many nonimmigrant functions. What the immigration official at the port of entry stamps and writes on the I-94 is extremely important. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stamp and notations on Form I-94 show the nonimmigrant's classification, e.g. F-1 or J-2, the place and date of their admission to the U.S., and the period of stay authorized. When an individual needs to demonstrate his or her current nonimmigrant category to DHS when applying for a benefit, Form I-94 is always included as part of proof of status. Most students entering the US with the F-1 visa will find the notation “F-1 D/S” on the I-94. D/S permits an individual to remain in the U.S. to complete his or her program within the dates on the I-20.

When you leave the U.S., you will surrender the departure record portion that is stapled in your passport (never remove this yourself). A new I-94 will be issued when you return to the U.S.. If you lose this card (I-94), you will need to apply for a replacement. Make sure you contact the International Student Advisor as soon as possible to pick up the necessary forms and discuss the application procedure if you need to replace the I-94. The process is one that can take between four to six weeks. This card is absolutely necessary for departure from the United States, i.e. holiday, winter and Spring break.

The SEVIS I-20 Certificate of Eligibility

A SEVIS I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant (F-1) Student Status for academic and language students can be issued by Pine Manor College to student applicants who meet admission and financial requirements. The I-20 from Pine Manor College enables students to apply for an F-1 visa and allows entrance to the U.S..

The SEVIS Form I-20 prints as a 3 page document: page 1 contains program and biographical information; page 2 consists of pre-printed instructions; and page 3 contains employment authorization data and spaces for travel authorizations. Form I-20 issued by SEVIS contains a bar code on the right side of the form, the word "SEVIS," and a unique SEVIS student ID number printed above the bar code. Dependents accompanying the F-1 student in F-2 status must each have their own SEVIS Form I-20, issued in the name of the dependent, that identifies them as a dependent.

The SEVIS Form I-20 is retained by the student. In instances of travel and employment, a student with a SEVIS Form I-20 will have a separate page for DSO signatures authorizing travel and for DSO recommendation or grants of employment authorization.