F-1, I-20, I-94 and Passport
F-1: As an international student, you came to Saint Paul College on a F-1 visa, which is a student visa. Your status is F-1 status. You have a F-1 visa in your passport with an expiration date. The F-1 visa is only used at the time to enter the US and go through Customs and Border patrol (CBP), along with a valid I-20. Once you enter the US and are in F-1 status, it is ok if your F-1 visa in your passport expires, as long as your I-20 is still valid and you are maintaining your student status.
I-20: Saint Paul College issued you a visa document called a I-20. This I-20 document is a legal document and it is your responsibility to notify the Designated School Official (DSO) or the international student advisor of any changes on your I-20, including:
- Country of citizenship
- Degree program
- Financial resources
- Addition or deletion of F-2 dependent(s)
I-20 Program End Date: Your I-20 states a program end date. If you are not finished with your degree program by the program end date, it is your responsibility to see the Designated School Official (DSO) or the international student advisor before the program end date and request a program extension. If you do not extend your program end date on your I-20 before it expires, and you are not finished with your studies, you are then “out of status” and are in violation of your legal F-1 status.
The program end date does not include the 12 months of Optional Practical Training.
If you finish your program before the program end date, the I-20 will automatically expire on the date that you complete your program.
Never throw out any I-20s! Even though you may be issued many I-20s throughout your time as a F-1 student, you need to keep all I-20s to prove you have been in valid and legal F-1 status for your entire time in the US. You need to produce copies of your I-20s for future USCIS applications or future visa applications.
I-94: Every time you go through Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at an international airport, you receive a I-94 number. You can find your I-94 number here:
https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/. It is recommended that every time to enter or re-enter the US, you go to this web site, find your I-94 number and print this out and keep a copy for your records. Your I-94 record is only kept for five (5) years and after that, it is more difficult and costly to access your I-94 record. You must give a copy of your I-94 record to the international student advisor at the International Student Orientation when you first arrive.
Passport: It is your responsibility to maintain a valid passport at all times. Six (6) months before your passport is going to expire, you must contact your Embassy or Consulate and follow their process to get a new passport.