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Immigration Information



Before leaving your home country, you must obtain a passport from your government and a visa from the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are accepted for study in the Intensive English Program at the LCC, you will receive a letter of acceptance with the appropriate form (I-20 or DS-2019) for obtaining a visa for entry into the United States.

Take both the letter of acceptance and the appropriate form to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, along with your passport and official letter of financial support, and any other supporting documents (such as your school records) to obtain your visa. Remember also to take your Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee receipt.


SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is an internet-based system that allows schools and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to exchange data on the visa status of international students. Accurate and current information is transmitted electronically throughout an F-1 or J-1 student's academic career in the United States.

The Language and Culture Center must enter into SEVIS a range of information on each intensive English student with F and J visas. See the LCC International Student Counselor or access the SEVIS web site for more information.


DHS: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for all non-citizens in the US. DHS enforces the immigration laws and regulations agencies.

I-20: An I-20 is the "Certificate of Eligibility." It is proof that a student has been accepted for a full course of study in the United States. This I-20 is stamped by DHS at the port of entry and shows (with the I-94)legal entry into the US.

Visa: A visa is document you get at a US embassy or consulate outside the US. This is a travel document that allows you to come to the US. There are many types of visas. Students are usually F-1. F visas cannot be renewed inside the US. If you leave the US, you must:

  • Give your I-94 to the DHS
  • Have a valid visa to return to the US
  • Have a valid I-20 to return to the US if you are in the F-1 status.

A B-2 visa is for tourists.

I-94: An I-94 is the electronic record the student receives upon entering the United States and shows what kind of visa the student used to enter the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers scan a student's passport to generate this information. Students can retrieve their I-94 online using their U.S. visa and the entry stamp date placed in their passport by CBP officers when they were first admitted to the U.S. The entry stamp is usually placed on the page next to the student's visa.

Students may retrieve their I-94 online using the following website:

In some cases, a hard copy I-94 may be issued, which is a "white card" the student receives upon entering the US. This gives you legal status in the US. A DHS official will stamp it in red ink with your status, for example F-1. It will also show how long you can stay in the US. Normally, F-1 visas are marked D/S and students can stay until they finish the program or until the end date on their I-20, whichever comes first.


If you transfer to another school, you must see the LCC International Student Counselor and follow all U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations.


You must report any change of address within 10 days to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The LCC will do this for you. See the International Student Counselor.


See your Student Handbook or the International Student Counselor.


What is SEVIS?

SEVIS is a Department of Homeland Security Internet-based system that maintains accurate and current information on non-immigrant students (F and M visas), exchange visitors (J visa), and their dependents (F-2, M-2, and J-2 visas). The SEVIS system tracks information, such as where you entered the country, your changes of address, and your changes in program of study. You can find more information about SEVIS at: If you have any question about SEVIS, please see the International Student Counselor

REMEMBER: It is your responsibility to follow all immigration rules. The rules are very strict, and being out-of-status can cause many serious problems.

Follow the correct procedure to

  • travel outside the US,
  • transfer to another school, or
  • take a vacation.