United States Immigration
The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is the governmental bureau which regulates and controls the foreign nationals who are studying in the U.S.A. It is the responsibility of international students to understand the regulations governing their stay in the United States.
The following documents need to be kept up-to-date:
- Passport: International students’ passports need to be valid while they are studying in the United States. Six months before a student’s passport expires, the student should begin the renewal process with their home country's consulate or embassy in the United States. Please call the consulate first to inquire as to the specific regulations for renewing a passport from the student's home country.
- F-1 I-20 (SEVIS): As international students enter the United States, they should have their original I-20. On the I-20 there will be an admission number which identifies the international student in the Immigration's computer system. It must be kept with the student’s passport. On the back of this form there is a place for the Immigration Official to sign. This can be used to re-enter the United States through the duration of the year. Never leave the United States unless the international student‘s original I-20 is signed by a Designated School Official (DSO) at Heidelberg University.
J-1 DS-2019 (SEVIS): This is the certificate of eligibility for an international student or visiting professor participating in an exchange program. As the students enter the United States, they should have the original DS-2019 stamped by the immigration official. It must be kept with their passport. On the back of that copy is a place for the Immigration Official to sign this certificate, which can be used to re-enter the United States through the duration of the year. Never leave the United States unless the original DS-2019 is signed by a Responsible Officer (RO) at Heidelberg University.
- I-94: Upon admission, the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) will provide an admission stamp (I-94) in the passport. The stamp will note the date of admission, class of admission (visa type), and a date or “D/S” which indicates how long a student is authorized to stay in the U.S. “D/S” stands for Duration of Status. Students arriving on F-1/J-1 visas are generally admitted for Duration of Status. This means that a student or exchange visitor is admitted into the U.S. for as long as the person is still doing the activity for which the visa was issued, rather than being admitted until a specific departure date. If your stamp does not have "D/S," please notify the Director of International Affairs & Studies at Heidelberg University.
- Visa: International Students cannot renew or enter the United States with an expired visa. If they return to their home country, they must obtain a new I-20 or DS2019.