F-Visa Basics

Forms and Documents

Passport.  Please be sure to note the date of expiration of your passport. A passport can be extended or replaced through your country's consulate in the U.S. You are required to have a valid passport at all times while in the U.S. If your passport expires before the date on which you plan to leave the U.S., you should present it to your consulate or embassy for renewal; consulates can be found in California.

Visa.  This is the stamp placed in your passport by the U.S. Consulate. It is only for the purpose of allowing you to enter the U.S. If your visa expires while you are in the U.S., it is NOT possible or necessary to get a new visa unless you exit the country.

Student Visa Validity Following a Break in Studies


Form I-94.  This is the white card that was attached to your passport by the immigration officials at the airport as you entered the U.S. Usually the period of stay for a foreign student will be denoted by D/S (Duration of Status). This means that you may stay in the U.S. for as long as you are a full-time student pursuing the degree listed on the I-20. This card will be taken away when you leave the U.S. A new I-94 will be issued each time you reenter this country. Retrieving your I-94 electronically.

SEVIS Form I-20.  The three-page document that is issued to you by the International Office upon admission to CSU, Fresno as an F-1 student.  It is used for obtaining a visa, entering the U.S., transferring schools, and informing the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when there is a change in your program.  As a foreign student, you should always be in possession of your I-20.  Before you leave the U.S. for temporary visits, you must have the I-20 endorsed by the ISSP DSO.  Otherwise, you will not be allowed to reenter the United States.  Your I-20 must not expire before you complete your program.  It is your responsibility to notify the Immigration Specialist if you will not be able to complete your program on time.

The F-2 spouse and minor children of an F-1 student shall each be issued an individual SEVIS Form I-20 once the proper documents have been submitted to the International Office. 

F-Nonimmigrants Entry and Exit FAQs:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement