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Visa Information

F-1 students are foreign students who have been granted admission to the United States to pursue a full course of study at an academic institution. They are granted admission to the United States temporarily for the sole purpose of full-time study and must have a permanent residence in a foreign country that they have no intention of abandoning.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

SEVIS is the computerized system that collects and maintains information on the current status of non-immigrant students, exchange visitors, and their dependents during their stay in the United States.

Work with your Designated School Officials (DSOs) to ensure that your data in SEVIS is accurate and up to date. In addition, these officials can help you understand the requirements governing your immigration status and help you avoid making choices that might jeopardize your visa status.

DigiPen Institute of Technology is required to provide the following information about you through SEVIS:

  • Your name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Country of citizenship
  • Address
  • Status (enrolled, not enrolled)
  • Date of commencement of studies
  • Degree program and field of study
  • Practical training
  • Termination date and reason
  • Documents related to your admission

DigiPen’s Designated School Officials are:

Maintaining Visa Status

It’s important for international students to understand the concept of immigration status and the consequences of violating that status. Being aware of the requirements and possible consequences will make it more likely that you can avoid problems with maintaining your visa status.

Every visa is issued for a particular purpose and for a specific class of visitor. Each visa classification has a set of requirements that the visa holder must follow and maintain. Those who follow the requirements maintain their status and ensure their ability to remain in the United States. Those who do not follow the requirements violate their status and are considered “out of status.”

Failure to maintain status can result in arrest, and violators may be required to leave the United States. Violation of status also can affect the prospect of readmission to the United States for a period of time. Most people who violate the terms of their status are barred from lawfully returning to the United States for years.

Recognize and Avoid Status Violations

By violating the requirements that govern your immigration status, you may jeopardize your ability to remain in the United States as a student. Examples of violations include the following:

  • Failure to enroll by the date specified by your school

  • Unauthorized employment during your stay

  • Failure to leave the United States following completion of your course work, exchange visitor program, or program-related employment

  • Failure to maintain a full course load without prior authorization for a reduction from your Designated School Official

This is not a complete listing of potential status violations. Check with International Student Affairs for more information.

Note: Non-immigrant students or exchange visitors who fall out of status for reasons beyond their control may be eligible to apply for a reinstatement of status. The student or exchange visitor must work with school officials to determine if reinstatement is an option.

Leaving School

While in the United States, students in F-1 non-immigrant status must be continuously enrolled full time during the academic year until the completion of their programs of study. If you take a leave of absence, are suspended, are required to withdraw, or voluntarily withdraw, you must either:

  • Leave the United States
  • Transfer to another F-1 program, or
  • Obtain a change of non-immigrant status.

If you voluntarily take a leave of absence or withdraw, or if you are suspended or required to withdraw, you are given 10 days to leave the country, transfer to another school, or change your non-immigrant status. If you are taking a medical leave of absence, please contact Student Affairs as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Traveling Outside the US

Always get your I-20 signed and dated by a DSO before you leave the country. Plan ahead to ensure that you will not leave the country without an updated signature.

There are regulations regarding carrying a valid passport while traveling outside the US, as well as renewing your F-1 visa if it expires while you are still in school. Please refer to the Immigration Customs Enforcement website for details.

Financial Evidence

You must carry evidence detailing the source and amount of your funding. You can request a copy of your Financial Responsibility Form that you turned in with your Admission Application by requesting a “Release of Records” form from the front desk.

Current Class Schedule

It is recommended you carry a copy of your current class schedule in case additional documentation of your enrollment is requested. You can print your current class schedule from your Colleague Self-Service (CSS) account.

Entry Into Another Country

Before you leave the United States, contact the consulate of the country you plan to visit to inquire about visa and travel procedures. If you plan to visit Canada, contact the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles to determine if you need a visa to enter Canada.

Travel After Completion of Studies

If you travel outside the United States after completion of studies, you may return to the U.S. in F-1 status provided you are in possession of either:

  • A new I-20 indicating a new program of study, passport, visa, and evidence of financial support, or

  • An Employment Authorization Document (EAD), a letter verifying employment from your OPT employer, I-20 evidencing practical training and signed for travel within the last six months, proof of employment, passport, and visa.

Note: Students who complete studies have a “grace period” during which that may prepare to depart the United States. The grace period for F-1 students is 60 days. F-1 students on practical training must depart the U.S. within 60 days of the EAD card’s expiration date.

Immigration Resources