Before traveling outside of the USA, please contact International Programs!
Special Note: During a vacation or break, remember that you are still an international student until you complete your studies. Carry your I-20 with you even if traveling with friends or family that are tourists. Make sure you always have an I-94 document that shows your student status!
Your passport is your own government's permit for you to leave and re-enter your own country. When you enter the United States, your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months into the future. If your passport will expire during your time in the USA, you must contact your Embassy for renewal procedures.
A visa is only used for entry into the United States. It shows the latest dates that you may enter this country. It does not show how long you can stay in the USA.
Renewing your visa
It is only necessary to renew your visa if you plan to leave and re-enter the U.S. after your visa has expired. If it is necessary for you to renew your visa in order to re-enter the USA, you may do so by going to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country to which you are traveling. It is not possible to renew your visa while you are in the USA.
If your visa will or has expired and you plan to travel outside the United States, contact the International Programs Office prior to your departure to make sure that you have proper documentation. You will need to consider the amount of time it will take to get a visa processed when traveling as some embassies require advanced on-line appointment dates and additional processing.
Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record)
It shows that you have been admitted lawfully and given status (F-1). As well, it contains an 11-digit ADMISSION NUMBER. The USCIS uses this number to keep track of your U.S. arrivals and departures. The D/S included on your I-94 means "duration of status". You are allowed to remain in the USA as long as you are following the regulations of your status (F-1). It is important that your I-94 remains with you when you travel at all times .
The I-94 is no longer given to you when you arrive in the U.S. It is completed online by the Border Agent when arriving in the USA. You must have a printed copy with you after you have crossed the border. A printed copy can be retrieved HERE. You must fill out all of the information to retrieve your admission number. Make sure you have your passport number, the country of issuance, most recent date of entry, and class of admission information on hand when completing the form.
Form I-20 ID
The I-20 is verification that you have been accepted to attend a school in the Unted States and you have been entered into the SEVIS Immigration system. The third page allows for endorsements of re-entry or work authorization. Before traveling, make sure the third page of your I-20 has been signed during each school year. It is important for you to be aware of the completion date listed on page 1 number 5. The date written on number 5 is the deadline for completing your program. See the Director of International Programs before it expires if you need to extend or shorten your program.
I-901 Receipt (SEVIS Fee)
This form is only required for students who enter the U.S.A. to study for their first time. Students who transfer between U.S. schools while maintaining their immigration status do not need to complete this form or pay this fee. For information on this SEVIS fee, please click here.
Proof of Finances
Usually this is only needed when you apply for a VISA, however, immigration always has the right to ask for proof of finances at the U.S. port of entry. It is your responsiblity to show immigration or the Embassy your ability to pay for your education. Possible documents to carry might be recent bank statements, statement of your financial aid, statement from Graceland University Accounting Services stating your balance, bank drafts for the amount that you will owe Graceland, etc.
Acceptance or Enrollment Verification
New students will need to carry their acceptance letter when entering the country. Some students may wish to carry enrollment verification, which may be printed from a student's My.Graceland account. Most students choose to carry their class schedule, showing full time enrollment for the current or upcoming semester. These documents are not commonly requested at the port of entry but are often requested when applying for a VISA.