Immigration Track

Immigration Terminology

Group of students outside

SEVIS – Student and Exchange Visitor Information System is an internet based database that was designed to help maintain information on international students and exchange visitors who are currently in the United States. Schools are required to make regular electronic updates on the records of students enrolled in F-1 status.

USCIS – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

Designated School Official (DSO): At PCC International Student Advisors are the Designated School Officials. DSO is a term used by USCIS which refers to a person authorized to issue I-20 forms and update student records in SEVIS and who is knowledgeable about F-1 immigration regulations. You should always contact an International Student Advisor if you have any questions related to your immigration status.

I-94 Arrival / Departure Record: This small white card is a record of your legal entry into the U.S. and your immigration status.

Duration of Status (D/S): When you enter the U.S. this should be noted on your I-94. D/S means that you are permitted to stay legally in the US until you complete your course of study (degree) as long as you maintain your F-1 status. Please refer to the “Maintaining F-1 Status” section for more information. D/S includes the time spent pursuing a full course of study, period of practical training, and 60 days grace period to prepare for departure from the U.S. after completing a program of study and/or practical training.

F-1 Status: Means that you are authorized by USCIS to be in the U.S. for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study at an academic institution in the U.S. There are sections of the law and regulations that define what F-1 students can and cannot do while in the U.S. and students must abide by them in order to maintain their legal status.

In status: If you comply with USCIS regulations and maintain your F-1 status, you are considered “in status”.

Out of status: If you do not comply with USCIS regulations of enrollment or work authorization requirements, you are considered “out of status”.

Program Extension/Extension of stay: If you cannot graduate by the date shown on Item 5 of your I-20, schedule an appointment with an Advisor to extend your graduation date 30 days before.

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