Foreign students are admitted to the United States by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the purpose of being a full-time student. It is the student's responsibility to keep informed about immigration rules and regulations and any changes that may occur during their stay in the US. Any participation in activities outside of school from employment to vacation is considered a privilege and is only allowable under strict DHS rules. The penalty for violating any of these immigration laws can be quite severe, including deportation and a bar from reentry to the US for 10 years. Therefore it is extremely important that students understand their responsibilities.
What is SEVIS?
The Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a U.S. government database that allows schools and federal immigration agencies to exchange data on the status of international students. Information is transmitted electronically throughout an F-1 or J-1 student’s academic career in the U.S. Each student has a unique SEVIS ID number, which is printed on your I-20 in the top right corner. The SEVIS program is funded in part by your SEVIS fee, the I-901 receipt ($200 for F-1 students) to the Department of Homeland Security. An electronic record is created in SEVIS for you after you are admitted and confirm enrollment at King’s College. This allows King’s College to issue an I-20 form, which you need to gain F-1 status. When you apply for a student visa and arrive at a U.S. port of entry, the consular officer or immigration official may consult SEVIS in addition to your supporting documents to verify eligibility for F-1 status. King’s College will continue to provide electronic reports throughout your academic career, noting information such as registration, address changes, academic program changes, degree completion and immigration status violations.
It is important to understand the F-1 immigration regulations in order to maintain status while you are in the U.S. It is your responsibility to understand and comply with the terms of your immigration status during your stay in the United States. A violation of the immigration regulations (for example, failure to maintain a full-time credit load or unauthorized employment) could jeopardize your F-1 status and legal stay in the U.S. Review this information carefully and contact the Office of International Recruitment or the International Student Advisor if you have questions.
What is F-1 Status?
“Status” is your nonresident category officially granted by an immigration official. To be in F-1 “status” means that you are legally in the U.S. and have benefits and restrictions specified in the immigration regulations for the F-1 visa category. You gain status either by entering the U.S. with F-1 documents (described below), or for people already in the U.S. in a different status, by applying to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a change of status.
Your admission to the U.S. is for a Period of Authorized Stay or a "duration of status," that is, for the length of your F-1 status. F-1 status covers the period when you are a full-time registered student making normal progress toward your degree (or exchange program), plus an optional period of practical training following completion of studies, plus a 60-days "grace period" to prepare to depart the U.S. or change to another status. Your length of authorized stay is not related to your F-1 visa expiration date. The F-1 visa is specifically for entry into the U.S. The F-1 visa might expire before your status expires, or your status might end before your visa expires.
Use the navigation menu on the left for more information regarding all aspects of your legal status as an F-1 student.
What is the Form I-20?
All F students that study in the United States need a Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.” Once accepted into a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school, international students will receive a Form I-20 from their designated school official (DSO) depending on their program of study and purpose for coming to the United States. Find more info in the Documents section.
Events Requiring I-20 Update
Many kinds of updates must be reported to the Department of Homeland Security through SEVIS and must be changed on your I-20. Notify the Office of International Recruitment of the following changes and request an updated I-20. Keep every I-20 for your permanent record, even after you graduate. Do not discard the old ones, even from previous schools. It is your responsibility to keep your I-20s in case you need them to apply for future immigration benefits.
- Program Extension
If you are unable to complete your course of study before the completion date noted in item 5 on your I-20, you must request an extended I-20 before your current I-20 expires.
- Changing Schools
You must register full-time at King’s College, since King’s issued your I-20 and oversees your SEVIS record. If you decide to transfer to another school, contact the Office of International Student Recruitment prior to completing your final semester at King’s College. You will need to complete the I-20 transfer form and submit a copy of your acceptance letter from your new school.
- Change of Level
If you complete your current program of study and plan to continue at King’s College in another program (for example, Master’s program), your I-20 must be updated.
- Change of Major
If you are accepted into a new major or if you change your major (for example, pre-major to History or History to Biology), you must request a new I-20.
- Change of Funding
If there is a substantial change in the source or amount of your funding, report this change to the Office of International Student Recruitment and a new I-20 will be issued to you. For example, if you currently self-pay your tuition but receive a scholarship, your I-20 indicates that you use personal funds to pay for expenses so you must request a new I-20.
- Name Change
The name on your I-20 should match the name on your passport. If you change any part of your legal name—first/given name, middle name, or last/family name—on your passport, this change should be reflected on your I-20. Conversely, if you want a different name on your I-20, the DSO will wait for you to change your passport first before updating the I-20. Note that SEVIS is a separate database from the King’s College database. To change your name in the King’s College database, use WebAdvisor.