Terms and Definitions

Admission/Departure Card [I-94 card] Customs and Border Protection has automated the I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) process for all travelers applying for admission at U.S. ports of entry. Air and sea travelers no longer need to complete paper Form I-94. Most Arrival/Departure records will be now be created electronically upon arrival. Instead of a paper form, the student will be provided with an annotated stamp in the foreign passport. A paper copy of the I-94 can be printed out after 24 hours of arrival in the United States.

Change of Status (COS) must be requested while remaining in the United States, in specific situations. The application must be submitted to USCIS on Form I-539 with accompanying documentation. Once approved, new visa status is granted.

Duration of Status (D/S) refers to the duration of the full course of study at an educational institution as approved by USCIS.

Employment Authorization Document (EAD or I-688B) is a small, laminated card with photo ID requested by the beneficiary on a Form I-765 and approved/issued by USCIS. It is given for OPT and Economic Hardship.

Nonimmigrant is an alien admitted to the United States for a specific purpose for a temporary stay which will end when its purpose has been accomplished. All F-1 students enter the U.S. under non-immigrant alien status.

Optional Practical Training is a benefit of legal F-1 status. Its purpose is to allow the student to gain practical experience directly related to the student's field of study. Granted by USCIS, OPT is granted based on documents submitted by applicant and the school's recommendation. Total length is 12 months, not extendible and may be used during school breaks, for part-time work while school is in session or after graduation provided the eligibility criteria are met and authorization is received. Work must be directly related to the student's area of study.

Reinstatement application for an F-1 student who has overstayed his/her authorized period of stay or otherwise violated his/her student status may be made on Form I-539 and be accompanied by supporting documents.

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is the government agency responsible for the admission, control and status of all aliens in the United States. The regulations of the USCIS are contained in Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations.


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