Passport and Visa Information
Remember to check all passport and visa procedures well in advance of your departure date. Depending on your location, rules and procedures for these documents will vary. It is extremely important that you are aware of the requirements and due dates for acquiring the appropriate documentation before traveling to SU. Please keep in mind that you, as the student, are ultimately responsible for obtaining the appropriate visa for the duration of your program.
Your passport gives you permission to travel abroad and is issued by your home government. It must be valid as long as you are in the U.S. We recommend you renew it at least six months before it expires. Keep it in a safe place, and keep copies of the identification page, visa stamp. Doing so will save time should you lose the passport.
When entering the U.S., your passport must be valid 6 months in the future.
Do not let your passport expire while in the U.S. Apply to your home country embassy to renew your passport several months before it expires.
Citizens of Canada need to present a passport when are arriving by air, or from outside the Western Hemisphere. As of January 2008, Canadians will also need a passport when entering the U.S. by land.
The visa process can be lengthy and complicated. The following links are good starting places to inform you about the United States visa process.Please note:
- If you are accepted to the exchange program you will be required to submit Proof of Finances before we can issue your visa documents.
- Before applying please review the required and ensure you can provide proof of the required amount of funds for the coming year.
- Even if accepted to the program, should you not provide this document, we will be unable to issue the necessary immigration paperwork for you to secure a visa.
World staff interacts with government offices to maintain the certifications for SU. World staff welcomes clients on a walk-in basis, and also answers inquiries by phone and email. Immigration is complicated and they are committed to helping university students, scholars, faculty and staff with the processes.
Below is some common terminology you will hear in terms of U.S. exchange visas. Please keep in mind that the SU World staff also provides documentation necessary for students and scholars to maintain their statuses.
Your I-94 card is issued to you by the CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) as you arrive in the U.S., and will be taken from you as you leave. It states the date on which you entered the U.S., and states your visa status. The number on the card is your immigration admission number, and will be used in any correspondence with the immigration. It should also be entered on your I-20.
The letters D/S (duration of status) on the I-94 mean that you are permitted to remain in the U.S. for as long as you remain in good standing as an international student. Your I-94 card will be taken from you when you leave the U.S. You will receive another if you reenter the U.S. Keep it safely with your passport at all times.
Visa / Visa-Stamp / Entry Visa
The terms visa, visa-stamp, and entry visa refer to the stamp in your passport, which allowed you to enter the U.S. The stamp indicates the number of entries you may make into the U.S. before it expires.
Your visa stamp does not determine how long you may remain in the U.S.
You are required to renew your visa stamp only if you are planning to travel outside the U.S. and re-enter after it has expired, or if you have used all the authorized number of entries and are reentering. It is not possible to apply for - and you do not need - a new visa while in the U.S. If you are planning to leave and re-enter the U.S. and your visa stamp is no longer valid, consult World for advice. As long as you are remaining in the U.S. it does not matter if your visa stamp expires, as long as your I-20 or DS-2019 is still valid and you are maintaining valid status.
You will need a new visa to re-enter the USA when you have used all the entries or after the expiration date.
Citizens of Canada do not need to have a U.S. visa stamp to enter in F or J visa status.
DS-2019 (for J-1 students and their J-2 dependents)
The DS-2019 certificate of eligibility allowed you to apply for a J-1 or J-2 visa stamp. You can think of it as a contract between you, SU, and the U.S. government. Once you are inside the U.S., it will show the length of time you may remain in J status in the U.S.. It will also show your program of study, and your funding. You may participate at the institution listed on the DS-2019.
Your status will end when you complete your program, or at the end date of the DS-2019, whichever comes first.
If you complete your program, or the DS-2019 expires, you have 30 days grace period before you must leave the U.S.
If you have not completed your program, and you need to extend the DS-2019, you must do this before the end date on the DS-2019.
Please consult the J sponsor with questions about any changes needed on the DS-2019.