Designated School Official (DSO)

  • The DSO is a Lone Star College employee, not a private or
    U.S. government representative
  • Assists with your entry document preparation
  • Certifies your travel documents
  • Signs your I-20 when you leave the U.S. (ex. for vacation or
    country visits)
  • Provides academic advising

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)

  • Agency under U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Provides services for
    • citizenship
    • international student authorization
    • Change of Status (COS)
    • Optional Practical Training (OPT) following college graduation
    • asylum
    • lawful permanent residency
    • employment authorization
    • refugee status
    • replacing immigration documents
    • family and employment-based immigration
  • Closest Texas office is in Mesquite, near Dallas


  • This person is in the U.S. for temporary duration for a specific activity
    • study
    • business
    • travel
  • This person has established residence outside the US and intends to return upon completion of specific activity

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

  • Department established in 2002
  • Absorbed the responsibilities of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and organized them into three separate divisions
    • U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS)
    • Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)
    • Customs & Border Protection (CBP)

Duration of Stay (D/S)

  • Length of time for which F-status individuals are admitted to the U.S.
  • This stamp is entered on your I-94 card at your port of arrival
  • Maintaining normal course of studies or otherwise complying with immigration regulations permits you to remain legally in the US

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

  • Photo card issued by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) office under the I-765 form
  • F-1 students may qualify to apply for an EAD to engage in Optional Practical Training (OPT) or off-campus employment based on economic hardship

F-1 Student

  • This is your non-immigrant status upon receiving a SEVIS I-20 from a certified college in the US to pursue full-time studies
  • U.S. Consulate will stamp your passport indicating status if approved

I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)

  • Considered your legal entry into the country
  • White card issued at arrival airport or border entry by a DHS officer
  • Will be stamped ‘D/S’ for “duration of stay"

SEVIS I-20A-B (I-20)

  • Validates your immigration status in the U.S.
  • Issued by a DHS-certified college upon completion of enrollment requirements
  • Use this document to apply for an F-1 student visa at your country’s U.S. Embassy
  • If lost, inform your International Student Advisor immediately

Release Date

  • A transfer of your SEVIS record from your current school to another school of your choice
  • Transfer is final once SEVIS is released on the date you’ve requested; speak with your advisor before planning your transfer


  • To be reinstated, speak with your International Student Advisor about filing a Form I-539
  • Staying past the end date of your I-20 is a violation of your immigration status

Completion Date

  • All degree requirements (final exams and papers) have been met and you have received your final grades
  • You will have 60 days after your graduation date to depart out of the country or plan your transfer or enroll for another program
  • Not the date on your SEVIS I-20
  • Not your graduation date

College Transfer

  • Can occur once you have satisfied the enrollment requirements for the school of your choice
  • Verify procedure with your current DSO/International Student Advisor and the school to which you plan to transfer


  • Every foreign national entering the U.S. has a non-immigrant classification
  • Students have F-1 status
  • You are bound by the F-1 rules for the duration of your stay in the U.S.
  • Failure to follow the rules is considered a violation of your immigration status
  • Staying past the end date of your I-20 is a violation of your immigration status
  • I-20s are marked with an End Date for completing your studies – do not allow the end date to expire


  • Form of photo identification issued for a period of five to 10 years
  • Must renew within three months of expiration--check with your country’s embassy or consulate for specific rules
  • Must remain valid if you are applying for benefits from your college or USCIS
  • Embassies are located in Houston, Texas, New York or Washington, D.C.


  • A computer-generated security-printed label stamped in your passport by the U.S. Consulate
  • Indicates purpose of one’s visit into a particular country and category for which travel is approved
  • Does not indicate how long a person may remain in the U.S.

Traveling Abroad & Re-entry

  • If you depart the U.S. and re-enter on your student status you will need a valid passport containing a valid visa, and an I-20 with a DSO/International Student Advisor’s signature within the past six months
  • Be prepared to verify your finances
  • Renew your visa while in your home country if it is expired

Program Extension (Extension of Stay)

  • Speak with your DSO/International Student Advisor about a program extension if you need more time to complete studies
  • I-20s are marked with an End Date for completing your studies – do not allow the end date to expire
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