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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)
  • Depending on the Lone Star campus, the DSO may even provide 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) authorization, if eligible 
    • asylum
    • lawful permanent residency
    • other types of employment authorization
    • refugee status
    • replacing immigration documents
    • family and employment-based immigration
    • reinstatement of F-1 status following a status violation
  • Closest Texas office is in 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 (USCIS)
    • 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 or passport at your port of arrival
  • Complying with immigration regulations permits you to remain legally in the U.S. while you're studying full-time

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

  • Photo card issued by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) office through the I-765 application process
  • 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 U.S. to pursue full-time studies
  • U.S. Consulate will stamp your passport indicating F-1 visa if approved
  • Upon entry into the U.S., Customs & Border protection will stamp your I-94 card or passport to show F-1 status  

I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)

  • Considered your legal entry into the country
  • White card issued at border entry by a DHS officer if arriving by land
  • Admission stamp in passport if arriving by sea or air. Electronic copy of the admission record is available at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html 
  • 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 or Consulate
  • If lost, inform your DSO/International Student Advisor immediately
  • You must request an extension of your I-20 renewed if you do not complete your degree plan by the program end date listed on the I-20.

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


  • Process of "fixing" violations of your F-1 status.
  • This involves an application and fee to USCIS and approval is not guaranteed.
  • To be reinstated, speak with your DSO/International Student Advisor about filing a Form I-539

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
  • Renew within six months of expiration--check with your country’s embassy or consulate for specific rules
  • Must remain valid while on an F-1 visa
  • Foreign embassies or consulates are usually 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.
  • Is allowed to expire while in the United States
  • Must be renewed if leaving the U.S. and planning to re-enter to continue studies

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