Form I-20: Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant F-1 Student Status
The Form I-20 is an official document issued by U.S. universities to newly-admitted, non-immigrant students who wish to study in the U.S. It is required by the U.S. Department of State as part of an application for an F-1 student visa, providing basic information about the school and academic program to which the student was admitted.
At UT Dallas, I-20s are issued by the International Student Services Office (ISSO).
The visa is issued in the visitor’s passport by a U.S. embassy or consulate outside the United States. The visa indicates that the visitor is eligible to travel to the United States and request entry. Most visas allow for multiple use. The conditions and duration of the visa vary greatly depending on the visa category (tourist, student, investor, etc.) and political agreements between the U.S. and other countries.
To look up how long a specific visa might be valid, please review the U.S. State Department Reciprocity by Country webpage.
Once inside the U.S., keeping legal permission to remain in the U.S. depends on meeting the conditions of the assigned visa category. For an F-1 student this includes keeping the Form I-20 up-to-date and not staying beyond its expiration date.
Form I-94: Arrival/Departure Record
Upon arriving in the U.S., Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers determine if the visitor is admissible. The CBP will then create the electronic I-94 admission record. The I-94 website contains the most recent I-94 admission record and limited travel history. The most recent I-94 admission record can be printed and used as evidence of a lawful admission. The website will provide arrival and departure date information for a passport number for the past five years. Travel history will only be provided for the passport number entered for the search.