Important Immigration Documents

International students and scholars in the U.S. should be aware of the immigration regulations that affect their stay here and should be certain to keep all documents appropriately updated and valid. You should be familiar with the following documents:


I-20 (For F-1 Students Only)

The I-20 form (F-1 immigration status) is the document issued by the institution or agency with which you are affiliated, in this case, Barry University. You presented the "initial" document to the United States Embassy or consulate abroad to obtain your visa, and you will present the "continued attendance" I-20 to border officials in order to enter the United States each time you travel abroad and return to the U.S. Make sure that page 3 of your I-20 has a valid signature dated within one year of your intended return date before you leave the United States. Failure to do so will prevent you from re-entering the United States.



The passport is a government document issued by your country of citizenship and must be kept valid at all times. The passport can usually be renewed through your embassy or one of your consulates in the United States. Passports within six months of expiration date may be rejected when traveling to and from certain countries; it is highly recommended that students renew their passport before traveling in the six month window.

Travel Documents in Lieu of Passport

If you have been issued a travel document in lieu of a passport by the government of the country in which you are a resident, the above information regarding passports applies to travel documents.



The U.S. visa is the stamp inside your passport that permits you to enter the United States. Students will have either an F-1 or a J-1 visa. The U.S. visa may expire while you are in the United States, but you cannot and need not renew it while you are here as long as your I-20 is current and you are pursuing a full course of study. A new visa will be required if the original one expires and you travel outside and then re-enter the United States. You must present the I-20 from the school with which you will be affiliated in order to obtain your visa.


I-94 Departure Record

The I-94 is the white card that you complete before passing U.S. border officials upon entrance to the United States. This document authorizes you to be in the U.S. as a student or scholar for a specific period of time (D/S- Duration of Status) in a specific program or department at a given institution. The I-94, like a passport, must be valid at all times. The I-94 should be kept with the passport. It will be surrendered to airline officials when you travel outside the U.S. and a new I-94 will be issued upon re-entry to the U.S. (except for Canadian and Bermudan students).