What is an F-1 Visa?

An F-1 Visa is an immigration document that permits a foreign citizen to come to the US to study full-time for a temporary period of time.

How do I get an F-1 Visa?

You must first apply to GENY. If eligible for admission, GENY will issue an “Initial Attendance” I-20 form. Upon receipt of the I-20, you will need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee online at www.fmjfee.com. The SEVIS I-901 fee supports the system that tracks students and ensures they maintain their visa status while in the U.S. After paying the fee, you will then need to visit the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country to get an F-1 visa.

What is an I-20?

The I-20 is the document GENY issues to students who are going to study with us full-time. It enables students to apply for a student visa at their local U.S. embassy.

Why is an I-20 important?

The I-20, also called a “Certificate of Eligibility”, confirms that a non-immigrant has been admitted to a U.S. school that is approved by the U.S. government to enroll non-immigrants. The I-20 is issued by the Designated School Official (DSO) at the school where the student intends to study and is required by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate to obtain F-1 visa status. In addition, F-1 students must maintain a valid I-20 by studying full-time to remain legally in the U.S. after their start date. They must also communicate regularly with their DSO to ensure they maintain legal status while in the U.S.

When can I enter the U.S.?

You have up to 30 days before the start date listed on your I-20 to enter the U.S.

What is an I-94 and why is it important?

The I-94, also called the “Arrival/Departure Document,” is a small white piece of paper that you will receive when you enter the U.S. It will be attached to your passport/visa at the Port of Entry and it confirms successful entry into the U.S. The Port of Entry Officer will hand-write an expiration date on the I-94, which confirms how long you can legally stay in the U.S. Before leaving the Port of Entry, make sure your I-94 says “Duration of Status” or “D/S.” All F-1 visa holders should get “D/S” on their I-94. This means you are able to stay in the U.S. as long as you are maintaining valid F-1 status by studying full-time at a Department of Homeland Security approved school.