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These are the most common terms encountered when applying or maintaining your visa status.

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Academic Training

Work, training or experience that is related to a J-1 student’s major of area of study. 


Alien

Any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States.


Cap-Gap Extension

Is a regulatory provision which automatically extends an eligible F-1 student’s status to bridge the gap between the end of F-1 status and start of H-1B status, thereby allowing the student to remain in the US during the “gap.”


DS-2019

A certificate of eligibility for exchange visitor status (J-1) issued by the academic institution and used by the exchange visitor to obtain a visa, enter the United States and to maintain J-1 status.  DS-2019 is to be kept with exchange visitor at all times.


F-1

A student pursuing a full-course study at an academic institution in the United States that has been given permission by the Department of Homeland Security to accept F-1 students.


I-20

A certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student status (F-1 or M-1) issued by the school and used by the student to obtain a visa, enter the United States and to maintain student status.  A student is expected to keep his/her I-20 with them.


I-94

An arrival-departure record endorsed by the immigration officer at the port of entry with the status of the visitor and the length of time he/she may remain in the United States.  The I-94 is a small white card that is usually stapled in the passport upon entry.


J-1

A nonimmigrant coming under the exchange visitor program of an academic institution.  Students who are totally funded by personal or family funds are generally not eligible for J-1 status.


Nonimmigrant

Someone from another country who want to come for a temporary visit to the United States and plans on departing the U.S. upon completion of the purpose for their visit.  Persons in F-1, M-1, and J-1 status are considered non-immigrants.


Overstay

Someone who entered the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa and stayed beyond the period of time authorized. 


SEVIS

An Internet based tracking systems that allow schools, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to exchange data on the status of F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors.


Visa

A stamp placed in a passport that allows someone entry into the United States according to the conditions for that visa type.  The validity period on the visa is the time period in which someone may make an entry into the United States.  The validity period of the visa has no relation to the period of time someone is allowed to remain in the United States.