Basic Terminology

  • SEVIS: A U.S. government database that is maintained by school officials who work with international students. Each international student has a record in SEVIS.
  • I-20:  Certificate of eligibility for F-1 status issued by the school to the student via the SEVIS system.
  • DS-2019: Certificate of eligibility for J-1 status issued by the program sponsor (usually the school) to the student visa the SEVIS system.
  • I-901 fee: A fee that is charged by the U.S. government for each SEVIS record. It must be paid by the student every time a new SEVIS record is created.
  • Visa: Entry document issued by the U.S. Department of State through an American embassy or consulate. Your visa gets you into the U.S.
  • Visa status: The status held by the person in a particular visa category. Maintaining your visa status keeps you in the U.S.
  • I-94: Document issued by Customs and Border Patrol agents to a foreign national when entering the United States. It proves lawful admission to the U.S., designates the visa category in which the person entered and indicates the duration of that visa status.
  • IP:  Abbreviation for Office of International Programs.

Basics of Status Maintenance

  • Maintain full-time enrollment. 12 credits for undergraduate students, 6 credits for graduate students.
  • Attend your classes. Failure to attend class will result in a grade of WF or WN, which is also a withdrawal from the class. This can affect your status if it puts you below the minimum credit hours required to maintain your status.
  • Limit your on-line courses. You are limited to 1 distance learning, online or hybrid class per semester to count towards your full-time enrollment.
  • Report your U.S. address. Notify IP if your address changes.
  • Do not work without authorization. Contact IP if you are offered a job, including unpaid work.
  • Do not enroll or attend classes at another school. You are only authorized to attend LTU.
  • Know your program end date. You cannot study after this date.
  • Maintain your health insurance. Your insurance policy must be valid at all times.
  • Contact IP for any issues or special authorizations.


Throughout your time at LTU, you will probably get updated I-20s or DS-2019s. Please keep any updated documents that we give you.

If you obtain any other new documents (new passport, visa or I-94), please provide a copy to IP. You can stop by the office and we’ll make a copy, or you can scan it and email it to us – whatever is easiest.

If you lose a document, notify us immediately. Please note that we cannot replace most of the documents, but we can usually help you figure out how to get them replaced.

ALWAYS keep your passport updated.  By U.S. law, you must always maintain a valid passport “6 months out.” This means that if you get within 6 months of your passport’s expiration date, you need to contact your embassy to get it renewed.


We do not recommend putting immigration documents into baggage that will be checked on the airplane. Always keep these documents in your carry-on bags.

You may travel anywhere within the United States while you are here. No additional documentation is required to travel within the U.S. We do recommend carrying your documents with you for identification purposes when traveling within the U.S. Keep them in a safe place.

If you wish to travel outside the U.S., you will need a valid passport from your home country, a valid U.S. visa, a current I-94, and an I-20 for continued attendance with a current travel signature on page 3. You should contact the International Programs staff to verify that your documents are in order.

If you want to travel to Canada, please note that it is a separate country. You will need to obtain a visa from the Canadian government to enter Canada. Contact the International Programs Office for more information.

Contact us:

A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center

Adam Berry
Associate Director of International Programs
Sarah Roberts
International Advisor