Your passport is the basic international document which identifies you as a citizen of your country. The spelling of your name given in your passport should be used for all records while you are in the United States. The spelling of your name on your visa will be used on your I-20 record.
Always keep a copy of your passport in a safe place, and use the copy to provide documentation if you send it in for renewal.
• Sign your passport; it is not valid unless it has been signed by the bearer.
• Fill in the information required on the inside front cover of the passport. In the case of accident or other circumstances, it may be necessary to contact a designate agent or the next of kin.
• Register your passport if you mail it while abroad. Check the expiration date of your passport before you travel. Obtain a new one if needed (i.e. U.S. law requires passports from many countries to be renewed six months before the expiration date).
• Check the visa requirements of all countries you plan to visit and obtain necessary visas from the appropriate foreign consular representatives. Check state.gov for a list of foreign embassies and consulates in the US.
• Keep a copy of your biographical, visa and other information pages.
• Lend your passport for use by a friend or stranger. Remember that it is an official government document for use only by the person to whom it is issued.
• Use your passport as collateral or pledge. Alter, insert, or overwrite any information or entry in the passport. If a change is necessary, it must be made officially by authorized government agents. Pack your passport in your luggage. When traveling, keep it readily available, but safe.
• Tear or substitute pages in your passport.
A U.S. visa is a passport page-sized sticker in your passport. It is used for entry into the U.S. and can only be obtained from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside the U.S. The visa indicates what status you have upon entry to the U.S., as well as the date of issuance and expiration. After you enter the U.S., the visa is unimportant unless you leave and wish to re-enter. If you plan to travel outside the U.S., and your visa has expired, you should contact the DSO to obtain an I-20 to use to apply for a new visa. Never write on or tamper with your visa sticker. For more information on student visas, click here.
Also known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students, this form is a United States Department of Homeland Security document issued by SEVP-certified schools that provides supporting information on a student’s F or M status. Since the introduction of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the form also includes the student tracking number (SEVIS ID number) and school code. Your DSO will issue your initial I-20 the summer before you begin your first year at Centre and will issue updated I-20s if you apply for CPT or OPT during your college career. You need to receive the I-20 before you can apply for a student visa.
The I-94 is the Arrival/Departure Record, in either paper or electronic format, issued by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to foreign visitors entering the United States. After April 30, 2013, most Arrival/Departure records will be created electronically upon arrival. Instead of a paper form, the visitor will be provided with an annotated stamp in the foreign passport. If provided a paper form, the admitting CBP Officer generally attaches the I-94 to the visitor’s passport and stamps the departure date on the form. Students need their I-94 in order to apply for a driver’s license, social security number, and employment. For more information or to obtain a copy of your I-94, click here.