General Information about Student Visas

Eastern University handles two types of student visas: F-1 visas for academic study, and J-1 visas for exchange students and scholars.

The F-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa intended for persons who plan to enter the U.S. temporarily for the purpose of full-time study, and return to their home countries following completion of their studies. As such, the U.S. Department of State only approves the F-1 visa application if the interviewing consular officer is convinced the student has no intention of immigrating to the U.S.
The J-1 Visa is intended for students participating in pre-arranged exchanges between Eastern University and partner schools in other countries, and for exchange scholars who serve as guest lecturers or research professors under pre-arranged agreements.

Upon entering the U.S., a student visa-holder will be issued an arrival-departure number (formerly the I-94 card) assigned in conjunction with a stamp in the passport with a specific date of entry, visa class, and an indication of how long the student may legally stay in the U.S. Normally this will appear as a handwritten class “F-1” or “J-1” until “D/S”, which means for the duration of status. This designation will take precedence over the expiration date on the visa sticker the consular official placed in the passport, as long as the student remains inside the U.S. If the student travels outside the U.S., he or she will only be allowed to re-enter if the visa has not expired, and he/she has a current SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 with travel permission signed byt the designated school official or responsible officer. The student receives a new number upon reentry to the U.S. as an arrival/departure record. The number is no longer issued on an I-94 card, but the student must access their assigned number online after arrival. Assistance is available in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.

Once awarded student status in the U.S., an international student must be careful to maintain status. The primary ways a student can fall out of status are to fail to enroll in a full-time course load in each subsequent semester, and to work illegally. If a student discovers he or she has fallen out of status, he/she should report immediately to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) to initiate the reinstatement process. The international student should maintain regular contact with ISS in order to insure he or she communicates any change of address, change in course registration, travel plans, campus employment, and other such issues, all of which may impact a student’s visa status. An International Student Handbook with more detailed information is available on the ISS website as well as in hard copy from the ISS office.

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