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International Student Documents


The country of your citizenship issues a Passport.

  • As a non-immigrant, your passport must remain valid for at least 6 months, in order for you to enter the United States or to change/extend your immigration status.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to maintain a valid passport during his/her stay in the United States. Allowing your passport to expire is considered a violation of your immigration status.
  • A passport normally can be renewed in the United States at your country’s embassy or general consulate.

The International Education Center (IEC) located inside the Butler Building (room 242) will be able to contact your embassy to make arrangements to renew your passport.  They can also provide any supporting documentation that may be required.


The I-20 is a certificate of eligibility created by Fayetteville State University and issued to students who intend to enroll at the university. This form can only be issued in the United States and is required for a student to obtain a visa, to be admitted to the United States. The I-20 is a United States government document.  The university has been authorized to issue this document on the government's behalf, to students offered admission.

The I-20 has three (3) pages:
  • The first page contains information about you and your educational program.
  • The second page details your responsibilities as an international student while residing in the United States.
  • The third page contains space for employment authorizations and dependent information and any event that affects the student's status. A student cannot amend this form; only a representative from the university as authorized by the Immigration Service may make amendment.

Important Notice: Please be advised that if any of the information on the I-20 changes while you are attending Fayetteville State University – your anticipated completion date, degree program or financial support -- your international advisor must be notified immediately so that an updated form may be issued.

The form I-20 is required for your initial entry into the United States and for any subsequent entries. In order for the form to be valid it must have been signed by the designated school official within the immediate six (6) months prior to your leaving or reentering the United States. Therefore, it is imperative that you bring your I-20 to the International Student Center to have it signed prior to any travel outside the United States.

In order for a signature to be given for travel, you must complete the request for travel form in the International Student Center and submit that form with your I-20 to an office staff member. Verification of your files requires that your request be made at least one week prior to when you plan to travel.

Expired I-20: It is imperative that you do not let your visa expire. Your program end date is located in section 5 of the I-20 form. If your program end date is approaching and you have not completed the requirements to get your degree, bring your current I-20 to the IEC to apply for an extension. Not completing your studies as scheduled will cost you money. You will have to apply for reinstatement, supply a letter from Fayetteville State University, and write one yourself explaining why you are not completing your program in the time allotted. The completed packet plus the fee will be forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security by the university. Please be advised that applying for reinstatement does not guarantee that it will be granted.


A Visa is issued by the United States Department of State and is normally affixed to a page in your passport. The visa allows you to legally enter the United States for a specific purpose and length of time. Traditionally, if an individual is planning to study in the United States, he/she is issued an F-1 or M-1 visa. If a spouse and/or dependent will also enter the U.S. with the student, he/she will be issued an F-2 visa. The J-1 visa is issued to researchers, scholars, and students who are sponsored by an agency or the university. Dependents of the J-1 visa holder are issued J-2 visas.

The visa allows you to enter the United States. If your visa expires while you are still in the U.S. and maintaining legal student status, you are not in violation of any laws. Once you gain admission to the U.S. with a visa, you will not need the visa again unless you leave the country.

If you want to leave the country and your visa has expired, contact the IEC to find out how you can renew your visa. The process for renewing the visa requires advance notice, so the required paperwork can be prepared.

It is not possible to renew a visa in the United States; you must go to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy in a country outside the United States, preferably your country of origin. Please note that the U.S. Consulates in Canada and Mexico do not usually consider third country nationals for visa issuance.

Form I-94: Arrival/Departure Record

The I-94 is an extremely important white card given to you either on the plane, prior to your arrival in the United States, or at the port of entry. This card is the official documentation as to how long an international student can remain in the United States. A student on the F-1 or J-1 visa usually has a “D/S”, meaning duration of status, stamped on his/her I-94. Duration of status means that the student is authorized to stay in the United States for the amount of time required to complete studies, and the student has met all the rules and regulations required with your particular visa status.

The eleven-digit number written on your I-94 is your admission number and is used by the Department of Homeland Security to monitor your entries and departures from the United States. If you lose your I-94 card, it is possible to request a copy of it for a fee.

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