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International Students

Students and Exchange Visitors

The international student or exchange visitor has some responsibilities to attend to before they can enter the United States to attend a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) certified school or program. This section of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website is here to assist with those responsibilities.

How To Become a Student or Exchange Visitor

One of the first responsibilities for the international student or exchange visitor is to apply for a visa. The following links will assist with this process. Keep in mind that visas are issued by American embassies and consulates.

Exchange Visitors (J visa)
Department of State Visas

SEVIS Approved Schools

List of Approved Schools (PDF)
(updated: November 3, 2008)

Map of Approved Schools
(updated: November 3, 2008)

Tips for Students and Exchange Visitors

Upon Arriving at a U.S. Port of Entry (US POE)

What a Student Can Expect

Spanish (PDF)
(updated: November 3, 2006)

Japanese (PDF)
(updated: November 3, 2006)

Korean (PDF)
(updated: November 3, 2006)

Chinese (PDF)
(updated: November 3, 2006)

What an Exchange Visitor Can Expect

Spanish (PDF)
(updated: November 3, 2006)

Japanese (PDF)
(updated: November 3, 2006)

Korean (PDF)
(updated: November 3, 2006)

Chinese (PDF)
(updated: November 3, 2006)

Maintaining Your Status

English (PDF)
Spanish (PDF)
Arabic (PDF)
Japanese (PDF)
Korean (PDF)
Chinese (PDF)

Important Immigration Documents

I-20/DS 2019
Border Crossing Cards
Employment Authorization Documents


FAQ for Travel Reentry: F Visa (PDF)
FAQ for Travel Reentry: M Visa (PDF)

I-515A Tool Kit
(updated: October 3, 2007)

I-515A Tool Kit (PDF) will help to ensure a smooth travel experience for International Students and Exchange Visitors.


Pursuing Employment In The United States (PDF)
Memo on Pursuing Employment In The United States (PDF)

Social Security

New Procedure between the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (PDF)

Practical Training

8 CFR 214.2(f)(10) Practical training. Practical training may be authorized to an F–1 student who has been lawfully enrolled on a full time basis, in a Service-approved college, university, conservatory, or seminary for one full academic year. This provision also includes students who, during their course of study, were enrolled in a study abroad program, if the student had spent at least one full academic term enrolled in a full course of study in the United States prior to studying abroad. A student may be authorized 12 months of practical training, and becomes eligible for another 12 months of practical training when he or she changes to a higher educational level. Students in English language training programs are ineligible for practical training. An eligible student may request employment authorization for practical training in a position that is directly related to his or her major area of study. There are two types of practical training available:

Optional Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training

Departing the U.S.


Emergency Information

SEVIS Tips for Emergency Evacuations
Replace Lost or Stolen Documents
Emergency FAQs

Technical Information

New and Improved SEVIS I-901 Fee Transfer Capability (2/12/2006)

Useful Links

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Information on who must enroll in U.S. VISIT and the processes used.

USCIS Forms and Fees
Copies of forms and instructions to use when filing with USCIS for a benefit. This includes links to electronic filing.

General information on U.S. immigration policies.

Department of State

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
Information on exchange visitors (J visa holders) and exchange visitor sponsors.

Catalog of State Designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsors

Consular Affairs
Page includes links to locate local consulates.
Obtain a Student Visa

Assists international students with finding, applying, and preparing for study at an accredited U.S. college or university.

Legal Requirements for Foreign Students in Public K-12 Schools
Department of State web page summarizing the legal requirements for foreign students wishing to study in United States public schools at the K thru 12 grade levels.

Social Security

Social Security Administration (SSA)
Information on how and when you can obtain a Social Security Number.

Federal Income Tax Information

Tax Information for Foreign Students and Scholars.
Foreigners temporarily present in the United States as students, scholars, teachers, researchers, exchange visitors, and cultural exchange visitors are subject to special rules with respect to the taxation of their income. This web page contains extensive information on the rules and requirements for those individuals.

Department of Education

Postsecondary Educational Institutions and Programs Accredited by Accrediting Agencies and State Approval Agencies Recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education
The database lists approximately 6,900 postsecondary educational institutions and programs, each of which is accredited by an accrediting agency or state approval agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a "reliable authority as to the quality of postsecondary education" within the meaning of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The database does not include a number of postsecondary educational institutions and programs that elect not to seek accreditation but nevertheless may provide a quality postsecondary education. The U.S. Department of Education recommends that the database be used as one source of qualitative information and that additional sources of qualitative information be consulted.

Immigration Laws and Regulations

Federal Register Home Page
Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.

Electronic Version of 8 CFR 214
Links to all CFR(8 CFR 214 is the section of the immigration regulations dealing with nonimmigrant status.)

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