Immigration and Visa Documents


Regardless of your visa type, you should be sure to bring all the documents listed below to the International Students and Scholars Office immediately upon arrival so that copies can be made for your file. You should also become familiar with the following documents and be aware of their importance in relation to your immigration status:

PASSPORT: Your passport should be updated before you depart for the U.S. and must be kept valid at least six months into the future at all times. Your passport can be renewed through your country’s consulate or embassy in the U.S., or in your own country during a vacation abroad.

FORM I-20: This is the Certificate of Eligibility for the regular F-1 visa and F-1 student status. It is issued to you by Pace University once you have been accepted and have provided financial documentation showing your ability to pay for your education and living expenses. The I-20 is used to obtain the F-1 student visa at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your country. It is also required for entry to the U.S.

After your initial entry to the U.S., your I-20 must be properly endorsed by a Designated School Official (DSO) in the International Students and Scholars Office before leaving the U.S. for temporary travel during your studies.  Endorsements are required in order to reenter the U.S. and are generally valid for one year, although it is recommended that you have it signed every 6 months if travelling. The I-20 does not have to be signed every time you travel.

Please note the date of completion of study noted on the I-20 is an estimated date. It may take you more or less time to complete your program of study. You must be enrolled full time and making “normal progress” toward completion of your program at all times. If you will not finish your studies by the completion date on your I-20, you need to contact the International Students and Scholars Office prior to that date to request an extension.

FORM DS-2019: This is the Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 Exchange Visitors (both students and visiting scholars). It is generally issued to sponsored or exchange students with government or school support, and may also be issued to visiting professors, researchers and short-term scholars coming to Pace. After your initial entry to the U.S., your DS-2019 must be signed by a Responsible Officer (RO) in the University before leaving the U.S. for temporary travel during your program.  The signature will be required in order to reenter the U.S.  Students holding DS-2019 forms issued by program sponsors other than Pace (IIE, ACTR, LASPAU, etc.) must have them signed by a Responsible Officer of that organization. Signatures for travel may be valid for the entire length of your stay in the U.S., but check with your Responsible Officer to be sure.

Please note that the ending date on the DS-2019 does not include a grace period. You are expected to complete your J-1 program by the expiration date listed on the DS-2019, and depending upon the program, you may or may not be eligible for an extension of stay.

VISA: When you go to the American embassy or consulate in your country and present your I-20 or your DS-2019, the Consular Officer will place a visa stamp on a page inside your passport. This visa gives you permission to apply for entry to the U.S. It indicates the type of visa you have been given for your stay in the U.S. and when it will expire.

Please note that a visa does not determine the length of time you may stay in the U.S. It is basically an entry permit and only needs to be valid at the time of entry or reentry to the U.S.  Therefore, you should not be concerned if it expires while you are here unless you are planning to travel overseas and reenter the U.S. The length of time you are authorized to stay in the United States is determined by your approved program of study only, as indicated on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 and your Form I-94.

FORM I-94: Effective April 30th, 2013 the US Custom and Border Protection (CBP) has automated Form I-94 (arrival/departure record)at air and sea ports of entry to the US. I-94 paper form, issued by CBP when you enter the US, will no longer be provided to an international traveler upon arrival. CBP will continue to issue paper I-94 records at all land borders and at secondary inspection. Instead, an electronic record of your entry will be created but not provided to you. However, your I-94 information will be made available online.

Once you have entered the U.S., you will be able to access your I-94 admission record and information online though the following link: You will be required to enter your passport and entry information in order to obtain your I-94 record. This record will continue to be available to you while you remain in the U.S. Once you depart the United States, this online record will no longer be available for you to view. Once you are able to access your I-94 record on the CBP website, you should review all information and ensure that it is correct. Your record should indicate the day you entered the U.S., the class of entry (visa type) and the duration of stay which should be annotated as "D/S" (duration of status/studies). If all information is correct, print and make a copy for your records.