Visa and Immigration Details

Maintaining Immigration Status

International students must understand the importance of maintaining their status while in the United States. “Maintaining status” means to abide by the regulations and reporting requirements governing your immigration status. Failure to properly maintain your status may result in the termination of your program and losing your eligibility to study in the United States. Failing to maintain your status could result in serious consequences and may affect your ability to remain in or return to the United States.

You should consult with the Office of Intercultural Relations (OIR) on the latest regulations and procedures. Lake Forest College expects its students to pursue their studies full-time, attend their registered courses, and make satisfactory academic progress. Although not exhaustive, you are responsible for the following in order to maintain your status:

  • Maintain a valid passport at all times. 
  • Complete the SEVIS registration form provided by the OIR at the start of each semester so you can be registered in SEVIS.
  • Maintain a full class load (minimum of 3 full-credit courses) and make progress towards your courses, including attending all courses.
  • Consult with OIR before you travel outside of the U.S. or change your enrollment status.
  • Contact OIR within 10 days of a change of major(s) or address.
  • Contact OIR before you transfer to another school, extend or shorten your program of study, or experience changes in your financial status.
  • Do not participate in any unauthorized on or off-campus employment. Consult with our OIR before accepting off-campus employment. Limit all on-campus employment to no more than 20 hours per week when school is in session; more than 20 hours per week is allowed during winter and summer breaks.

Definitions and Immigration Documents

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System 

SEVIS is an internet-based system for maintaining information about international students in the United States. This system allows colleges and universities to exchange information with the U.S. government about international students throughout their academic program in the U.S. administered by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an investigative division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Lake Forest College is required to report information in SEVIS, including: your name, date of birth, address (abroad and in the U.S.), country of citizenship, date of enrollment, confirmation of enrollment (or failure to enroll), majors and minors, failure to maintain status, and completion of your program of study.

The following is an overview of your immigration documents. Please keep the documents in a safe and secure place when they are not in use.

Form I-20

The form I-20 is issued by Lake Forest College to prove to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that a student has been lawfully admitted and is expected to enroll at the school. You must present your I-20 to an immigration official every time you enter the U.S. from abroad.

You must have page 3 of your I-20 signed by an international student adviser before you travel outside of the U.S. Travel signatures are vaild for one year.


Your visa is the stamp that was issued to you by a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas and placed in your passport. It is important only for entry into the U.S. The expiration date on your visa simply determines the time during which you may enter the U.S. It does not affect how long you can stay in the country and it does not have to remain valid while you are here. You will need to renew your visa if it has expired and you are planning to leave and re-enter the U.S.

I-94 Card

The form I-94 is the small white card (usually stapled to the passport) that proves when and where the person last entered the United States. It gets stamped at the US port of entry.

The number found on the I-94 card is your admission number. This number will be used to record all of your entries into and out of the U.S. Every time you leave the U.S. for more than 30 days, you will be required to relinquish your card at the border.

The letters “D/S” will also be written on your card. This is short for “duration of status,” and indicates that you are eligible to remain in the United States until 60 days after the end date shown on your I-20. For F-1 students, duration of status is defined as the length of time necessary to complete your academic program.


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