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U.S. Immigration Law Basics. U.S. Immigration Basics. ISSO advisors are here to help Visa stamps and visa “status” “Regulations” & “Maintaining status” – (how to follow the rules) Working Traveling. ISSO advisors are your advocates. We are here to assist you, but… We need YOUR help…

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u s immigration basics
U.S. Immigration Basics
  • ISSO advisors are here to help
  • Visa stamps and visa “status”
  • “Regulations” & “Maintaining status” – (how to follow the rules)
  • Working
  • Traveling
isso advisors are your advocates
ISSO advisors are your advocates
  • We are here to assist you, but…
  • We need YOUR help…
  • It is a partnership...
visa stamps visa status
Visa Stamps & Visa Status

What’s the big difference?

visa stamps visa status5
Visa Stamps & Visa Status
  • The Visa Stamp in your passport is only used for entering the U.S. -- it only needs to be valid when you enter
visa stamp
Visa Stamp
  • The visa stamp is like a key to get in the door of the U.S.


visa stamp7
Visa Stamp
  • After you open the door and get in,

you do not need the key.

  • You can have an expired visa stamp and still be valid to stay here in the U.S.
renewing the visa stamp
Renewing the Visa Stamp

You will only need to renew your expired visa stamp when you travel outside of the U.S. and plan to re-enter.

visa stamps visa status9
Visa Stamps & Visa Status
  • Your Visa Status is the Visa “Classification” that you are in while you are here, like:
    • F-1 Student or
    • B-2 tourist, or
    • H-1 Temporary Worker
visa stamps visa status10
Visa Stamps & Visa Status
  • We can illustrate this by telling the story of how you got your visa “status”…
  • Once upon a time…
  • In land far far away…
visa stamp11
Visa Stamp
  • Most of you had to get a visa stamp in your passport in order to come to the U.S. (unless you are Canadian)
visa stamp12
Visa Stamp
  • First you got admitted to Cornell…
visa stamp13
Visa Stamp
  • and then, Cornell asked you to show that you had the funding to afford Cornell….

… and you did!

visa stamp14
Visa Stamp
  • So Cornell sent you an I-20
visa stamp15
Visa Stamp
  • At the top of the I-20, you will see it states “certificate of eligibility”

Cornell is saying to the U.S. consulate, we think this person is eligible for an F-1 visa

visa stamp16
Visa Stamp
  • Then you went to the consulate to apply for your visa stamp
visa stamp17
Visa Stamp
  • The consulate officer was probably very busy…
visa stamp18
Visa Stamp
  • Just like the I-20, the visa stamp says that the consulate officer also thinks you are eligible for F-1 status
visa status
Visa Status
  • Next you got on the plane…
visa status20
Visa Status
  • … Finally you landed at the port of entry and presented your documents to the port of entry officer
visa status21
Visa Status
  • At that point, you were asking the Port of entry officer to give you F-1 or J-1 “STATUS” in the U.S.
  • You only get the actual F-1 or J-1 “status” at that point when you finally ENTER the U.S.
visa status22
Visa Status
  • Your “Visa Status” is written on your I-94 card by the port of entry officer
visa status23
Visa Status
  • Most of you are either “F1” or “J1”
  • “D/S” = Duration of Status
visa status24
Visa Status
  • “D/S” = Duration of Status (instead of a specific end date)
  • status will be valid as long as you are doing what F1 students or J1 students are supposed to be doing
visa status end date
Visa Status End Date
  • The end date of your status is either the end date of your form I-20 or DS-2019 OR the day you complete your program or graduate:
visa status26
Visa Status
  • You have a grace period during which time you can pack up your things or travel around the U.S.
          • F-1 = 60 days
          • J-1 = 30 days
regulations maintaining status
Regulations & Maintaining Status
  • For each visa status, there are regulations or rules that you must follow while you are here
  • We call this “maintaining” your status
maintaining status
“Maintaining status”

To maintain valid status

both F1 and J1 students must:

check in at the isso
Check in at the ISSO

If you have not yet checked in at the ISSO, you MUST do so:

  • ISSO is in B-50 Caldwell Hall
  • Bring your passport, I-94 card and I-20 or DS-2019
enroll full time
Enroll Full Time
  • Undergraduates must be enrolled in 12 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters
  • Graduate students just need to be registered in the Fall and Spring semesters
  • Each department has specific course-load requirements
update your address
Update your address
  • Update your local residential address within 10 days of moving within the U.S.
  • To update your address you must:
    • Update “Just the Facts”
    • Notify the ISSO of your address change on the isso web site: www.isso.cornell.edu
keep your documents valid
Keep Your Documents Valid
  • Keep your passport valid
  • Make sure your I-20 or DS-2019 has the correct
    • Level
    • Major
    • End date
  • If you need more time to complete your degree, get an extension of your I-20 or DS-2019 BEFORE the end date
discuss plans for after graduation with isso
Discuss Plans for After Graduation with ISSO
  • New Degree Program at Cornell
  • New Degree program at another school
  • Working after you graduate
do not work off campus without authorization
Do NOT work off campus without authorization
  • F1 and J1 students may work on campus
    • 20 hours per week while enrolled
    • 40 hours per week during vacation
  • F1 and J1 students are eligible to apply for certain types of off campus work authorization
f1 work authorization
F1 Work Authorization
  • After being enrolled full time for one full academic year
  • Practical Training in your field of study
f1 work authorization36
F1 Work Authorization
  • Curricular Practical Training
    • For academic credit
    • For internships or Co-Op programs
  • Optional Practical Training
    • Summer work that is not for credit
    • Work after graduation

We will hold workshops

j1 work authorization
J1 Work Authorization
  • Academic Training
    • For practical training in your field
    • Either in summer vacation or after graduation
  • Some other work authorization in special circumstances
  • Come to the ISSO to discuss options
traveling outside of u s
Traveling outside of U.S.
  • When you travel outside of the U.S., be sure you have with you:
    • Valid Passport
    • Current visa stamp in your passport
    • I-20 or DS-2019 signed for travel
    • Financial support documents
    • Proof of enrollment (available at the registrar’s office)
stay informed
Stay Informed!!!!
  • These days, there are OFTEN changes in the regulations
  • ALWAYS read the emails from the ISSO
international students scholars office
International Students & Scholars Office

B-50 Caldwell Hall

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday


Wednesday: 1:00-4:30