A visa is the stamp placed into a passport by an official of a United States Embassy or Consulate. The stamp indicates the visa type. The most common types of visas are listed below. All visas have expiration dates. However, a student may stay in the United States without penalty if the student remains in good academic standing with their sponsoring college.
Most international students enter the country to study on an F-1 student visa. Applicants who want to pursue a full course of academic study at one of the Alamo Colleges are issued non-immigrant, or F-1, visas by the United States Embassy or Consulate. Some students are required by their sponsoring school to hold a J-1 visiting scholar visa. Currently, the Alamo Colleges only offers F-1 student visas.
- F-1 visas are held by students attending school on a full-time basis
- F-2 visas are held by a spouse or child of an F-1 student
- J-1 visas are held by students attending school through an exchange visitor program
- J-2 visas are held by a spouse or child of an J-1 exchange visitor
A passport is a travel document in booklet form. It shows your country of origin and certifies your identity and nationality. Passports are used for entry into a foreign country. Keep your passport valid for the duration of your international travel. If your passport will expire within six months, renew it before you apply.
- Form I-20: An I-20 is issued by an international advisor after a student is admitted to one of the Alamo Colleges. This form is used to obtain an F-1 visa from the United States embassy.
- Form I-901: An I-901 is used to pay the fee for registering international students in SEVIS. This fee is required to obtain an F-1 or J-1 student or exchange visitor visa.
- Form I-94: An I-94 is an arrival-departure record. It indicates your visa type, your date of entry into the United States, the port of entry into the country and the specific period of the time you will remain in the country. Your I-94 should remain valid for the duration of your visit.