Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1 or J-1) Student Status
For an individual to be admitted to the United States as a student, he or she needs to receive official admission to a program of study and must provide documentation that verifies his or her ability to finance the education without relying on employment in the United States. This documentation is required before a student may receive a Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or DS2019) from Hunter College. The Certificate of Eligibility, as well as all original financial documentation, must be presented to a U.S. Consular Officer in the country where the student officially resides in order to obtain a student entry visa. At the port of entry the student must present I-20 (for F-1) or DS2019 (for J-1) along with the visa. These forms certify that the student meets the academic and financial requirements to attend our institution. These documents are not visas and are used in conjunction with the I-94 to verify the student’s legal status in the United States.
I-94 Departure Record Card
The I-94 Card is the small white card attached to the student’s passport at the port of entry by the immigration officer who has inspected the student and confirmed his or her eligibility to enter the U.S. in student status. This white card is the student’s proof of legal entry in the United States.
Individuals who enter the U.S. in student status are admitted for Duration of Status and the I-94 is marked D/S. Duration of Status means that a student may remain in the U.S. until completion date indicated on the I-20 or DS2019, or until the individual stops being a full-time student – whichever comes first.
Each time the student travels abroad, he or she must surrender the I-94 Departure Record Card to proper officials. One exception to this requirement is for students who are traveling to “adjacent territory” to the United States for a stay of less than thirty days.
Immigration status is the term used to describe an alien’s principal purpose in the U.S. A student’s status is determined at the port of entry by the immigration officer who inspects the documents. The status is indicated on the I-94 Departure Record Card.
An entry visa is generally a machine-readable stamp or attachment to a page in the student’s passport. An U.S. Consular Officer issues the visa in the student’s country of citizenship or residence. An entry visa has the sole purpose of showing that the U.S. Consulate had approved the student’s eligibility to apply for admission to the U.S. through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officer at a port of entry. Because the entry visa has only this limited purpose, it may expire while a student is in the U.S. The student’s authorization to be in the U.S. remains valid as long as the student remains in full-time academic status at the institution named on the I-20 or DS2019.
Source of Funding
Students in F-1 or J-1 immigration status may obtain funding for their education from a variety of sources. The most common source of funding is from personal, family, or/and relatives’ earnings and savings.