The F-1 visa is only one of the documents you must have in order to enter the United States. At the port of entry (normally the arrival airport) all required documents will be reviewed to ensure you have everything needed. The visa is a “ticket” to enter. Once you are in the United States, it can expire and you will still be allowed to stay as long as your I-20, issued by the school, shows a program end date in the future.
The F-1 visa is issued to degree-seeking students and is considered a “status” visa. As long as you remain a student, you may stay in the country legally. If the visa expires and you wish to travel outside the U.S. and return as a student, you must renew the visa.
For the steps needed and documents required to secure your student status and begin your studies in the United States, click here.
Remember, you are responsible for maintaining your visa status. To ensure that, when you arrive on campus, please make sure you schedule an individual appointment with the PDSO so they may update your SEVIS record. Failure to update the record will cause your visa/I-20 to automatically cancel in the system.
In addition, review and remember the program end date reflected on your I-20. You are required to leave the United States 60 days after that date. Any requests for extension must be made prior to the expiration date.