Immigration Documents

Your Passport:

Your passport is your international identification. It has your personal information on the first or last page. Your passport must be valid at least 6 months into the future at all times.

Your Student Visa:

Inside your passport, you will find your student visa (stamp, usually in the middle of your passport).

The visa will contain:

  • Place of issuance
  • Personal information: Your name (family, Given), Gender, Date of Birth, Nationality, etc.
  • Your passport number
  • Entries: ‘M’ means multiple. This means that you are able to leave and reenter the U.S. multiple times
  • Visa Type/Class: ‘R’ for Regular/F-1 is your class of visa
  • Expiration Date: The date when your visa is no longer valid. If you have a valid I-20 when your visa expires, you may continue to study in the U.S. legally. However, if you choose to leave the U.S. on an expired visa, you will need to extend you visa before returning to the U.S.

Your I-94 document:

The I-94 card is now an electronic document.

The immigration officer will now stamp your passport with:

  • Port of Entry: where you last entered the U.S. (may not be your final destination)
  • Date you last entered the U.S.
  • Your class: F-1/ J-1
  • D/S: ‘Duration of Status,’ period in which you are an active full-time student or engaged in OPT

Your electronic I-94 document will be available for you to print or save to your desktop after your entry into the U.S.; we recommend that you print or save your electronic I-94 document immediately after reentry.

In order to access your arrival/departure information visit

You will need to have your passport to access the following information:

  • Passport Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Name (as it appears on your passport)
  • Country of Citizenship
  • Visa Class (F-1, J-1)
  • Date of Arrival

Your I-94 will also have an admission number (‘A’ number). This is an 11 digit number at the top of the form. The first 9 digits of this number is your Alien Registration Number.

Each time you leave and reenter the U.S. you will receive a new electronic I-94 document. If you still have your paper I-94 card, you will need to take it to the airport to forfeit when you leave the US.

Old I-94 Card

If you do receive a hard copy of your I-94 card at the Port of Entry, most immigration officers will staple the I-94 card into your passport, but in case they do not do so, keep your I-94 card in a very safe place. You must have it ready when you leave the U.S. again.

Your I-20 document (sometimes referred to as Certificate of Eligibility—COE)

Your I-20 will be issued by your school (Butler University) and will be mailed to you in your home country. When you receive your I-20 document, sign at the bottom of the first page. You will take your I-20 document to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate to apply for your F-1 student visa.

You will receive a new I-20 if:

  • You apply for OPT or CPT (each time you apply)
  • You run out of room for travel signatures
  • You extend your Program End Date
  • You change your Major/Minor
  • You add/subtract a dependent
  • Change Education Level (UG to G, etc)
  • You Transfer to another school

A Closer Look at Your I-20:

To the extreme right is a barcode and a number beginning with the letter ‘N’. The number is your SEVIS number: your identification number in the government’s ‘Student and Exchange Visitor Information System’ (see SEVIS website for more detailed information).

  1. Your Personal Information
  2. Your School’s Information
  3. Types:
    1. Initial Attendance: You have been accepted, but you have not reported to the school
    2. Continued Attendance: When you report to your new school, you will receive a continued attendance I-20
    3. Transfer Pending: You have been accepted and your previous school (within the U.S.) has transferred your SEVIS record to your new school, but you have not reported to the new school
    4. Transfer: When you report to your new school, you will receive a transfer I-20
  4. Level of degree you are seeking (for example, Associates, Bachelor’s, Master’s)
  5. This section contains very important information!
    1. Your Major
    2. The latest date you are expected to report to the Office of International Student Services at your new school. * If you do not report to the school by the date indicated and you do not communicate with the DSO about why you are unable to report by that date, you will be considered a ‘No Show’ and your record will be terminated.
    3. Your Program End Date: The date you I-20 will expire. You will then go into your 60 day grace period (LINK). *if you need to extend your I-20 or apply for OPT you must do it before your program end date.*
    4. ‘The Normal Length of Study’ is the amount of time (in months) that it should take for you to complete your degree.
  6. You must have a certain level of English proficiency to attend Butler University. This is usually measured by the TOEFL test.
  7. Financial Information—The cost to attend the school (Tuition, living expenses, dependents, etc.)
  8. Student’s Financial Eligibility
  9. Remarks from the DSO or student (if requested)
  10. Printed Name and Signature of Your Designated School Official (DSO), Title, Date, and Place Issued.
    * Your I-20 should be signed when you receive it.
  11. Your Printed Name and Signature, Date you sign the I-20

*You should sign your I-20 as soon as you receive it.

If you are under the age of 18, your legal guardian will need to sign the I-20 as well.

Page 2 of Your I-20

On Page 2 of your I-20, you will find:

  • Work Authorization (CPT, OPT) dates, status, company information
  • Travel Signature (bottom of the 2nd page)—Your DSO will sign the third page to authorize you to travel outside of the U.S.
    * You may not travel outside of the U.S. without a signature from your DSO!The signature is valid for one year from the date it was signed. You must reenter the U.S. before the signature expires. Otherwise you should receive a new signature before you travel outside the U.S.You do not need a signature form the DSO to travel within the U.S.