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Immigration Glossary

There are a lot of immigration terms. Use this glossary to understand the various agencies, documents, and processes.

A

Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO): Officials at your Program Sponsor who are authorized to update and maintain DS-2019 records in SEVIS and advise on J-1 regulations.

Automatic Revalidation: Allows certain nonimmigrants to re-enter the U.S. with an expired U.S. visa stamp in their valid passport after visiting Canada, Mexico or an adjacent island for less than 30 days.

C

Cap Gap Extension: Allows for some F-1 students to extend their F-1 status and/or authorized period of post-completion OPT until they transition to the H-1B status on Oct. 1.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP): U.S. government agency responsible for America’s border security at ports of entry.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT): An F-1 authorization that allows alternative work/study, internship, co-op or other type of required practical training that is integral to your program of study.

D

Dependent: A spouse or child who joins the F-1 and J-1 student during their studies under the dependent F-2 or J-2 visa types.

Department of State (DOS): The Department of State manages exchange visitor programs and J-1 exchange visitors, and is responsible for visa issuance at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.

DS-2019: A J-1 immigration document issued by a U.S. government-approved institution (or organization) certifying your admission into a program. The document reflects your biographical, academic program, and financial support information as well as work authorizations.

Designated School Official (DSO): Officials at your school who are authorized to update and maintain I-20 records in SEVIS and advise on F-1 regulations.

Duration of Status (D/S): Means you may remain in the United States as long as you maintain your F or J status.

F

F-1 visa/status: Visa and immigration status type for individuals who entered the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program.

F-2 visa/status: Visa and immigration status type for individuals who entered the United States as a dependent of an F-1 student.

H

H-1B visa/status: The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant work visa that allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers for specialty jobs. Many F and J international students move to the H-1B status.

I

I-20: A F-1 immigration document issued by a U.S. government-approved institution certifying your admission into a program. The document reflects your biographical, academic program, and financial support information as well as work authorizations.

I-94: Form I-94 is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)arrival/departure record electronically issued to travelers who are admitted to the United States. The information on the I-94 should be accurate.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): A U.S. governmetn agency that enforces federal laws governing border control, customs, trade, and immigration.

Immigration Check-in: A government-required process where an F-1 or J-1 international student reports to ISS “as soon as possible upon admission into the United States but no later than the Initial Session Start Date (start of classes) as listed in SEVIS.”

J

J-1 visa/status: Visa and immigration status type for individuals who entered the United States as an exchange visitor sponsored by an educational exchange programs such as UW Study Abroad, Fulbright, LASPAU, etc. Students funded by the University of Washington may also be eligible for the J-1 visa/status.

J-2: Visa and immigration status type for individuals who entered the United States as a dependent of an J-1 student.

L

Leave of Absence: The immigration process of taking a break from your studies. Your immigration record will be closed and you will need to depart the United States.

M

Maintain Status: Fulfilling the purpose for your visa and following the associated immigration regulations.

O

Optional Practical Training (OPT): An F-1 work authorization that allows students to work in their field of study. There are three types of OPT:

  • Pre-completion OPT: Used during your studies, prior to graduation.
  • Post-completion OPT: Used after the completion of your degree.
  • STEM OPT Extension: A 2-year extension of Post-completion OPT granted to some students in eligible STEM-related programs.

P

Passport: An official travel document issued by a government that contains your personal identity details for international travel. While on the F and J status, your passport must not expire.

Program End Date: The expiration date of your I-20 or DS-2019 that reflects the expected completion date of your program of study. However, if a student is not able to finish the program by the Program End Date, a Program Extension can be requested.

Program Extension: Extending the Program End Date on your I-20 or DS-2019 due an academic or medical necessity to complete your program of study.

Program Start Date: The date on which you are expected to begin your program. You can enter the U.S. as early as 30 days prior to this date.

S

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS): a Web-based system that the U.S. government uses to maintain information on F and J students who come to the United States for study. Each F and J student has a SEVIS immigration record which is a reflection of their I-20 or DS-2019.

SEVP Portal: An online tool that lets F-1 students on optional practical training (OPT) report details such as email, phone number, address, and employment information.

T

Travel Signature: An endorsement from a DSO/ARO that an F or J student has maintained their immigration status and is eligible to re-enter the United States.

U

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): A U.S. government agency responsible for processing immigration applications such as OPT and Reinstatement as well as and establishing policies regarding immigration services.

V

Validation Report: A report submitted to UW ISS by an F-1 student on STEM OPT every 6-, 12-, 18- and 24-months. The validation report confirms your name, address, employer, and employment status are correct in the SEVP Portal.

Visa: A travel document that entitles you to travel to the United States and apply for admission under the F or J status. However, it does not guarantee entry

Meet with an Adviser

F-1 Advising

In-person

Day: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
Time: 1 PM to 3 PM
Location: Schmitz Hall 459

See Schedule

F-1 Advising

Virtual

Day: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday
Time: 9 AM to 11 AM
Location: Zoom (Check schedule)

See Schedule

J-1 Advising

In-person

Day: Wednesday
Time: 1 PM to 3 PM
Location: Schmitz Hall 459

See Schedule

What to expect during advising

Learn about Advising Services

Our doors open at 1 PM. Students will first speak with our Reception team to determine whether they need to see an adviser or if their question can be resolved immediately. If it is determined that you need to see an adviser, the Reception team will schedule you for the next available slot.

For F-1 advising, we have 8 advising slots available per an adviser. The number of advisers on duty varies each day.
For J-1 advising, there are no assigned timeslots.

Our virtual advising is held via Zoom. The adviser on duty will open the room at 8:55 AM. At that time, students are required to complete a check-in form. If completed, the student will be sent an email with the link to the Zoom room. The adviser will see students 1-by-1 in order of check-in.

Unfortunately, this means that the Zoom advising is at capacity and that no more students can be seen. If you receive this message, we encourage you to attend our in-person advising or the next virtual session at your convenience.

ISS does not currently offer scheduled appointments. If you are unable to attend our advising sessions, please complete our Contact ISS form. If our team determines that your situation requires an appointment with an adviser, we will reach out to you directly.