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Immigration Terms and International Student Issues

F-1 Student: Most international students at IU South Bend are in F-1 status. Students in F-1 status are, generally speaking, full-time, degree-seeking students who must abide by all regulations and procedures required to maintain this status.


J-1 Student: Few students at IU South Bend study in J-1 status. Typically, J-1 students participate in exchange or in short-term programs for a few weeks of a semester or two.


SEVIS: This is the acronym for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, an electronic recordkeeping and reporting system which is maintained by SEVP (see below). IU South Bend must report information concerning F-1 and J-1 students to the government through this system within established time frames each semester. This information includes student directory information, as well as national citizenship, program of study, start and end dates, and other notes about work and academics.


SEVP: This is the acronym for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. It is designed to help the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State better monitor school and exchange programs in the F and J categories. SEVP administers the F program, while the Department of State manages the J exchange visitor program.


USCIS: The United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USICS) and its sister agencies (ICE & CBP) fully replaced the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) in 2003. The USCIS is responsible for most applications, petitions and adjudications. Whereas the INS was part of the Department of Justice, the USCIS is housed in the Department of Homeland Security.


Visa: The visa is an endorsement (sometimes an ink stamp, but now usually a machine-readable page in the passport) which the Embassy or Consulate of a country issues to those seeking to enter from outside that country.


Immigration Status: Students who are issued a form I-20 will be in F-1 status and students who are issued a Form DS-2019 will be in J-1 status. Both may seek an entrance visa based on this status.

To help you understand a little bit more about the immigration processes involved with studying in the U.S., the OISS has developed an informational packet with key terms and processes.

Immigration Terms and International Student Issues