F-1 Visa Terms

So many new terms…What do they all mean? If official government terms related to the F-1 visa is confusing, you are not alone! Feel free to refer to the list at any time.

Program End Date

The dated lilsted on the first page of your I-20. This is the end of your academic program, all of your classes must be completed by this date. This date is the last day of finals for HIU international students. F-1 students have sixty days beyond this date to leave the country, begin OPT, apply for a change of status, or transfer. Students who leave the U.S. during this time may not re-enter under unless they return under a new status.

D/S (Duration of Stay)

The length of time you are eligible to stay in the United States at Hope International University as noted by the start and end dates on your I-20. Please note that your D/S also assumes you are making normal progress towards completing your academic program.

Designated School Official (DSO)

The school official responsible for reporting the status and information of all F-1 students and their dependents to the DHS.

DHS (Department of Homeland Security)

Formerly the INS, the DHS is responsible for tracking all non-immigrants (including F- students) who are permitted to be in the United States.

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

A small, plastic card granted by the DHS to qualified students, allowing them to work off campus for a period of 12 months. You must have an EAD card to work off campus.

F-1 Student

A nonimmigrant in the U.S. who comes to the United States to study.


The official government document printed and signed by you and your DSO that shows your status as an F-1 student at Hope International University. Do not lose your I-20!

I-94 (arrival/departure card)

When international students enter the U.S. at an air or sea port of entry, they are issued an electronic arrival record. It is important to have a copy of your Form I-94 to prove your legal visa status in the United States. You can print your I-94 by going to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Form I-94 web page. https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home. You'll need to enter your passport information.


Your major form of identification which tells what your citizenship and home country is.


The Principle Designated School Official (PDSO) is ultimately responsible for all F-1 student immigration reporting to the government.

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services)

Formerly known as the INS is part of the Department of Homeland Security. USCIS enforces all immigration regulations and is responsible for your stay in the United States.


Your entry document into the United States. If you wish to depart and return to the United States at some point during your course of study, you need to be sure that your visa remains valid. If your visa expires while you are in America, you will not be able to leave and return without renewing your visa at your home embassy.