Commonly Used Immigration Terms
- DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is responsible for administering and enforcing the regulations related to immigration and non-immigration policies.
The Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant (F-1) Student Status. This document is evidence of your admission to the school which issued it. The I-20 is issued so that you can apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Your I-20 is proof of your status and should be kept with your passport.
- F-1 Visa
A Non-Immigrant student visa. This is an entry visa issued to "bona fide students qualified to pursue a full course of study" at an academic or language institution authorized to admit international students. The visa is issued at a U.S. embassy or consulate. It indicates the date of issue and date of expiration. If you have not yet completed your program and the visa has already expired, you do not have to renew it until you leave the U.S. and plan to return. F-1 visas are not renewed within the U.S.
- B1/B2 VISA
The visitor's visa for business (B1) or pleasure (B2). This visa category is not acceptable for international students who want to enroll in academic courses or F-1 eligible Summer Institutes at UCLA Summer Sessions.For Summer Sessions registration purposes, you will be considered an international student if you answer no to ALL of the questions below:
- Are you a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, i.e., a Green Card holder?
- Are you an international student currently studying in the US and returning to the same school after the summer?
- Do you intend to enroll only in academic courses that are offered completely online?
- Do you intend to enroll only in short-term Precollege Summer Institutes that carry fewer than 8 units?
If you are an international student for our registration purposes, you will need an F-1 visa to participate and will be asked to submit an I-20 request.
- I-94 (ADMISSION NUMBER RETRIEVAL)
Form I-94 is the Arrival/Departure record issued at the time of admission into the US either by land or sea. Your admission number is recorded electronically and your passport is stamped by the Customs and Border Control officer. The admission stamp will have the date of admission and class of admission (in your case F-1). The Electronic I-94 can be obtained at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/ and must be printed and brought to UCLA for your visa check-in.
IMPORTANT: Check your passport before leaving customs to ensure that your stamp says F1 (not B1 or B2 or anything else as the class of admission) If there is an error please ask them to correct it as this is very important for your visa and travel records.
- D/S (Duration of Status)
This is written by Department of Homeland Security on the I-94 card and indicates that your stay is valid for the duration of your program and as long as you attend school on a full-time basis.
- WT/WB (VISA WAIVER PROGRAM)
Enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Students are not allowed to attend Summer Sessions under this program.
- IN STATUS
You are considered "in status" if you are attending school on a full-time basis. For UCLA Summer Sessions this means eight units per six week session, making satisfactory progress toward completing the coursework and keeping your health insurance current.
- OUT OF STATUS
When you fail to meet F-1 visa requirements, for example, by attending school less than full-time, you are considered out of status and may lose your right to study at UCLA or to stay in the United States.
To return to F-1 student status, you may apply for reinstatement, a procedure whereby you will be required to explain to an Department of Homeland Security officer why you failed to comply with the F-1 regulations.
Requesting an I-20
International students who do not have an F-1 visa, or have been outside the U.S. for more than 5 months, will be required to obtain the I-20 form from UCLA and apply for an F-1 visa from their local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
After you are confirmed enrolled in at least 8 units per session , you will be sent an e-mail with the link to the online I-20 Request, where you will be able to upload your documents and communicate with our office regarding your I-20. Please note that it can take a few days for you to receive this e-mail and you will not be able to access the link until the e-mail has been sent to you directly.
IMPORTANT: In order to guarantee the timely processing of your documents, the I-20 request must be completed NO LATER than May 1 for Session A and June 1 for Session C. Requests made after these deadlines may not be processed in time for consular appointments and legal entry into the United States.
Requesting a Transfer I-20
- You will be graduating from your university or high school before the Summer Session and you will not apply for OPT.
- You will be permanently leaving the U.S. following the summer at UCLA.
- Your I-20 has a program end date that expires before or during the Summer Session.
- Your current program is ending and you will start at a new school in the fall.
Required Documents for I-20 Requests
PASSPORT INFORMATION A scanned copy of the biographical page in your passport that shows your full name, passport number, birth date, expiration date and photograph.
CONFIDENTIAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT (CFS) AND PROOF OF SUFFICIENT FUNDS You will need to complete the Confidential Financial Statement and either have it stamped by a bank official or submit additional documents such as a bank statement or letter from the bank showing available funds. Financial verification must state that at least US$7,800 will be available to you for each six weeks you are at UCLA. This amount is based on 8 units, if you are enrolled in more than 8 units, the minimum financial verification will go up by $342 per unit.
PROOF OF ENGLISH PROFICIENCY
We require one of the following to prove your English proficiency:
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) minimum score of 550 paper-based test; 213 for the computer-based test; 79 for the internet-based test
IELTS minimum score of 6.5
iTEP minimum score of 5
*Citizens of Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom are exempt from having to provide proof of English proficiency.
**International Baccalaureate and students currently enrolled in an English language institution may submit a transcript or verification of enrollment from their school.
***If you are enrolling only in ESL courses, ENGLISH LANGUAGE SUMMER INSTITUTE or COMMUNICATION SKILLS SUMMER INSTITUTE, you are not required to provide exam scores. You should instead upload a word or .pdf document stating that you are enrolling only in those courses/programs.
Getting your F-1 Visa
To apply for the F1 visa, you must first complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160). You can then schedule an appointment at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate, pay the application fee and gather the required documents. You also need to pay the SEVIS fee at www.fmjfee.com at least 3 days before your visa interview.
Canadian citizens are NOT required to visit the U.S. Embassy, but ARE required to complete the I-20 request, pay the SEVIS fee and have it recorded before arriving at a U.S. Port of Entry.
Please have the paper receipt from your electronic SEVIS fee payment available at the time of entry into the U.S. and at your interview appointment.
Overview of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Regulations
- Complete the mandatory visa check-in within one week upon your arrival to the United States.
- Maintain full-time enrollment (8 units per session) and earn a passing grade in all your courses. All courses must be taken for credit. If for some medical or emergency reason you are unable to attend full-time study, you must contact an advisor at the International Education Office (1331 Murphy Hall) immediately. In exceptional and rare circumstances an advisor can approve a course load of fewer than 8 units if you have an illness or other medical condition (substantiated by a physician's statement).
- Have health insurance for the duration of your studies.
- Conform to regulations for travel outside of the U.S. and keep your passport valid for six months beyond the summer sessions program.
- Accept no off-campus employment without written permission from the Department of Homeland Security; work no more than twenty hours per week on campus while attending school on a full-time basis.
- Notify DCISS before you transfer to another U.S. school.
- Leave the U.S. or transfer to another U.S. school within sixty days after the completion of your program.
Temporary Travel outside the U.S.
Transferring out of UCLA
PREPARING TO LEAVE THE U.S. The Department of Homeland Security requires you to leave the U.S. within 60 days of your program completion date. You may use this time for travel within the U.S., but you must not stay in the U.S. beyond the 60-day period.
EXAMPLE: Your last day of study in Session A is August 4. You have 60 days, until September 30, to leave the U.S. From August 1 to October 1 you may travel within the U.S. but you may not travel to another country (including Canada and Mexico) and return to the U.S.