Terms and Vocabulary

Terms and Vocabulary

USCIS
US Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

Change in Visa Status
If you wish to change from F-1 to a different visa status we recommend that you inform International Programs and then consult with an immigration attorney. 

DHS: Department of Homeland Security
This is a branch of the U.S. government that oversees the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

PDSO: Principal Designated School Official
This is the person who is required to communicate with SEVIS on the school's behalf, keep all international student records up-to-date, and issue documents for SEVIS. This person also adds or subtracts DSOs in the SEVIS system. On our campus the PDSO is Jane Marshall.

DSO: Designated School Official
This is the person is also required to communicate with SEVIS on the school's behalf. In addition, they keep updated international student records and issue documents for SEVIS. On our campus there are two DSOs: Colby Sheldon and Jennifer Falzerano. 

EAD Card: Employment Authorization Documentation
A document issued by USCIS that allows you to begin working in your OPT period or Economic Hardship period. Do not begin work before receiving your EAD card and/or before the start date of your OPT. In order to be eligible to receive an EAD card for OPT or Economic Hardship, you must first complete the application process with Colby Sheldon. Once you receive your EAD card, you will need to submit a copy of it to Jane Marshall or Colby Sheldon.

Economic Hardship
In extreme cases where students lose their sponsorship and/or their home country has a political or economic crisis or a natural disaster, students may apply to be able to work off campus in order to pay for college. It costs $380 to apply for economic hardship and it is not guaranteed that you will receive it; however, if you find yourself in either of the situations above, please see International Programs to discuss this as an option. You must be in F-1 status for three full terms and at credit level to be eligible. Apply with Colby Sheldon.

F-1
The visa category that allows international students to come to the United States to study full time.

F-2
The visa category for children or spouses of F-1 students.

I-20
This document is issued by the (P)DSO. The document is reissued when you are approved for CPT or OPT, change your major, and experience other changes in your record. Upon your initial entry to the U.S., you received your I-20 in your home country and had to take it to the embassy or consulate with you for your visa appointment. If you transfer to Lane from another U.S. institution, you will receive this document after you have attended classes at Lane for 30 days. You must keep every I-20 you are issued on file for your personal records. Before you travel anywhere outside of the U.S., take your I-20 to a (P)DSO to get a travel signature from them.

I-94
This is the small white card issued to you at the airport when you enter the U.S. It is stapled into your passport and you must not lose it.  Immigration charges a fee of $330 to replace this document using a Form I-102 from the USCIS website.

CPT: Curricular Practical Training
The opportunity for paid work off campus in an internship position. You are eligible for CPT whenever you are in status, have successfully completed your first nine months on an F-1 visa and are enrolled in a college level major.  Typically CPT is allowed when you participate in an internship through Cooperative Education. You may work up to 20 hours a week during the school year or 40 hours a week on a break or vacation term. You must have CPT authorized before you begin and may only work on the specific dates the DSO authorizes. If you complete 365 days of CPT you will lose your eligibility for OPT. See Colby Sheldon to apply.

OPT: Optional Practical Training
This is the opportunity to work in the United States for one year after you finish your certificate or degree program. You are eligible for OPT once you complete a certificate and when you finish your 2-year Associate's degree, Bachelor's degree, Master's degree and PhD (doctorate degree) as long as you are in status when you graduate. You must apply for this F-1 benefit in an upward progression. That means that if you do OPT after a Master's degree and then earn a certificate, you cannot do OPT after obtaining the certificate. You must apply for OPT during the term prior to graduation. Contact Colby Sheldon to apply during your last term prior to your graduation date.

Grace Period
A grace period is the time you may stay in the U.S. when you are no longer enrolled in classes (after graduation) without any immigration penalty. In general, if you do not complete a program, are terminated, or withdraw from classes, you must leave the U.S. 15 days after your last day in class. If you graduate from a program or a degree, you may stay in the U.S. for up to 60 days after your last day in class. 

Overstay
This refers to illegally staying in the United States after your grace period is over. The result is that you will likely not be allowed to return to the U.S. from 3 to 10 years depending on the length of your overstay.

Reinstatement 
If you have been terminated and you wish to remain in the U.S., you must file for reinstatement to F-1 status with USCIS.

SEVIS
Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. This is the database and tracking system for F-1 students. Lane is required to use this system to report international student information to DHS.

Termination or Terminated: 
This means that you are no longer a student in the U.S. on F-1 visa status. Some I-20 terminations are positive and some are negative on your immigration record.   

  • Examples of Positive Termination:
    • Authorized Early Withdrawal: you have remained in status but are choosing to leave the U.S. before the completion of your program. 
  • Examples of Negative Termination:
    • Unauthorized Early Withdrawal: you did not attend classes or dropped below 12 credits per term (college level) or 18 class hours per week (ESL).
    • Failure to Enroll: you did not enroll in a full course of study.
  • Violations of F-1 visa requirements leading to termination:
    • Working off campus without permission
    • Felonies or crimes