Once a school admits a student into a full course study program, the institution’s Designated School Official (DSO) must log into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to create a student record and issue a Certificate of Eligibility. The student will use this certificate to obtain an F-1 Visa, acquire or extend his/her F-1 nonimmigrant status or apply for certain F-1 student benefits. For F-1 and M-1 students, the Certificate of Eligibility is called Form I-20. The data gathered during the preparation and management of the student’s SEVIS record and Certificate of Eligibility is used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enforce the information and monitoring requirements of IIRIRA 641, as amended [Section 641 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA)] https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/
Certificate of Eligibility
Documents required to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (In accordance with DHS regulations in 8 CFR 214.3 (k)):
- UPR-RP certificate of admission
- Copy of a valid passport
- Proof of financial solvency to cover tuition during the first year
- Annual Expenses Chart
- Financial Requirements for a Student F-1 Visa
When arriving to the United States, F-1 students must:
- Enter the United States no more than 30 days before your program of study begins.
- Immediately contact your designated school official (DSO) when you enter the United States.
- When you arrive at school, you must contact your DSO again, no later than the program start date listed on your Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.”
While studying in the United States, both F and M students must:
- Attend and pass all your classes. If school is too difficult, speak with your DSO immediately.
- If you believe that you will be unable to complete your program by the end date listed on your Form I-20, talk with your DSO about requesting a possible program extension.
- You must take a full course of study each term; if you cannot study full-time, contact your DSO immediately.
- Do not drop a class without first speaking with your DSO.
While studying in the United States, it is important to maintain your F or M student status. Your status relates to the purpose or reason why you want to come to the United States. The U.S. Department of State issues your visa based on your intended purpose.
If the Department of State issues you an F or M student visa, this means you are coming to the United States to study. You should not take any action that detracts from that purpose. Maintaining your status means:
- Fulfilling the purpose for why the Department of State issued you your visa.
- Following the regulations associated with that purpose.