What is SEVIS? – SEVIS is the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System where information is collected and maintained on all international students and scholars. This information is easily accessible to a number of government agencies. Further information on SEVIS can be found at the Student & Exchange Visitor Program website.
Once you have received your I-20 and paid your I-901 fee – you are now documents typically consist of either an I-20 for an F-1 (student) visa; evidence of your ability to pay for your studies and living expenses; and sometimes evidence that you do not intend to become an immigrant to the U.S. You should check to see what the particular requirements are for your home country.
When the Consul is satisfied with your application, you will receive your passport back with a visa stamped in your passport. This stamp allows you to enter the U.S. only when you have your I-20 with you as well. Make sure you keep all your important documents together.
Maintaining status means remaining legal. Here is what you must do to remain legal.
An International Student in F-1 student status who is 'making normal progress towards degree completion but who is unable to complete his/her course of study' by the expected completion date on your I-20 may be eligible for a program extension.
You will need to meet with your academic advisor to review your program objectives and if academic advisor recommends an extension for you to complete your degree then you will complete the necessary form. Once this has been completed - submit to the International Student Advising Office for review and if approved a new I-20 will be issued to you.
Please note - in order for a program extension to be approved there must be a compelling academic or medical reason. If there is no compelling reason for the extension then you must complete by the date noted on your I-20.
This extension must be processed prior to the date on your I-20 or else you will be out of status.