What is a nonimmigrant? What is F-1 status?
A non-immigrant is an individual that is not a US citizen who wishes to be admitted to the United States for a limited time period for a specific purpose. Nonimmigrants plan to depart the United States at the end of this time period.
nonimmigrant status is for individuals coming to the US to be full-time students in academic programs or language training programs. St. Bonaventure University admits F-1 students into academic programs only; we do not offer language training
Do you provide assistance for international students who do not have F-1 status?
Yes! Some international students who hold other types of visas are allowed to study in the US, including students whose parents hold a work visa. While our ability to help you maintain your visa status is very limited, we can provide assistance and advice
on a wide range of academic, social, co-curricular, and immigration concerns. Contact the ISSO if you would like to speak with our staff.
Are F-1 students required to have health insurance?
Yes. All students at St. Bonaventure are required to have health insurance in order to study at St. Bonaventure. We strongly recommend all international students purchase the SBU student health insurance plan.
Student-athletes who do not have coverage in the U.S. must buy the SBU student health insurance plan in order to be covered by a supplemental plan through athletics. If you want to waive the university’s student plan, you must provide proof of insurance
coverage (like any domestic student would).
Before waiving the university student plan, make sure your health insurance provides coverage in the U.S., especially in Western New York. For more information about the SBU student health insurance plan, visit the Wellness Center webpage.
What should I do if my visa expires?
If you are currently in the United States, the expiration date of your F-1 visa does not affect how long you may stay in the U.S. You can remain in the U.S. with an expired F-1 visa as long as you maintain your F-1 student status. Your I-20 is sufficient
to demonstrate your lawful status.
However, if you are returning home or traveling to another country, you must have a valid visa to return to the United States. You will need to reapply for your F-1 visa in order to reenter the U.S.
Can you explain what all the numbers and acronyms mean?
We understand that the forms, agencies, and abbreviations related to your immigration status can be confusing! Here is a quick glossary that can help. If you have any questions, you can always contact the ISSO!
- CBP — U.S. Customs and Border Protection; responsible for immigration inspections when you enter the U.S.; will issue the I-94.
- DHS — U.S. Department of Homeland Security; oversees the rules, regulations, and agencies that govern student immigration status.
- D/S — Duration of Status; appears on your I-94 and means you can remain in the US legally for as long as you maintain your F-1 status.
- DSO — Designated School Official; person identified by the school as the official representative and authorized to issue immigration documents related to your F-1 status. The coordinator for International Student Services is
the principal designated school official at St. Bonaventure.
- I-20 — Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status; a document issued by a DSO that is required for international students to apply for a student visa, enter the U.S., and apply for a variety of services in
the U.S. The I-20 also serves as your primary identification while in the U.S.
- I-94 — Arrival/Departure Record; a document that shows when and where you entered the U.S. The I-94 is required in many circumstances and should indicate that you are an F-1 student.
- ICE — U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; oversees the SEVP and SEVIS.
- SEVP — Student and Exchange Visitor Program; part of the Department of Homeland Security; manages schools and nonimmigrant student status.
- SEVIS — Student Exchange and Visitor Information System; electronic database and monitoring system for international students; used by DHS, SEVP and U.S. Department of State.
- USCIS — United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; part of the Department of Homeland Security; oversees applications for OPT and reinstatement of F-1 status, among other services.
Has COVID impacted rules about international students?
Decisions made by U.S. governmental agencies are taking longer at every stage of the process. You should plan ample time for each interaction and application. Some restrictions have been temporarily loosened, such as our ability to send you an electronic copy of your I-20.
You should stay up to date with changing travel requirements to enter the U.S., including proof of an approved COVID-19 vaccination and/or negative COVID-19 test results. Contact the ISSO if you have specific questions.