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Resources for International Students

students in the library

International students coming to the U.S. sometimes feel like they have a whole lot to learn before they even take their first course. Some basic information and resources can go a long way.

Information, Resources, and Terminology

Requesting a Letter for Visitors' Visas

To request a letter from the school to help family members obtain a tourist visa, please submit the following information to the International Student Advisor:

  1. Name of student
  2. Degree program
  3. Instrument
  4. Date of birth

The following information is also required for all individuals requesting a letter:

  1. Names of visitors
  2. Passport number of visitors
  3. Date of birth of visitors
  4. Purpose of visit

You should receive the letters in your mailbox and an email copy in 3 to 5 business days.

Summer / Graduation FAQ

Optional Practical Training Information

Optional Practical Training FAQ
I-765 Checklist

Visa/Immigration Terminology

  • I-20 A-B (I-20) – A government form that will allow you to obtain an F-1 student visa from a U.S. Embassy/Consulate and enter the U.S. as an F-1 student.
  • D.H.S. – Department of Homeland Security.
  • SEVIS – Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, an online reporting database for tracking and reporting students with U.S. visas.
  • I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) – An I-94 is a white card issued to all nonimmigrants by U.S. immigration inspectors at the port of entry. It is evidence of legal entry into the U.S., indicating date of entry, visa status, and length of stay granted. Your I-94 card should have F-1 and D/S written on it.
  • Student visa – A document placed in your passport by the U.S. that allows you to enter the U.S. as a student. Note that your SEVIS I-20 form is not a visa.
  • D/S – Duration of Status. D/S is granted in the immigration inspection area. D/S allows students to remain in the U.S. for the length of time necessary to complete their studies. D/S generally ends on the last day of classes (that is, the I-20 expiration date), plus a 60-day grace period for F-1 students.
  • Status – Once nonimmigrants enter the US, they are classified by immigration inspectors according to the visa used to enter. If you use an F-1 visa to enter the U.S., you will be granted F-1 status.


Timothy Dunn

Associate Dean for Student Affairs, PDSO
(415) 503-6281