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F/J Student Visas

There’s a veritable alphabet of U.S immigration categories, but the majority of Cornell students are in one of two visa statuses: F-1 or J-1.

Each international student is assigned a visa status by the U.S. government. Until that individual changes or ends the visa status, all the laws applicable to that category will apply.

Is “having F-1 visa status” the same as “being on an F-1 visa”?

No. Visa status and an entry visa stamp are two different things.

An entry visa stamp is placed in a student’s passport by an embassy or consulate official after a student:

  • is admitted to Cornell
  • certifies that she or he has the necessary funding for the program
  • receives an I-20 form from the school
  • pays a SEVIS registration fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (Note: this fee goes to the government, not Cornell. Cornell does not have an international student fee.)

The I-20 (or DS-2019, for J-1 students) is issued by the admissions office to which the student applied.

When students enter the country, they present travel documents and are granted a visa status, which is recorded on their I-94 record.

What should I tell a student who finds a mistake in his/her I-94 arrival record?

Send your student to the Office of Global Learning!

Even if the student has followed all proper procedures, mistakes can happen at the border. Early action can prevent your student from having a problem with his/her immigration status. When students find mistakes on their I-94s, they should notify the International Services team as soon as possible, so that we can help correct it.

How can I help an undocumented student in my classroom or office?

Cornell admits students independent of immigration status. If you know that you have an undocumented student under your supervision because he or she shared this information with you, there are a few things you should know:

  • The student might not be able to study abroad or be paid for work.
  • Their ability to get funding is severely limited.

Undocumented students may need more support from you than their counterparts who are citizens or have valid legal status.

Be sure they understand that the Office of Global Learning will not disclose their status to any party and that resources like EARS and Let’s Talk are open to them, if they need support.