Required Documents for F-1 Visa Holders

Form I-20: Certificate of Eligibility

After you have accepted your offer to attend Washington State University, the university will issue you a Form I-20.

Form I-20 allows you to do 3 things:

  • Apply for an F-1 visa
  • Enter or reenter the United States to pursue your studies
  • Receive other immigration benefits

The I-20 also includes recent events such as employment authorization when applicable.

Do not let your Form I-20 expire. The I-20 must remain valid at all times throughout your study. You must request a new I-20 prior to the expiration date listed on page 1 of the form.

Keep all Form I-20s you have received. You are advised to keep every Form I-20 issued to you for your permanent record. Do not discard old ones.

When you enter the United States


Your passport must always be valid at least 6 months into the future.

F-1 visa stamp

An F-1 visa stamp that U.S. consular officials place in your passport indicates that you are eligible to enter or reenter the United States as an F-1 student. It does not determine your length of stay in the United States.

If your F-1 visa expires while you are in the United States: It is not necessary to renew your visa as long as you remain in the country and remain in active status. A visa can be secured only at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Canadians do not require a visa.

I-94 admission record

The electronic record of your I-94, after arrival in the United States along with a valid Form I-20, permits you to stay temporarily in the United States as an F-1 student.

What does “F-1 D/S” on your I-94 mean?

D/S stands for “duration of status.” It refers to the length of time you are permitted to remain temporarily in the United States to pursue your studies. If this is not noted, please contact International Student and Scholar Services immediately.

Travel history

Each time you enter the United States, your I-94 will be updated. It is a good idea to check your I-94 after each entry to ensure it still shows your F-1 status and D/S.

Renewing or replacing your passport

Lost or stolen? Report a lost or stolen passport to the police. Your home country government may require a police report before issuing a new passport.

Renewing or replacing your passport: Contact your country’s consulate in the United States.

Keep all your documents

Do not throw away old copies of your visa documents. They provide proof that you have been maintaining legal status, and you may need them in the future.

Keep your documents safe

Store your important documents in a secure location in your home, in a bank safe-deposit box, or in another secure location.

Reentering the United States after a temporary absence

To resume your studies after 5 months or less abroad, obtain a travel endorsement from an international student advisor in International Student and Scholar Services.