Immigration Status

The term "immigration status" refers to the immigration classification that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) gives international visitors when they enter the United States, such as F-1 status or J-1 status. The status is written on the I-94 card.

The Office of International Affairs can help advise students in maintaining, changing, or reinstating status. Also, students are advised on extending or changing a degree program or completing studies.


Students must have a valid Passport, VISA and I-20 with current dates. If a student's VISA is going to expire in less than 6 months, the student is encouraged to renew the VISA outside the US, while in the student's home country.

International Students who are traveling outside of the U.S.A. for vacation, study abroad, or summer break.

A.    Tell your designated school official (DSO)

B.    Hand carry all of your required documents. 

  1. Passport
  2. Valid I-20 Form (endorsed for travel)
  3. Proof of Financial Support
  4. Evidence of acceptance to your school : Admission Letter & Recent tuition receipt
  5. Receipt for payment of 901 Fee 
  6. Transcript

 “Every time you enter the United States, whether for your first time here or when returning from travel, there are certain documents you must bring with you. If you do not have these documents, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer may either deny your admission into the United States or issue you a Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor.” If CBP denies your admission, you may not enter the United States.

Here is what to do to avoid receiving a Form I-515A:

  • Hand-carry all of your required documents like your passport, a valid I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status,” and proof of financial support.
  • Bring evidence of acceptance to your school (e.g., an acceptance letter or recent tuition receipts), a receipt of payment for the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee and contact information for your DSO.
  • Read through all of your paperwork to make sure it all includes the correct information.”

If CBP issues you a Form I-515A, do not panic. This form is a checklist that tells you what information you are missing and what you need to do next. Here is what to expect if CBP issues you a Form I-515A:

  • Tell Karen Kennedy, UNA's designated school official (DSO)
  • You have 30 days from when you receive a Form I-515A to submit missing documents or information to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Collect all the required information and then submit it to Karen Kennedy.
  • SEVP will process your documents and return the original copies to your DSO. If you have correctly submitted this information, SEVP also will send your DSO a letter of approval, and the Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record” you receive will have an extended departure date. Get these documents from your DSO and keep them in a safe place.
  • Students not submitting these documents within 30 days, will no longer have permission to be in the United States and must leave the country.



Student's addresses must be current. If you have changed your address, you must notify the Office of International Affairs within 15 days of making the change. The address in UNA's Banner system must match what is on the SEVIS records and on the Alabama Driver's License.

The first day of Fall academic class is August 20. The border agents may check UNA's start date and make sure incoming students arrive on time.