US Immigration Terms

DS - 2019: Certificate of Eligibility to apply for a J-1 visa. This is issued by the university or sponsoring organization to the prospective exchange student, scholar, professor or research assistant. The DS - 2019 is needed to apply for a J-1 entry visa.

Duration of Status (D/S): This is written on the I-94 and indicates that the non-immigrant may remain in the US as long as the visa will permit. When this applies to students (F-1 or J-1), it permits the individual to remain until completion of studies. 

I -20: Certificate of Eligibility to apply for an F–1 visa. This is issued by the university or college where a student is admitted after determining the student is qualified academically, linguistically and financially to attend the school. The I-20 is needed by the student to apply for an F-1 entry visa. 

I - 94 Arrival - Departure Record:  A small card issued to a non-immigrant alien by the federal immigration authorities upon entry into the US indicating legal entry, visa status and the permission to stay. It is often stapled in the passport.

I - 901 SEVIS Fee:  Prior to applying for your F-1 or J-1 student visa you must pay a $200 SEVIS Fee to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  This fee is meant to assist the US government with care of the SEVIS database.  You will need your I-20 to complete the form.  You will need the I-901 Receipt Notice for your visa interview.  You can pay the fee online by going to

SEVIS:  Abbreviation for “Students and Exchange Visitors Information System”, which is the database that universities use to update Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about F-1 and J-1 students.

SEVP: Abbreviation for “Students and Exchange Visitors Program”, which is a governmental entity under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Visa: Permission to enter the US at a port of entry.  Visas for UAE students are issued by the United States Embassy and/or Consulate in the United Arab Emirates.

Before Arriving to the USArriving and Being in the US