US Immigration Terms

Customs and Border Protection (CBP): The US government agency responsible for enforcing immigration laws at the US borders. They also manage what products come into the United States.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS): The US government agency that is responsible for all aspects of keeping the United States safe. They house several smaller agencies, including CBP and SEVP.

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.

Duration of Status (D/S): This is noted on your I-94 record and entry stamp and indicates that you 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.

I-94 Arrival-Departure Record:  This is uploaded by CBP to show that you have entered or exited the United States. You can see your most current I-94 or even a complete travel history for yourself by visiting their website at

I-901 SEVIS Fee:  Prior to applying for your F-1 or J-1 student visa, you must pay a SEVIS Fee to DHS. This fee is meant to assist the US government with maintenance of the SEVIS database.  You will need your I-20 to complete the form, and you must take your I-901 Receipt Notice to your visa interview. You can pay the fee online by going to

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

Students and Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP): The governmental entity that tracks F-1, J-1 and M-1 students and scholars through SEVIS.

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