Use the Study in the States glossary to define key terms throughout the F and M student process in the United States. If you are a current or prospective student, select “students” to see terms that specifically relate to you—from visas, to forms, benefits, and more. School officials should select “schools” to find more information on certification, responsibilities, and how to help their F and M students. You can also sort terms by selecting the letter of the alphabet a term begins with.
Employment by starting and operating your own business. F-1 students are eligible for entrepreneurship as long as it relates to their program of study and they are approved for pre- or post-completion optional practical training.
Proof that an individual seeking initial admission into the United States as an F-1 or M-1 student has the ability to finance their studies and meet living expenses in the United States.
A nonimmigrant in J-1 visa status. This classification is for individuals approved to participate in work- and study-based exchange visitor programs. All J-1 nonimmigrants must be sponsored by an organization that is designated by the Department of State.
A visa status for students eligible to enroll in academic programs in the United States including at colleges or universities awarding bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate or professional degrees, community or junior colleges awarding associates degrees, religious seminaries, fine arts conservatories, high school (grades 9-12), public or private, private elementary and/or middle school (K-8), or a language training school.
Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student”
The form of a petition submitted and maintained by school officials electronically in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program certification of the school to enroll F-1 and/or M-1 students.
Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status”
A form issued to accepted nonimmigrant students from their Student and Exchange Visitor Program-certified school that is required in order to pay their I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System fee, apply for a visa, enter the United States, apply for benefits, and use for employment authorization or travel.
Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor”
A form issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the port of entry to students who arrive without all of their required documents. The Form I-515A allows students to temporarily enter the United States, and they have 30 days to submit the missing information to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) before their status is terminated.
Beginning April 1, 2016, SEVP will send “Intent to Terminate” notices to students and exchange visitors and their dependents who have failed to comply with the Form I-515A directive by the specified deadline. Recipients of the “Intent to Terminate” notices will have 14 days, as of the date the letter is sent, to respond to the Form I-515A. Failure to comply will result in the termination of their SEVIS record. For more information, please download the Form I-515A Termination Procedure on ICE.gov.