Immigration Information

As an international student, you are responsible for meeting the obligations to maintain your legal status in the United States. We can provide you with good advice about immigration matters at any time during your studies at Grand View. Please feel free to contact us with questions that may arise, we are dedicated to providing you with accurate information that pertains to your specific immigration situation.

Immigration Documents

Your Passport
Your passport is your international identification. It has your personal information on the first or last page. Your passport must be valid at least 6 months into the future at all times.  
Your Student Visa

Inside your passport, you will find your student visa (stamp, usually in the middle of your passport).

The visa will contain:

  • Place of issuance
  • Personal information: Your name (family, Given), Gender, Date of Birth, Nationality, etc.
  • Your passport number
  • Entries: 'M' means multiple. This means that you are able to leave and reenter the U.S. multiple times
  • Visa Type/Class: 'R' for Regular/F-1 is your class of visa
  • Expiration Date: The date when your visa is no longer valid. If you have a valid I-20 when your visa expires, you may continue to study in the U.S. legally. However, if you choose to leave the U.S. on an expired visa, you will need to extend you visa before returning to the U.S.
Your I-94 Document

The I-94 card is now an electronic document.

The immigration officer will now stamp your passport with:

  • Port of Entry: where you last entered the U.S. (may not be your final destination)
  • Date you last entered the U.S.
  • Your class: F-1/ J-1
  • D/S: 'Duration of Status,' period in which you are an active full-time student or engaged in OPT

Your electronic I-94 document will be available for you to print or save to your desktop after your entry into the U.S.; we recommend that you print or save your electronic I-94 document immediately after reentry.

In order to access your arrival/departure information visit i94.cbp.dhs.gov.

You will need to have your passport to access the following information:

  • Passport Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Name (as it appears on your passport)
  • Country of Citizenship
  • Visa Class (F-1, J-1)
  • Date of Arrival

Your I-94 will also have an admission number ('A' number). This is an 11 digit number at the top of the form. The first 9 digits of this number is your Alien Registration Number.

Each time you leave and reenter the U.S. you will receive a new electronic I-94 document. If you still have your paper I-94 card, you will need to take it to the airport to forfeit when you leave the U.S.

Old I-94 Card

If you do receive a hard copy of your I-94 card at the Port of Entry, most immigration officers will staple the I-94 card into your passport, but in case they do not do so, keep your I-94 card in a very safe place. You must have it ready when you leave the U.S. again.

Your I-20 document (sometimes referred to as Certificate of Eligibility—COE)

Your I-20 will be issued by your school (Grand View University) and will be mailed to you in your home country. When you receive your I-20 document, sign at the bottom of the first page. You will take your I-20 document to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate to apply for your F-1 student visa.

You will receive a new I-20 if:

  • You apply for OPT or CPT (each time you apply)
  • You run out of room for travel signatures
  • You extend your Program End Date
  • You change your Major/Minor
  • You add/subtract a dependent
  • Change Education Level (UG to G, etc)
  • You Transfer to another school
 Your I-20

To the extreme right is a barcode and a number beginning with the letter 'N'. The number is your SEVIS number: your identification number in the government's 'Student and Exchange Visitor Information System' (see SEVIS website for more detailed information).

  1. Your Personal Information
  2. Your School's Information
  3. Types:
    1. Initial Attendance: You have been accepted, but you have not reported to the school
    2. Continued Attendance: When you report to your new school, you will receive a continued attendance I-20
    3. Transfer Pending: You have been accepted and your previous school (within the U.S.) has transferred your SEVIS record to your new school, but you have not reported to the new school
    4. Transfer: When you report to your new school, you will receive a transfer I-20
  4. Level of degree you are seeking (for example, Associates, Bachelor's, Master's)
  5. This section contains very important information!
    1. Your Major
    2. The latest date you are expected to report to the Director of Multicutlural and Community Outreach at your new school. * If you do not report to the school by the date indicated and you do not communicate with the designated school official (DSO) about why you are unable to report by that date, you will be considered a 'No Show' and your record will be terminated.
    3. Your Program End Date: The date your I-20 will expire. You will then go into your 60 day grace period. *if you need to extend your I-20 or apply for OPT you must do it before your program end date.*
    4. 'The Normal Length of Study' is the amount of time (in months) that it should take for you to complete your degree.
  6. You must have a certain level of English proficiency to attend Grand View University. This is usually measured by the TOEFL test.
  7. Financial Information—The cost to attend the school (tuition, living expenses, dependents, etc.)
  8. Student's Financial Eligibility
  9. Remarks from the DSO or student (if requested)
  10. Printed Name and Signature of Your Designated School Official (DSO), Title, Date, and Place Issued.
    * Your I-20 should be signed when you receive it.
  11. Your Printed Name and Signature, Date you sign the I-20

*You should sign your I-20 as soon as you receive it.

If you are under the age of 18, your legal guardian will need to sign the I-20 as well.

Page 3 of Your I-20

On Page 3 of your I-20, you will find:

  • Work Authorization (CPT, OPT) dates, status, company information
  • Travel Signature (bottom of the 3rd page)—Your DSO will sign the third page to authorize you to travel outside of the U.S.
    *You may not travel outside of the U.S. without a signature from your DSO!

    The signature is valid for one year from the date it was signed. You must reenter the U.S. before the signature expires. Otherwise you should receive a new signature before you travel outside the U.S.

    You do not need a signature form the DSO to travel within the U.S.

Applying for Your Visa

You should apply for your student visa well in advance of the date you will arrive in the U.S. The summer period is very busy at the U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, and it is important for you to have your visa in time to arrive and begin orientation in August. Appointments are now mandatory for all student visas, and some U.S. embassies and consulates require that appointments be made at least four to eight weeks in advance. Visit the U.S. Department of State's site to locate the embassy or consulate near you and for information on waiting times for student visa appointments.

What to Bring With You to the Visa Interview

Be sure to bring the following with you to the visa appointment:

  • Passport
  • Visa application (can be found on consulate website)
  • Visa fee or proof of visa fee payment
  • Federal SEVIS Fee payment receipt
  • Required photo(s)
  • Proof of financial support
  • Grand View University form I-20
  • Grand View University admission letter
  • Evidence of ties to your home country (bank account, property you own, promise of a job, etc.)
  • Test scores and academic records
  • Proof of English proficiency

Note: Required documents may vary in different countries. We strongly recommend visiting the U.S. embassy or consulate website in your country for a more comprehensive list.

SEVIS and SEVIS Fee

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

SEVIS is a national monitoring system that allows the United States government to track and monitor various events during your program of study. Grand View University is required to provide the following information through SEVIS:

  1. Your name
  2. Date and place of birth
  3. Country of citizenship
  4. Address
  5. Status (enrolled, not enrolled)
  6. Date of commencement of studies
  7. Degree program and field of study
  8. Practical training
  9. Termination date and reason
  10. Documents related to your admission

Before you enter the United States you need to understand that once you arrive, you must be committed to following all the rules related to your status. Any violation of status will be reported to the United States government.

SEVIS Fee Payment Process

Option 1: Payment by Credit Card

The Department of Homeland Security has set up a website to accept electronic submission of Form I-901 and payment of the SEVIS fee using a credit card. We strongly recommend that you use this option if possible. Follow the online instructions and then print out the payment screen to verify your payment. Take the payment verification printout with you to your visa interview.

Option 2: Payment by Western Union

Western Union, in local currency, can accept the SEVIS fee. This option is only available in countries where Western Union offers "Quick Pay" service. A properly completed Western Union receipt serves as immediate proof of payment for the visa interview. You must request a "Blue Form" by clicking on "Payment Services" or "Quick Pay." You can find instructions for paying using this option on the SEVIS website.

You may find the nearest Western Union by using the Western Union Agent Locator.

Option 3: Payment by Check or Money Order

When paying by check or money order there are two options:

  • Paper option—Students can download or obtain the Form I-901, fill it in, and mail it with a check or money order to the specified address in Missouri. Once the information and fee are processed, SEVIS will then be able to be updated with the fee payment information.
  • Internet-generated coupon—Students can go to the fee payment website, enter basic information, print out a coupon, and then mail a check or money order with the coupon to the specified address in Missouri. Once the information and fees are processed, SEVIS will then be able to be updated with the fee payment information.

In either case, a receipt notice will be issued when the fee is processed. The mailing addresses for paying by check or money order using the coupon or paper form I-901 are:

Post Office Box Address
I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
PO Box 970020
St. Louis, MO 63197-0020

Street Address for Courier/Express Delivery
I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101

Check Specifics

All checks and money orders must be:

  • Payable to the "I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee."
  • Only checks or money orders may be used when paying by mail.
  • The check or money order must be in US dollars and drawn on a bank located in the United States.

Payment of the SEVIS fee is not limited to you the student. The Department of Homeland Security will accept fee payment from a third party individual or institution, either in the US or abroad using any of the options above.

The fee must be paid at least three business days before your scheduled interview at the embassy or consulate in order for the payment information to show in the SEVIS system. You should bring your I-901 receipt with you to your visa interview.

Completing Form I-901

  1. You must have your Form I-20 in order to complete the I-901.
  2. You must have Butler University's School Code. Our School Code is CHI214F10469000 for F-1 students (I-20s).
Be Aware: SEVIS Announcement
Effective July 31, 2013 the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will no longer mail Form I-797C "Notice of Action" for the I-901 SEVIS fee payment. The payment confirmation you can print from the FMJfee website will replace the Form I-797C. The printed confirmation will serve as proof of payment for the I-901 SEVIS fee.
Visa Delay or Visa Denial

The majority of Grand View students will be successful in obtaining their student visas. Despite this, a small number of students may have their visa applications denied.

The most common reasons for visa denial are:

  • Failure to prove sufficient ties to your home country.
  • Failure to provide sufficient evidence of financial support.

The visa officer must verbally inform you of the reason for the visa denial. If your visa is denied, please send an email message to apiedras @ grandview.edu and provide the date and location of your visa interview, and details regarding the reason given by the visa officer for the denial. You should also notify us if you are subject to a security check and the check is not completed in time to arrive for our schedule semester.

Students From Canada or Bermuda
Students from Canada or Bermuda are exempt from having to apply for a visa. You will have to provide SEVIS fee payment verification along with your I-20 form to an immigration inspector at the port of entry when applying for entry into the United States as an F-1 student.
If Your Visa Is Denied
If your visa is denied you may reapply for the visa within a 12-month period without having to pay the SEVIS fee again.

For additional details on SEVIS and the SEVIS fee, access the SEVIS website.