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U.S. Visa Stamp

The F-1 visa stamp is a travel document issued by U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad and placed into your passport. This document is proof that the U.S. Department of State has reviewed your visa application and completed the required security checks to confirm that you intend to be a in F or J status and are safe to enter the U.S.

All international students and scholars (except Canadians) are required to have valid F or J visa stamp in order to enter the U.S.

The walk-through will explain how to read your I-20 and answer common questions.

Learn More about how to read your US Visa!

This should list the Embassy / Consulate where you attended your visa interview

    This is a unique number assigned to your visa at the time if issuance. This is not your visa number.

      Also called “family name” or “last name”

        This should match the “Surname / Primary Name” from your I-20.

          We are required to use the name standardization of the machine readable line of your passport when creating an I-20 in the SEVIS immigration system. You should enter your name as it appears here for all official and U.S. government processes (SEVIS fee payment, visa application, driver’s license application, Social Security, U.S. bank accounts etc)

            If you have questions about the way your name appears or have changed your name on your passport, please contact our office.

              Also called “first name”

                This should match the “Given Name” from your I-20.

                  We are required to use the name standardization of the machine readable line of your passport when creating an I-20 in the SEVIS immigration system. You should enter your name as it appears here for all official and U.S. government processes (SEVIS fee payment, visa application, driver’s license application, Social Security, U.S. bank accounts etc)

                    If you have questions about the way your name appears or have changed your name on your passport, please contact our office.

                      This is the non-immigrant classification of your visa.

                        F-1 is an international student

                          F-2 is the dependent family member (spouse or child) of an F-1 student

                            J-1 is an exchange visitor (such as a student, research scholar, professor)

                              J-2 is the dependent family member (spouse or child) of a J-1 exchange visitor

                              This should match the number on the passport that contains the visa

                              This should match your sex, based on your passport.

                              This should match the date of birth on your passport. The standard date format in the U.S. is MM/DD/YYYY.

                              This is a abbreviation of the nationality of your passport.

                              This field signifies the number of times you can use the visa to enter the U.S. This should list either 1, 2, 3 or M. For most students it lists M, which signifies that you can enter multiple times.

                              This is the date that the visa was issued.

                              This is the date that your visa stamp expires and can no longer be used for admission into the U.S.

                                The annotation varies for each student or scholar, but generally will list your SEVIS ID number and school name, or program code. Occasionally the annotation will include notes about security clearance or visa processing.

                                  For people in J status, there should be a notation about the two year home residency requirement (212(e)).

                                    This shows your name using international name standardization. This makes the visa easy to read by automated machines at ports of entry across the U.S.