Visa Information

Frequently Asked Questions about Visa Documents


What is a "valid" passport?
A "valid" passport must not expire for at least 6 months beyond your period of stay.

What if you lose your passport or what if your passport is expiring soon?
If you are in the U.S., renew your passport at the embassy or consulate of your home country. You may also renew your passport in your home country.


What is the F-1 visa?
The F-1 visa is for international students pursuing academic studies or language training in the U.S.
*Students cannot study at Mid-Pacific Institute on a B-2 tourist visa.

How do you apply for a visa?

  1. Once you have been accepted by Mid-Pacific Institute and receive your I-20, complete Form DS-160 "Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application" and print the confirmation page.
  2. Pay the visa fee and SEVIS fee online. Print both receipts.
  3. Schedule your visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

*Mid-Pacific Institute does not offer the F-1 visa for students applying to Preschool, Kindergarten, and Grades 1-6.

What do you need for the visa interview?

  • Visa fee receipt
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • DS-160 confirmation page
  • I-20 from Mid-Pacific Institute (Make sure that all information matches your passport)
  • Valid passport
  • Financial Support Statement (in English)
  • Transcript (in English)

*Make sure to check the website of your U.S. Embassy or Consulate to see if you need additional documents.

What information must be included in the Financial Support Statement?

  • Name of Bank
  • Name of Account Holder
  • Type of Account - Funds need to be immediately available to the student, such as in a checking/savings account. Invested funds such as mutual funds cannot be used.
  • Funds Available - Balance of account must show sufficient funding to cover all educational and living expenses.
  • Currency of Funds - Preferably in USD. If your bank is unable to issue a statement in English, a certified, translated copy can be submitted with the original document.

*The official bank statement or letter with stamp or signature must be issued no earlier than 6 months prior to your start date.

When can you first arrive in the U.S.?
Newly enrolled students (including summer school students) may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before the start of school.

How long can you stay in the U.S. after you complete your studies?
After you graduate, you have 60 days to depart the U.S., request a school transfer, or change your visa status.

What if your F-1 visa expires?
You can stay in the U.S. on an expired F-1 visa as long as you keep your I-20 up-to-date. However, you must obtain a new visa (may take at least 2 weeks) the next time you depart the U.S.

How do you maintain your F-1 visa status?

  • Keep your passport valid.
  • Attend Mid-Pacific Institute as indicated on your I-20.
  • If you will not graduate as indicated on your I-20, file for extension of I-20 at least 30 days before expiration with Mid-Pacific Institute's External Affairs Office.
  • Follow procedures when transferring to another school. Contact Mid-Pacific Institute's External Affairs Office.
  • Update change of address within 10 days.

Why should you maintain your F-1 visa status?
Failure to maintain status can result in arrest and you may be required to leave the U.S. Violation of status will also affect your ability to return to the U.S.


What is the I-20?
The I-20 is a "Certificate of Eligibility" for nonimmigrant student status, issued by the school to which the student has been admitted.

How is the I-20 created?
The DSO (Designated School Official) enters student information into a U.S. government database called SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).

Does everyone need an I-20?
If you are maintaining another nonimmigrant status in the U.S., you do not need an I-20.
*Dependent children in E, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, R, or S status must change status after their 21st birthday.

How is the I-20 used outside the U.S.?
Once you are accepted by Mid-Pacific Institute, the school will send your I-20 in the mail along with your acceptance packet. You will need it to apply for a F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

How is the I-20 used inside the U.S.?
Once you have arrived in the U.S., the I-20 is used for identification purposes and proof of your legal status.

What should you do with your I-20?
Keep your I-20 in a safe place. When you are traveling, always carry your I-20 (including all old I-20s) and passport in your carry-on bag and present both documents to the U.S. Immigration inspector.

If you are going to travel abroad, you must get your I-20 signed by one of the DSOs below at least 2 weeks before your departure.

Kate Blackburn
Assistant Director of International Enrollment

What if you forget your I-20?
If you forget your I-20 when traveling, you will likely get interrogated at Honolulu International Airport and get an I-515A. The I-515A grants you temporary entry and you must respond within 30 days.

First, talk to the DSO in the External Affairs Office to get your I-20 reissued. Then, the DSO will mail your I-20 with your original I-94 (see below) and I-515A to the Department of Homeland Security.

How do you transfer your I-20 to college/university?

  1. When applying to a college/university, have a DSO at Mid-Pacific Institute complete a "Transfer Verification Form" from the college/university.
  2. Once you have been accepted by the college/university and your final decision to attend is made, notify your current DSO and request that he/she transfers your SEVIS record to the college/university after you graduate.
  3. After your SEVIS record is transferred, your college/university will issue you a new I-20.

*If you are transferring to a U.S. SEVIS approved institution, you do not need to pay the SEVIS fee again.

How do you get your new I-20 for college/university?
Make sure that the DSO at the college/university has the correct address on file so that they can mail your new I-20 to your home. You must re-enter the U.S. with the college/university's I-20.


What is the I-94?
The I-94 is an "Arrival/Departure Record" for nonimmigrants. The U.S. Immigration inspector at the airport will scan your passport and create your electronic I-94.

What should you do with your I-94?
Each time after you enter the U.S., go to to check that your date of entry and your visa category is correct, and print your I-94. If there is an error, you must contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at Honolulu International Airport at (808) 628-5011 within 30 days of entry.