It is very important that you keep all of your immigration documents in a safe place. Mahanaim is required by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to keep a copy of these documents in your electronic student file. Be sure to provide Office of International Affairs with a copy of any renewed or updated immigration documents.


  • Must be valid at least six months into the future.
  • Report a lost or stolen passport to the police, as your home country government may require a police report before issuing a new passport.
  • Renew or replace your passport by contacting your country’s U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
  • Submit copies of your renewed or extended passport to Office of International Affairs.

SEVIS Form I-20

  • A Form I-20 is issued by the U.S. school you attend and allows you to:
    1. Apply for an M-1 visa
    2. Enter or re-enter the U.S. to pursue your studies
    3. Receive other immigration benefits
  • Must remain valid at all times throughout your study.
  • You must request a new I-20 prior to the expiration date listed in your SEVIS Form I-20.
  • Keep every I-20 issued to you. Do not discard old ones.
  • Obtain a travel signature from your PDSO before departing the U.S., as you will be required to present it upon reentry. If your absence abroad exceeds more than 5 months, visit our Readmission page.

M-1 Visa

  • Placed by a U.S. Consular official in your passport.
  • Indicates that you are eligible to enter and/or re-enter the U.S. as an M-1 student.
  • Does NOT determine your length of stay in the U.S.
  • If your visa expires while you are in the U.S., it is not necessary to renew it as long as you remain in the country.
  • Can only be granted at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas.

I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

  • If arriving by land or sea: a small white card stapled into your passport.
  • If arriving by air: a stamp in your passport and an electronic record is created, issued by an immigration official at the port of entry.
  • Along with a valid I-20, permits you to stay temporarily in the U.S. as an M-1 student.
  • The immigration official should write “M-1 D/S” on your I-94 card or stamp. D/S stands for “duration of status” and refers to the length of time a student is permitted to remain temporarily in the U.S. to pursue a full course of study.
  • You will receive a new stamp with a new admission number each time you enter the U.S.  Exceptions include brief visits (30 days or less) under certain circumstances to Canada, Mexico, and adjacent islands.  
  • Submit copies of your new admission stamp and electronic I-94 record through visiting Office of International Affairs.