Maintaining your F-1 Visa Status

immigration      

As an F-1/J-1 student, you are admitted to the U.S. for "duration of status", which is noted as D/S on the white I-94 card in your passport. This means you are permitted to stay in the U.S. as long as you maintain your status. F-1 status is granted when you enter the U.S. and is regulated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The visa is different from immigration status; the visa stamp is placed in your passport by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and is granted for entry purposes only. Even if your visa is valid, you can lose your legal student status if you do not comply with immigration laws regulating your stay in the U.S. If you fail to maintain your legal student status, you will need to speak to your International Student Advisor at the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities and International Affairs to discuss your options for restoring your immigration status. (Reinstatement Form is available under immigration Forms sidebar)

How to Maintain Your Immigration Status?
  • Maintain a valid passport at all times.
  • Attend the school that is listed on your current I-20/DS-2019.
  • Complete a full course of study during the fall and spring semesters. A full course of study is defined as 12 hours per semester for an undergraduate student and 9 hours per semester for a graduate student. However, graduate students may be eligible to enroll for 3 hours once all coursework has been completed and the student is enrolled in thesis or dissertation.
  • If you need to drop below a full course of study, contact the International Affairs Office before dropping any course. (Form available under immigration forms sidebar)
  • Apply for an extension of your program if you cannot complete your degree by the end date listed on your I-20/DS-2019.
  • Obtain a new I-20/DS-2019 whenever you make a change in degree levels, e.g., from a bachelor's degree to a master's degree or from Optional Practical Training to a new degree, etc.
  • Limit on-campus work to part-time (part-time employment is defined as 20 hours per week) during the fall and spring semesters. On-campus employment may be full-time (more than 20 hours per week) during the summer and official school breaks. F-1 and J-1 students do not require special authorization to work on campus. Off campus work is not authorized without prior consultation with your Immigration Advisor.
  • Report a change of address to the Office of International Affairs (OIA) within ten (10) days of your move.
  • If you are traveling, ensure your I-20 is properly endorsed by your Immigration Advisor prior to your travel.