Maintaining F-1 Status

As a student in the U.S. in F-1 status, you are required to follow specific federal laws.  This is meant to provide a generic overview of certain F-1 requirements; it does not contain all laws for every situation.  If you ever have questions or concerns, always contact an advisor with International Student and Scholar Services for specific guidance.

As an F-1 student, it is your responsibility to maintain your non-immigrant F-1 status.  Failure to follow the laws for F-1 status can result in you losing your legal ability to be in the U.S., and may harm your chances of getting a new visa in the future.  To ensure you are following F-1 laws, you must:

  • Keep your passport valid at all times, in most cases for at least 6 months into the future.
  • Ensure your I-94 card is always marked as F-1, D/S when you re-enter the U.S. 
  • Complete your class registration by the published registration deadline (generally the 10-15 days after the first day of class, as published in the Office of the Registrar Academic Deadlines calendar.
  • Update your change of physical address (where you live in the US) with the ISSS within 10 days of the change.  This address cannot be a P.O. Box or a departmental address.
  • Pursue a full-course of study each fall and spring semester, defined as 12 semester hours for undergraduate students and 9 semester hours for graduate students. 
  • Obtain permission from an ISSS advisor if you need to enroll in less than a full-course of study, using the Part-Time Enrollment Authorization form.  
  • Obtain permission from an ISSS advisor before withdrawing from all your courses.   
  • Make normal progress toward completing a course of study.  This includes graduating when you are eligible to graduate and not delaying graduation for non-academic reasons. 
  • Not let your I-20 expire.  You must remember the expiration date on your I-20, and process your program extension prior to the expiration date listed on your current I-20 if you are not able to complete your studies by that time.
  • Restrict your on-campus work to a weekly total of 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters.  You may work full-time during the winter and summer vacations. 
  • Refrain from beginning off-campus work until you have obtained the necessary authorization in advance from either ISSS or the USCIS. 
  • If traveling outside the U.S., ensure you have a valid visa (except citizens of Canada and Bermuda) and a recent travel signature on your I-20.
  • Notify ISSS if you will be outside of the U.S. for more than 5 months. 
  • Contact ISSS if you wish to transfer to another U.S. school.
  • Not work after completing your program of study unless you have been authorized for Optional Practical Training.
  • Depart from the U.S. within 60 days after completing your program of study.

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Last Updated: 08/04/2017 08:23:15