Your Immigration Status

Your Immigration Status

It is important for all F-1 visa holders to understand the regulations and benefits of their visa status. This allows students to make informed decisions that will have a positive impact on their academic standing and lawful stay in the United States. The list below is to remind you of the basic requirements to maintain your visa status. Additional policies will apply if you are working in the United States, changing your visa status, transferring between schools, or if you have another unique situation.

Ten things to remember:

  1. Maintain full-time enrollment (12 credits for undergraduate students; 8 credits for graduate students).
  2. Visit the ISSS office before dropping below full-time. Dropping below full-time without prior authorization from ISSS will jeopardize your ability to remain in the U.S.
  3. Accept only authorized employment. Off-campus employment requires pre-authorization.
  4. Contact the ISSS office if you need to transfer to another institution or change your status.
  5. Apply to the ISSS office for an extension of your program at least 30 days before your I-20 expires.
  6. Keep your passport valid for 6 months into the future.
  7. If the signature on your I-20 has expired, have the ISSS office sign it before leaving for travel outside the United States. Travel signatures are valid for twelve months and must be valid on the day you plan to re-enter the US.
  8. Notify ISSS of any changes in your name or status.
  9. Report a change of address to the ISSS office within 10 days of your move so we can update your information in SEVIS system. Also, update your address with the Office of the Registrar.
  10. Keep your documents (I-20, I-94, and passport) with you as it is required by law to carry proper official documentation always. We recommend that you make a copy of all your documents and keep them in a safe place other than where you keep the original documents.

Consequences to Violating Your Status:

Once you violate your status you are considered “out of status” and no longer eligible for F-1 benefits, such as employment authorization, and you will need to take immediate action to regain your status. ISSS will help you with regaining status by explaining your options and assisting you with getting the needed documentation. However, regaining status can be very inconvenient, require international travel, and be expensive.  ISSS does not recommend violating your status, but if you do, make an appointment to talk with an ISSS advisor immediately.