Maintaining F1 Status

As an F-1 student, you were admitted to the U.S. for "duration of status" or “D/S”. This means you are permitted to stay in the U.S. as long as you maintain your status by fulfilling F1 status requirements. The visa is a stamp placed in your passport by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and is granted for entry purposes only. F-1 status is granted when you enter the U.S. and is regulated by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement.

Possessing a valid visa does not necessarily mean you are in legal F-1 student status. If you do not continue to comply with immigration laws regulating your stay in the U.S., you will fail to maintain your legal student status and will need to speak to an International Student Advisor to discuss the process of applying to USCIS for a reinstatement.

Government Regulations

ь      Maintain a valid passport at all times, unless exempt from passport requirements.

ь      Complete an official immigration transfer whenever you change educational institutions.

ь      An immigration transfer must be completed within 15 days of the beginning of classes of your first semester at the new school.

ь      Complete a full course of study during the fall and spring semesters (12 hours per semester for an undergraduate student and 9 hours per semester for a graduate student unless otherwise defined by your department).

ь      Apply for an extension of your program if you cannot complete your degree by the ending date listed on item five on your I-20. You can apply for a program extension at any time before the date has passed.

ь      Obtain a new I-20 whenever you make a change in degree levels. A new I-20 must be issued within 15 days of the beginning of classes of your first semester of your new program. This would include changing from English language studies to a university degree, from bachelor's degree to master's degree, from master's degree to a doctorate, from Optional Practical Training Program to a new degree, from one level of degree to one of, the same level (master's to a second master's degree), etc.

ь      Work off-campus ONLY if you have first received authorization from an Immigration Advisor or USCIS. On-campus work requires an on-campus work authorization from the Office of International Services. It is limited to part-time (20 hours or less 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. When you work on-campus, you must maintain your full-time student status or your employment will become illegal.