Maintaining F-1 Visa 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 your advisor in the Center for International Education (CIE) 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:
1. Attend the mandatory International Student Orientation.
2. Keep your passport valid at all times, in most cases for at least 6 months into the future.
3. Ensure your I-94 record is always marked as F-1, D/S when you re-enter the U.S.
4. Complete your class registration by the end of each add/drop period (the last day of the first week of classes).
5. Notify CIE of your change of physical address (where you live in the US) within 10 days of the change. This address cannot be a P.O. Box or a departmental address.
6. 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. No more than 3 credits per semester of on-line coursework can count toward this full-time enrollment requirement.
7. Obtain permission from CIE if you need to enroll in less than a full-course of study.
8. Obtain permission from CIE before withdrawing from all your courses.
9. 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.
10. Not let your I-20 expire. You must remember the expiration date on your I-20, and request a 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.
11. Notify CIE when you declare a major/minor or change your major/minor.
12. Restrict your on-campus employment 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.
13. Not begin off-campus employment until you have obtained the necessary authorization in advance from either CIE or the USCIS.
14. If traveling outside the U.S., ensure you have a valid visa and a recent travel signature on your I-20.
15. Notify CIE if I will be out of the U.S. for more than 5 months.
16. Contact CIE if you wish to transfer to another U.S. school.
17. Not work after completing your program of study unless you have been authorized for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
18. Depart from the U.S. within 60 days after completing your program of study.