As an F-1 or J-1 student, it is your responsibility to maintain lawful status in accordance with US immigration laws. The benefits associated with your visa status such as re-entry in to the U.S., on-campus employment, and practical training, are only available if you maintain lawful student status. Below are important reminders on how to maintain your student visa status.
- Keep your passport valid at all times.
- Attend the school you are authorized to attend.
- Continue to pursue a full course of study.
- Follow Department of Homeland Security procedures for moving from one educational level to another (e.g., from Bachelor's degree to a Master’s), and for transferring from one school to another.
- Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours per week while school is in session.
- Refrain from off-campus employment without authorization.
- Have your advisor request program extension of I-20 or DS-2019 at least 60 days prior to the expiration date.
Failure to Comply with Regulations
It is your responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations that apply to F-1 students. If you fail to comply with the regulations, you will be out of status and your SEVIS record will be automatically terminated. You will not be eligible for benefits provided to F-1 students, such as employment (even on-campus employment through a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship), school transfer or practical training.
As an F-1 student, you must update your local address within 10 days of your move in order to comply with immigration regulations. This is the street address where you are residing, or residence hall, if living on campus; PO Box numbers cannot be used. This is must be submitted via email to the International Admission office.
If you have completed your degree and are pursuing Optional Practical Training, you must continue to report your address to the International Admission office. Status changes, name changes and departure from the US after graduation must also be reported.
Although this is not required by law, it is advisable to report your address changes to the Post Office, so your first class mail can be forwarded to your new address.
It is important that your passport be valid at all times. Make plans to renew it 6 months prior to its expiration. Addresses and telephone numbers for foreign consulates can be found at: www.embassy-worldwide.com/ Make sure that you follow carefully the instructions noted on the webpage of your consulate. Keep in mind that to enter the U.S., your passport must be valid a minimum of 6 months into the future.
Extension of Stay
The "completion of studies" on your current I-20 (Item #5) is the date by which you are expected to complete the requirements for your current program. If you are unable to complete by that date, your advisor must request a program extension for you prior to the expiration date. Failure to do this will be a violation of your status. To provide sufficient time to issue an extended I-20, your advisor must email International Admissions 60 days in advance.
Immigration regulations refer to the date you complete all requirements for a program of study as the completion date, not to the date you participate in graduation ceremonies and receive a certificate or diploma. They ignore your graduation ceremony because graduate students in thesis or dissertation programs may complete requirements for a degree any time during the year.
Your lawful F-1 status expires 60 days after the date you complete your degree requirements, and you are expected to leave the country by that date unless you have filed a timely application for Optional Practical Training or made other arrangements to remain lawfully in the US by pursuing another degree or changing your visa status.
Reinstatement of Status
F-1 students who have overstayed their authorized period or have otherwise failed to maintain F-1 student status for fewer than 5 months may be reinstated to lawful F-1 status. Students may apply to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for reinstatement only if the violation resulted from circumstances beyond their control. Reinstatement is intended to be a rare benefit for exceptional cases. If the request is denied, the decision may not be appealed.
Students may request reinstatement through the Interational Admission office proving that they:
- are currently pursuing, or intend to pursue, a full course of study at a school which issued the I-20,
- have not been employed without authorization,
- have established that their failure to maintain student status was due to circumstances beyond their control or that failure to receive reinstatement would result in extreme hardship,
- have not been out of status for more then 5 months, and
- are not deportable on any ground other than overstaying or failing to maintain status.
Duration of Status (D/S)
D/S is a notation. You are admitted to the US for "duration of status," which is defined as the time during which you are pursuing a full course of study and making normal progress toward your degree. This also includes the time you may be on Optional Practical Training (OPT) after you complete your studies (if you qualify and are so authorized), plus a 60 day grace period.