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International Student and Scholar Services

Visa & Immigration

Maintaining Your Status

F-1 and J-1 students should familiarize themselves with the restrictions and reporting requirements of their immigration status. It is important that you abide by the regulations governing your status in order to be eligible to remain in the United States and to apply for certain immigration benefits, such as off-campus employment authorization.

Immigration Status

Immigration status refers to the lawful status you hold as a non-immigrant in the United States, which is determined either by the manner in which you last entered the country, or by the result of a change of status petition submitted to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

"Maintaining status" means to abide by the regulations and reporting requirements governing your immigration status. Failure to properly maintain your status may result in the termination of your program and losing your eligibility to study in the United States.

COVID enrollment requirements for 2021-2022

SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) will allow F-1 students whose SEVIS record was active on March 9, 2020 and has remained active to enroll in more than one on-line class in academic year 2021-2022.

Students whose SEVIS records became active after March 9, 2020 must have at least one course with an in-person component.

ISSS will notify students if SEVP updates its guidance.

Student Category   Any class modality including fully on-line  

A minimum of one course with an in-person component 

 

Continuing F-1 students who were in the U.S. and had active SEVIS records on March 9, 2020 

 

X  

Continuing F-1 students with active SEVIS records on March 9, 2020, who were outside the U.S. on March 9, 2020 and returned to the U.S. after March 9, 2020 (includes transfer and change of level) 

 

 

 

X

Students who entered the U.S. in F-1 status after March 9, 2020 

 

 

 

X

Students who changed status to F-1 after March 9, 2020 

 

 

 

X

F-1 student must enroll full-time which is 8 credits for graduate students and 12 credits for undergraduate students. There are exceptions to full-time enrollment for F-1 students with ISSS approval of non-summer vacation term or less than full-time enrollment for academic or medical reasons. For more information visit the Enrollment Requirements page on the ISSS website.

J-1 students must enroll full-time unless authorized by ISSS for less than full-time enrollment. J-1 students can enroll in any combination of course modalities that help them make academic progress including fully online. However, the purpose of the J Exchange Visitor program is to facilitate in-person exchange, so ISSS encourages enrollment in in-person or hybrid classes if possible.

Summary of Regulations and Reporting Requirements

The list below outlines some of the major responsibilities and reporting requirements of F-1 and J-1 immigration status. If you are unsure about a particular requirement or how it may apply to your status, please contact an international student advisor to learn more.


MAINTAINING IMMIGRATION DOCUMENTS

  • Passport: Must be unexpired at least six months into the future.
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Card: Must be correct while in the United States.
  • U.S. Visa: Must be unexpired when re-entering the United States.
  • I-20 or DS-2019: Must contain current biographical, academic, and financial details.
  • Program end date:  must extend until completion of studies.

REPORTING CHANGES

  • Change of Address: Must be reported within 10 days of moving by updating in PioneerWeb.
  • Change of Legal Name: Submit a copy of your updated passport to ISSS.
  • Change of Immigration Status: Submit copy of I-797 Notice of Approval from USCIS to ISSS.

EMPLOYMENT

Federal immigration regulations limit employment for F-1 and J-1 students: the kind of employment, the number of hours per week and the periods of employment. You should verify that you have authorization before beginning in any form of employment. 

See our page on employment for more information.


ENROLLMENT

  • Academic Term: Must maintain full-time enrollment each academic quarter or semester.
  • Summer Vacation: Enrollment is generally not required unless the student is beginning studies in the summer or if the student was approved for a non-summer vacation quarter for that calendar year.