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Maintaining Valid Visa Status

What does it mean to be "in status"?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) considers you to be in valid F-1 Visa status if you fulfill all of the conditions of your F-1 visa. The conditions are:

  • Attend the school noted on Form I-20
  • Maintain a valid passport for at least six months into the future
  • Maintain a valid Form I-20 and have it signed once per year by the ISC
  • Maintain full-time enrollment
  • Update your address with your ISC within ten (10) days of a move
  • Work no more than 20 hours per week on-campus while classes are in session
  • Do not work off-campus without specific written authorization from OIE or USCIS
  • If applicable:
  • Properly complete the F-1 transfer procedure to change schools within the U.S.
  • Extend your degree program at least thirty days prior to the completion date on your I-20,
  • Complete the change of level procedure when changing from one educational degree level to another
  • If you choose to leave the U.S. early before completing your program, notify the ISC prior to departure

When does USCIS consider me to be “out of status”?

DHS considers you to be “out of status” if you do not fulfill the conditions of your F-1 visa. Illegal employment, dropping below full enrollment without authorization or otherwise violating the conditions mentioned above.

What are the consequences of being “out of status”?

If you are out of status, you lose the following privileges and benefits:

  • Eligibility for legal employment (both on- and off-campus work)
  • No basis for an extension of your degree program
  • Transfer to or from another university in the US
  • Change from one educational level to another
  • Practical Training (both CPT and OPT)
  • F-1 visa is cancelled

 How do I get back in status?

To get back in status you must do one of two things:

  • Apply to USCIS for reinstatement within the US
  • Leave the US and be readmitted with a new I-20

Please note: Students who have worked since becoming out of status in the US are not eligible for reinstatement in the United States. For more details please make an appointment with your international student coordinator.

When does my F-1 status end?

Your F-1 status ends either on the date listed in #5 on your form I-20, or when you complete the last requirement for your program of study, which ever comes first. If you are considering withdrawing from your program or if you may be dropped from your program, please make an appointment with your International Student Coordinator, as these actions have serious ramifications on your visa status.

How long can I stay in the US after completing my studies?

You may stay in the US for 60 days after the completion of your program. You may not work during those 60 days.

Last modified January 19 2011 02:31 PM

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