International Student Information

Maintaining Status in the United States

Maintaining F-1 status means maintaining compliance with the law. Each F-1 international student bears ultimate responsibility for maintaining status, from initial entry to the United States in F-1 status until final departure. The Office of International Services can advise and assist students, but only if students follow the regulations and request assistance in a timely manner. For detailed information about studying in the United States as an F-1 international student, visit F-1 students must comply with the following requirements in order to maintain lawful status:

  • Report to the Office of International Services within 30 days of the program start date that appears on the I-20 Form.
  • Be registered full-time for at least two semesters each year (except in cases of authorized Reduced Course Loads). Failure to maintain the requisite course load could result in severe consequences.
  • Follow transfer procedures if applicable.
  • Obtain a new I-20 Form for a change in educational level of study.
  • Abide by the F-1 grace period regulations (see below).
  • Report any change of personal or employment information to the Office of International Services within 10 days of the change.
  • Maintain a valid passport.
  • Refrain from engaging in unauthorized employment.
  • Make satisfactory progress in a program of study.
  • Apply for a timely extension of studies if applicable.
  • Depart the United States, transfer programs, or change status in a timely manner.

Grace Period

A student who has completed a program and any authorized post-completion optional practical training has 60 days to depart the United States, transfer programs, or file for a change of status.

A student who has been authorized for withdrawal from the College by the Office of International Services has 15 days to depart the United States. A student who is terminated or who withdraws from a program without authorization by the Office of International Services is not granted a grace period and must immediately depart the United States.

Dropping Below Full-Time Studies​

F-1 students must obtain prior authorization from the Office of International Services before undertaking to drop below a full-time courseload. Failure to obtain such authorization is a violation of the Federal F-1 regulations and will result in the immediate loss of F-1 status and possibly other sanctions.

Leave-Taking and Traveling Abroad​

Any F-1 student who intends to take a temporary leave of absence or travel abroad during a semester in which he or she is registered must notify and consult the Office of International Services ahead of time.

If the leave will be longer than five months, the student should consult staff at the Office of International Services at least 15 days prior to departure. The student’s SEVIS record will be terminated and the I-20 Form rendered invalid. Two months prior to returning to the College, the student must contact the Office of International Services and complete the procedures to return for studies in F-1 status.

Before traveling abroad, F-1 students should check the expiration dates on their passport and visa and obtain a new travel endorsement on the I-20 Form from the International Student Advisor or Designated School Official (DSO), if needed. If the visa is expired or will expire while the student is abroad, he or she may need to renew it while abroad in order to re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status.

Coursework Outside the United States

Students who wish to remain outside the United States for an extended period of time for activities related to their programs may qualify to retain F-1 status but must maintain full-time registration during two semesters of the year. Consult the Office of International Services for details.

Failure to Maintain Status

Examples of failure to maintain status include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Dropping below full-time studies without proper authorization.
  • Attending a school other than the one a student is authorized to attend.
  • Failure to apply for a timely I-20 extension, SEVIS record transfer, or change in level of education.
  • Engaging in unauthorized employment.
  • Failure to notify the DSO before travel abroad, leave of absence, or withdrawal.
  • Failure to report within 10 days a change to any of the following: official name, mailing address in the U.S., permanent address in the home country, email address, phone number, program, legal status.

The College is required to manage all F-1 student records in SEVIS each semester. Students who fail to maintain lawful status will lose the privileges of their student status and become subject to deportation and possibly other sanctions.

International Student Employment

Employment eligibility and options for F-1 students are limited by Federal F-1 regulations and are available only to students who have maintained lawful status and are in good standing.

Prior to beginning employment, such students are required to obtain the prior written authorization of the Office of International Services and/or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Failure to obtain proper authorization constitutes a serious violation of U.S. immigration regulations.