Maintaining Your F-1 Status

As an F-1 student, there are several regulations that you must follow to maintain your student status. Most students on an F-1 visa were admitted for D/S, which is stamped or written on your I-20 or I-94. This means you are allowed to remain in the U.S. for the Duration of Status until the program end date your I-20. It is your responsibility to maintain this status and understand the regulations set forth by the United States Customs and Immigration Services. Even if your visa is valid, you can lose your legal F-1 status by not complying with the following regulations. As an F-1 student you must:

  • Not let your I-20 expire (Program end date on I-20)
    • If you need additional time to complete your program, please contact our office.
  • Maintain a full time class schedule of at least 12 credit hours (9 credit hours if your first term is in the summer). You must be registered full time within 10 days of the semester start date! You are not permitted to take classes only in a short session and must have classes throughout the entire semester.
    • If you receive a W or AU grade, your full time status may be jeopardized.
    • To see if you qualify under the DHS guidelines for a reduced course load, please visit our office.
    • Take no more than 3 credit hours of online course work per term toward your full time requirement. Online classes are not permitted in a required summer term.
    • Notify our office within 10 days of a change in contact information.
    • Not work in the U.S. without authorization.
    • Make academic progress toward your degree program.
      • Please review the Academic Standards of Progress
      • Obtain a new I-20 whenever you make changes in your program of study or in degree levels. This includes changing from language studies to an associate's degree, changing optional training program to a new degree, from one level of degree to one of the same level (associates to a second associates degree), etc.
    • Students transferring to another institution must provide a transfer form and acceptance letter no later than the first day of the CPCC term.

It is the student's responsibility to notify International Programs and Services of any changes in your contact information, intent to transfer and understand what your responsibilities are to maintain your status. Failure to do so could result in your I-20 termination.

Even if your visa is valid, you can lose your F-1 status by not complying with the immigration laws regulating your stay in the U.S. If you fail to maintain your legal status, reinstatement may be an option. The International Programs & Services Office can assist.