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Maintaining Student Status

Maintaining Your F-1 Immigration Status


Below are some of the most common F-1 regulations. Please consult with the International Student Services Coordinator for further information.

Keep Your Documents Up To Date

I-20: Do not let your I-20 expire. If you need an extension to the completion date on the I-20, please contact the International Student Services Coordinator, Karin Griffith at 361/825-2258. If your I-20 expires before you graduate, you will be out of legal status. Keep all your I-20s for your records.

      • Passport: Do not let your passport expire. You should extend your passport six months prior to the expiration date at your country’s Consulate in the United States or when you go back home. You cannot work with an expired passport.
      • I-94 Card or I-797: Keep your I-94 card. It must state F-1 and D/S (Duration of Status). Your dependents’ I-94 must state “F-2” and “D/S”. If you have an expiration date on your I-94 card, you should speak to the International Student Services Coordinator immediately.
      • Visa Stamp: It is okay for your visa to expire while you are in the United States; however, you may need to renew it if you travel outside the United States. Pay attention to the number of entries into the United States you are allowed. It is acceptable for your visa to have another school name on it. Please contact the International Student Services Coordinator for information concerning going to Mexico or Canada with an expired visa.
      • Physical Address Changes: Be sure to report any physical address changes to the university and to the Coordinator, International Student Services. If you fail to do so you could result in losing your legal immigration status and you could be required to leave the United States.
      • Maintain Foreign Permanent Address: Your foreign permanent address is the address outside the United States to which you intend to return.

Maintain Full-time Enrollment

Full time status: In order to be a full-time student you must have the following number of hours each Spring and Fall semester.Summer enrollment is not mandatory.

Graduate Students – 9 hours

Undergraduate Students – 12 hours

Program Extension - Apply for an extension of your program if you cannot complete your degree by the ending date listed on item five on your Form I-20. You can apply for a program extension any time during your course of study. You will need to contact your academic advisor prior to the end date of your Form I-20, who will contact the International Student Services Coordinator with your new completion date.

Employment - On-campus work is limited to part-time (20 hours or less per week) during fall and spring semesters. It may be full-time (more than 20-hours/ week) during summer and official school breaks. Work off-campus is only permittedif you have first received authorization from the International Student Services Coordinator.

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