Monday – December 10, 2018

Maintaining F-1 Status

What does it mean to be "in F-1 status"?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) considers you to be in valid F-1 status if you fulfill all of the conditions of your F-1 visa.

The conditions are:

  • Attend the school whose I-20 you used to enter the U.S.
  • Maintain the validity of your passport and I-20 form
  • Maintain good academic standing
  • Maintain sufficient financial resources to avoid becoming a public charge
  • Enroll each semester as a full-time student
  • Work no more than 20 hours per week on-campus while classes are in session
  • Work off-campus only with specific written authorization from ISS or USCIS
  • Complete the F-1 transfer procedure to change schools within the U.S.
  • Extend your stay in your degree program (D/S) before the completion date on your I-20
  • Complete the change of level procedure when changing from one educational degree level to another

When does INS consider me to be "out of status"?
INS considers you to be "out of status" if you do not fulfill the conditions of your F-1 visa.

What are the consequences of being "out of status"?
If you are out of status, you lose the following privileges and benefits:

  • Eligibility for employment, on-campus and off-campus work
  • Extension of program through the notification procedure
  • Transfer to or from another university in the U.S. through the notification procedure
  • Change from one educational level to another through the notification procedure
  • Practical training
  • Visa stamp may be considered canceled
  • Automatic visa revalidation for trips to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands except Cuba (unless you are a citizen of one of those countries)

How do I get back in status?
To get back in status, you must do one of two things: apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service for reinstatement within the U.S., or leave the U.S. and be readmitted with a new I-20. Students who have worked since becoming out of status in the U.S. are not eligible for reinstatement in the United States. For more details, please consult the handout on reinstatement or see an ISS advisor.

When does my F-1 status end?
Your F-1 status ends either on the date listed in #5 on your I-20, or when you complete the last requirement for your program of study, whichever comes first. If you are considering reducing your enrollment below full-time, withdrawing from your program, or if you may be dropped from your program, please consult an ISS advisor because these actions have serious consequences for your visa status.

How long can I stay in the U.S.?
You may stay in the U.S. for 60 days after you complete your program. You may not work during those 60 days.