RULES FOR MAINTAINING STATUS
According to Department of Homeland Security regulations, you are fully responsible for abiding by the rules governing your F-1 student status. The international Student & Scholar Services Office (ISSO) will try to help you understand these rules but you are required to follow the Rules and Responsibilities of F-1 Student Status explained below.
RULES OF F-1 STATUS: The International Student & Scholar Services Office is required to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in SEVIS when an F-1 student does not fulfill the following rules of status.
Always be full time
Enroll for and complete a full course of study every fall and spring term. If you do not believe you will be able to fulfill this requirement for any reason, contact the DSO before you withdraw or stop attending class. There are a few limited exceptions to the full requirement for which you might qualify if you obtain permission in advance.
Obtain permission to be less than full time before you drop, withdraw or stop attending
If you do not believe you will be able to be full time for any reason, contact the DSO before you drop, withdraw or stop attending class. There are a few limited exceptions to the full time requirement for which you might qualify if you obtain permission in advance.
Only work as authorized
F-1 students may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and full time during official school breaks. These 20 hours include the work you do for an assistantship if you have one. In order to work off-campus, you must get permission from the DSO and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Never work without authorization. See How to Work Off-Campus information.
Complete your program of study no later than the completion date on your Form I-20
You are required to complete your program of study by the completion date on your Form I-20. If you don’t think you will be able to complete your program by the completion date on your Form I-20, you must apply for a program extension before the completion date expires and get an updated Form I-20. See our How to Extend your Program information. If you expect to complete your program earlier than the I-20’s program completion date, you must get an updated Form I-20 with the correct program completion date before you complete your program.
Obtain a SEVIS transfer to attend another U.S. school
If you plan to attend another U.S. school, college or university, you must notify the ISSO and be “Transferred Out” in SEVIS before your F-1 status ends. See our How to Transfer Schools information.
Notify DSO of the following situations if/when they arise:
· Report address changes to their DSO within 10 days of the change
· Report any changes in program of study to their DSO
· Report any change in academic status to their DSO
· Notify their DSO prior to traveling outside the United States
· Notify their DSO upon applying for change of nonimmigrant status
· Notify their DSO upon approval of an adjustment of status to an immigrant
. Notify their DSO about changes in dependent status
Travel with the following documents Inside the U.S.:
STAC ID card
When travelling Outside the U.S., You will need the following to return:
Valid passport expiring no less than 6 months in the future
I-20 with Travel Endorsement (see your DSO!)
REDUCED COURSE LOAD
F-1 Students studying in the United States are expected to enroll in a full course of study. Under certain circumstances, F-1 students may be eligible to be approved for a reduced course load. This could happen for a number of reasons, which include:
· Medical condition or illness.
· Certain initial academic difficulties, including:
Improper course level placement.
Initial difficulty with the English language.
Initial difficulty with reading requirements.
Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods.
· Registering for your final term or semester.
If you feel as though you are eligible for a reduced course load, speak with the school DSO (Dana Samko) , before taking any action on reducing your course load. She can help you to figure out if you qualify for reduced course load and can give you permission to drop below a full course of study for a term or semester at a time. If you do contact Dana, be sure to provide information and documentation that supports your claim that you qualify for reduced course load. If your qualifying circumstances will continue to affect you in future terms and semesters, you will need to speak to Dana and obtain permission for reduced course load one semester at a time.
PROGRAM EXTENSION (IF I-20 IS EXPIRING)
Don't let your I-20 expire! You must complete your degree program or apply for an extension by the expiration date on your I-20. You are permitted to take as many extra semesters as you need to complete your degree as long as you remain a full-time student. (You are considered a full time student in your last semester regardless of number of credits.)
If you intend to apply for an extension, please provide the following up-to-date and applicable proof of funding along with your application form:
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Optical Practical Training (OPT)
• 17-month Extension of OPT (STEM OPT): Used after regular OPT is completed. Only for students who majored in DHS-approved Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) degrees.
• Cap-Gap OPT Extension: For students whose future employer files a qualifying H-1B petition.
Off Campus Employment
This type of employment is for individual students with severe financial hardship. It can also apply to groups of students identified as experiencing hardship from unexpected circumstances.
To apply for a social security number at your local social security office:
Complete an application for a Social Security card
Provide documents proving your:
Work Authorized immigration status;
Attach 2 letters, one from your DSO and another from Human Resources
If you plan on transferring out of STAC, the first thing you must do is bring the following items to your DSO:
Written confirmation of acceptance to another Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school
Contact information for the new school’s DSO
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) school code for the transfer-in school
After this, your DSO will work with you, and the DSO at your new school to choose a transfer release date. Your new DSO takes responsibility of your SEVIS record on the transfer release date. Factors that go into decided this date include:
Travel and employment plans
Projected start date of your new program
Once the transfer release date arrives, your STAC DSO will no longer have access to your SEVIS record, and your new DSO can create a new Form I-20 for you. To maintain your status, register for classes and contact your new DSO within 15 days of the program start date listed on your new Form I-20.
Change in Education Level
If you are going to apply for graduate school, it must be done before you graduateor before you complete OPT. You must inform your DSO of your plans. If you are continuing at STAC for a business or education masters, your DSO can change your education level in SEVIS. This will require new proof of funding and a new I-20 application. If you are not continuing at STAC your SEVIS record will need to be transferred to your next institution.