Maintaining F-1 Status (Immigration)

Basic information

  • Owner(s):
  • Applies to:
    • Current Students
    • Prospective Students
  • Approved by:
    • International Admissions
  • Issued: December 1, 2021
  • Last updated: December 1, 2021

Even with a valid visa, passport, I-20, and I-94, you will still lose your F-1 status if you break the rules. To maintain status, follow the rules below.

You must:

  • Take at least 12 credit hours per semester (fall and spring). Graduate students must take at least 9 credits per semester. There are some exceptions.
  • Audited courses do not count towards a full course load.
  • Dropping or withdrawing from a course before the end of the semester will not allow you to count the credits towards a full course load, even if you drop or withdraw right before the very end of the semester.
  • No credits are required during summer break as long as you intend to enroll in the following fall semester.
  • Notify the immigration coordinator within 10 days of changing your U.S. address.
  • Keep your passport valid. If it is within one or two years of expiring, be sure to research your country’s passport renewal process and begin renewing it as early as possible.
  • Make adequate progress towards your degree each semester. If you are academically dismissed, you will lose your F-1 status.

You must not:

  • Work illegally
  • Commit a crime
  • Remain in the U.S. more than 60 days after completing your academic program
  • Remain in the U.S. more than 15 days deciding to [withdraw]

Losing your F-1 status means that you may no longer remain in the U.S. legally. To regain status, you would need to depart the U.S. and return with a new SEVIS record or, if the status violation was somehow not your fault, you could try to apply for reinstatement. Although you may be able to continue your studies after a status violation, it can decrease your chances of getting future immigration benefits, such as OPT, H1-B, a “green card,” etc., as well as your chances of getting future visas.



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