It is of utmost importance that you follow the regulations to keep your status as an F-1 visa holder as active and valid. Our office is here to help, but your visa is ultimately your visa, so it is imperative that you know the policies related to your visa.
Below is a list of the regulations you must follow in order to keep your F-1 visa active. Click on each box to read more information about that specific regulation.
In order to maintain status as an F-1 visa holder you must:
- Attend class in personYou have been given a visa specifically to study and be a full-time student in the United States. You must be attending and passing in-person classes every semester. Failure to attend class, or only participate in classes online, is a violation of your F-1 visa regulations.
- Pursue a full course of study
Attending in-person class part-time is unacceptable on an F-1 visa. You must be enrolled as a full-time student every semsester. "Full-time" is defined as:
- 12 units for undergraduate students
- 9 units for graduate students (unless otherwise stated by your program rotation)
- Make normal progress towards a degree
You must be actively pursuing the completion of a degree. You are welcome to take electives or courses that interest you outside of your degree, but not as part of your core 12 or 9 units if degree-related courses are available.
- Apply for program extensions before the expiration date on the current I-20
Once your Program End Date (listed on page 1 of your I-20) has passed no further changes can be made to your SEVIS record or I-20. Any program extensions need to be made before your listed Program End Date.
- Follow USCIS procedures for changing from one program or educational level to anotherIf you wish to change programs at CBU (e.g., go from a Bachelors program to a Masters program after graduation) then you must follow USCIS regulations, and CBU's International Admissions timeline.
- Follow procedures for transferring from one school to anotherIf you need to transfer to another institution you need to follow proper transfer procedures. Please contact your International Student Advisor for assistance and to ensure you are following visa regulations.
- Limit on campus employment to 20 hours per week while school is in sessionWhen class is not in session students on an F-1 visa may work up to 28 hours on campus. If you are a graduate student who has summer session courses you cannot work more than 20 hours during summer months until your summer classes have ended.
- Refrain from off-campus employment without authorizationOff-campus employment, of any kind, without prior authorization is not permissible on an F-1 visa. Examples of authorized off-campus employment would be through university-approved CPT or USCIS-approved Economic Hardship.
- Report a change of address or name to your DSO within 10 days of the changeYour DSO must report the change to SEVIS within 21 days.
- Have a plan for your SEVIS record before your 60-day grace period ends
After you graduate, or finish your post-completion OPT you have 60 days to do one of the following:
1) Begin a new program at CBU
2) Transfer to another institution
3) Apply for a change of status, or
4) Depart from the United States
- Maintain a valid passport
Keep your passport valid, and renew it within seven months of it expiring.
You will learn more about these visa regulations at the International Student Mandatory Meeting, which is held once each semester.
Have questions about these regulations? Contact our office!