Maintaining F-1 Status

It is essential to remember that you must take full responsibility for maintaining your status with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). That is, you are responsible for finding out, knowing, and following pertinent regulations.

Students in F-1 Status must do the following to maintain status:

Have a Valid, Unexpired Passport

Do you know when your passport expires? Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your entry date into the U.S.

Attend the School That you are Authorized to Attend

If you plan to take classes at another college during the summer breaks make sure to see the international student adviser before registering for classes.

Pursue a Full Course of Study or Engage in Authorized Practical Training Following Completion of Studies

You should be enrolled in 12 undergraduate units (3 courses). If you need to drop below that, you must see the international student advisor for approval.

Do not Accept Employment

Do not accept employment of any kind, either on or off campus, without written permission from the International Student Advisor and, if necessary, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Note: Please see DSO before working.

Make Normal Progress Towards Completing a Course of Study

This means being enrolled in at least 12 undergraduate units, attending regularly, and doing well in them.

Have a Valid I-20 and Apply for Timely Extensions

It is your responsibility to know when your visa and I-20 expire.

Visa expiration: Please see DSO, 6 months before your visa expires.

I-20 expiration: Please see DSO 2 months before your I-20 expires.

Have Medical Insurance at all Times

While you are on an F-1 Visa, you are required to have medical insurance. International students are required to be enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), unless they have a comparable Health insurance provider from the United States. If you have any questions or concerns, please see Kim Nykanen in the Student Affairs Office or email her at

Follow Transfer Procedures

Once you have completed your studies and any practical training that is authorized, you must leave the U.S., transfer your I-20 to another school, or change to another immigration status within the appropriate time allowed.
Students in F-1 student immigration status are allowed to stay in the U.S. for 60 days beyond their completion date.

If you are Planning to Travel Outside of the United States.

If a student is planning to make a trip outside the U.S., the student must have the travel page of his/her I-20 form endorsed (signed) by any designated school official (DSO) at least 2 weeks before you plan to travel.

Your travel signature is valid for up to one year of the day that it is signed for current students.

Students on OPT and STEM OPT must get their I-20’s signed every six months to stay valid.