Maintaining F-1 Status
It is critical that international students in F-1 Student Status maintain their legal status while in the United States. Students must know and fully comply with the following:
- Students must attend the college/university that USICS has authorized them to attend (the school that issued your I-20).
- Students must complete a full course of study (9 credits for graduate students; 12 credits for undergraduates) during normal enrollment periods (fall and spring semester). Students who are not be enrolled full-time, must receive authorization/permission from ISSS in advance. They are not required to register during the summer. Graduate students on assistantship, fellowships, or externships may enroll in six (6) hours to meet requirement, as long as their department allows. Students are encouraged to check with their department before they register for fewer than nine (9) semester hours for the fall or spring semester.
- Students are encouraged not to withdraw from any classes without speaking with an international student advisor first. F-1 students must complete the Request for a Reduced Course Load.
- Students must apply for an extension of their program of study prior to the expiration date on your Form I-20 if they cannot complete the program by that date. F-1 students must complete the Extending Certificate of Eligibility Form.
- Students must obtain a new Form I-20 within 15 days of admission upon changing their academic program from one degree level to another (e.g., from Bachelor's to Master's level), one school to another (e.g., from the School of Medicine to the School of Engineering), or one major/field of study to another (e.g., from Chemical Engineering to Physics).
- Students need to request a new Form I-20 to reflect a change of major as soon as the change is approved by the university.
- Students need to request a new Form I-20 to reflect any changes in funding within 15 days of the change.
- Students are not permitted to work off-campus unless you have, in their possession, written authorization to do so. This authorization will come from USCIS or ISSS, depending on the type of employment authorization they were granted. F-1 students are allowed to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week when school is in session.
- Students are required to maintain a valid passport at all times, unless exempt from passport requirements. Students should contact their U.S. Embassy or Consulate with questions regarding extending their passport.
- Students need to complete an official immigration transfer whenever they change educational institutions.
- Students should use the General Request Form to request immigration documents for their F2 dependents.
- All non-immigrants are required to report a change of address or name within 10 days of the event. Currently enrolled F1 students do so by updating their address in TUPortal.
- All non-immigrants must notify ISSS prior to traveling outside the U.S. so that the Form I-20 can be endorsed for travel or a new form can be issued, if required. The ISSS signature on the Form I-20 should have been received within 6 months of the person re-entering the U.S. For example, if a person are re-entering the U.S. in August 200X, the ISSS signature should be no older than March of the same year.