Maintaining F-1 Status

In order to maintain status, F-1 students must:

  • Report to the Designated School Official (DSO) in the Center for Global and Career Education (CGCE) for Registration in SEVIS. This must occur shortly after arrival, as DSOs must complete registration in SEVIS for all students within 30 days of the start of each semester.
  • Carry a valid passport with you at all times. Passports can be renewed at your country's consulate or embassy in the U.S. Be sure to plan ahead. Renewing a passport can take several months.
  • Maintain a full course of study during the academic year (August-May). In order to be a full-time student you must take a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester. If at any time, for any reason, you suspect that you may be in danger of falling below 12 credit hours, you must contact an International Student Adviser prior to dropping below the 12 credit hour minimum. Students in their final semester may enroll in fewer than 12 hours if they will meet all of their graduation requirements.
  • Make normal progress towards completing the course of study. At Earlham, normal progress is defined as successfully taking an average of 15 credit hours per semester.
  • Never work without authorization. On-campus work for students who receive a “work award” is authorized for a limited number of hours. The College limits employment to 10 hours per week during the academic year.  Immigration regulations also limit the number of hours that students can work to 20 hours per week while school is in session.  Working more than 20 hours a week during the school year is a violation of F-1 visa regulations and will result in a SEVIS termination. Working off-campus without prior official permission from the USCIS is also prohibited.
  • Maintain a valid I-20. The validity dates are in the "Program of Study" box on the first page of your I-20 under, “Program Start/End Date”. If you cannot complete graduation requirements (for valid reasons) by the date noted on your I-20, you may apply for an extension of stay. You must apply for the extension 30-45 days prior to the expiration date. See an International Student Adviser for details. As an F-1 student you are required to make normal progress toward your degree. Failure to complete the program by the validity date due to lack of normal progress is not a valid reason for an extension of stay.
  • Complete a Personal Information Update  when you have changed addresses within 10 days of the change occurring
  • Complete a Personal Information Update within 10 days of any changes in your biographical, academic (major/minor), and residential data.
  • Notify SEVP of transfer to another school or a change in educational program. See an International Student Adviser if you plan to transfer to another school and complete the Transfer Out Request on the F-1 Student Requests page.
  • File all required U.S. tax forms with the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Carry the appropriate documents when you travel outside of the U.S: Form I-20 endorsed for travel, valid passport, valid U.S. visa, and proof of financial support. It is also a good idea to have a copy of your academic transcript with you upon re-entry into the U.S.