F-1 Visa Students
As an F-1 visa holder, you are responsible for maintaining your immigration status and complying with
immigration regulations of the United States. Students are tracked via the Student and Exchange Visitor
Information System (SEVIS) – a comprehensive database system under the Department of Homeland Security
and Department of State for which the I-20 is electronically based.
The Office of International Education is responsible for maintaining the SEVIS I-20 database and complying with
all U.S. immigration regulations as they pertain to the F1 Visa category.
Students, therefore, must report the following information to the Office of International Education which includes
but is not limited to:
- Physical address of where you live, at all times while in the U.S. No P.O. boxes are acceptable.
- Change in your overseas address
- Any changes affecting your academic program; i.e., change of degree program, change in financial situation
It is important to understand that holding an F-1 student visa has certain benefits as well as limitations.
A few benefits:
- You may work on-campus immediately upon starting your academic program
- You may work on-campus up to 20 hours per work week during the fall/spring semester; 29 hours per work week during the summer and qualified academic breaks
- You have the right to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) following graduation, providing you have met the one year academic program requirement and other criteria
A few limitations:
- You may not work off-campus at any time while you are an F1 student during the period you are enrolled in classes unless you have documented evidence of severe economic need
- You must maintain adequate financial resources to support your academic studies in the U.S.
- OPT is limited to one year, unless you are in a highly specialized, unique field of study
The university’s responsibility lies in reporting in SEVIS the student’s progress in his/her academic program, change of name, change of address as submitted by the student, positive or negative changes in the student’s schedule, unauthorized work off campus, curricular or practical training, completion of program, request for OPT, and any other substantial information relative to F1 student visa issues and the I-20.
Maintaining F-1 Student Status:
The following must be met in order to maintain your immigration status:
- Maintain 12 credit hours of undergraduate coursework in the fall and spring semesters
- Not withdrawing (W) or dropping (D) coursework that puts a student below the 12 credit hour minimum per semester
- Do not withdraw or drop any courses without prior approval by the Director of International Education first. Note that U.S. immigration has strict rules regarding a reduced course load for one semester
- Enrolling in no more than 3 credit hours of online coursework during the fall, spring semesters
- Do not engage in any unauthorized off-campus employment
- Keep your passport valid at all times
- Keep health insurance coverage in place at all times
- Keep your I-20 valid at all times
- Update OIE within 10 days of any change of the local address where you live