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MAINTAINING LAWFUL STUDENT STATUS in The U.S.
- Your passport must be valid for at least six months into the future.
- You must attend the school that issued your visa document (I-20 or DS-2019).
- You must carry a full load of classes each semester except during summer vacation (12 credit hours for undergraduate students; 9 credit hours for graduate students).
- If you change your major or your degree level, you must contact International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) (phone: 745-4857) for more information.
- You may not work off campus without permission from the DHS. Come to ISSS for more information.
- You may work on campus up to 20 hours per week.
- If you move, you must give the ISSS your new address within 10 days of the move.
I-20: The Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status, or DS-2019 (J-1) form is issued by the school the student will attend. It is sent to the student to apply for a visa and to enter the U.S.
I-20 ID Copy: The part of the I-20 (second page); which is returned to the student when entering the U.S. The student is expected to keep this copy with him/her at all times, and to keep previous copies as well.
DS-2019: The part of the DS-2019 (third page) that is returned to the student when entering the U.S.
F-1 Visa or J-1 Visa: The student visa, which is placed in passport at the American embassy or consulate. The expiration date on the visa is for entry into U.S. Once the student enters into U.S., the date does not matter unless he/she leaves and plans to reenter the U.S.
I-94: The white card that is attached to passport when entering the U.S. DO NOT LOSE THIS CARD! The I-94 will usually have the terms “F-1” or “J-1” and “D/S” written on it. If yours does not, bring your passport and I-94 to ISSS.
Duration of status allows and F-1 or J-1 student who is pursuing a full course of study to complete any educational program, or series of programs. After completion of program, it also allows for practical training (if the student is qualified), and for 60 days (for F-1 students) or 30 days (for J-1 students) either to depart from the U.S. or to apply for a change of visa status.
Duration of status allows F-1 or J-1 student who is pursuing a full course of study to complete any educational program, or series of programs. After completion of program, it also allows for practical training (if the student is qualified), and for 60 days (for F-1 students) or 30 days (for J-1 students) either to depart from the U.S. or to apply for a change of visa status.
If you are unable to complete your degree within the period noted on your I-20 or DS-2019 (or pursue studies for eight consecutive years or more for F1 students) you must file an extension of stay within 30 days of the expiration date on your I-20. Failure to file an extension will place you in “unlawful presence.” You will be required to file for reinstatement. This will cost you money and time. You will be considered “unlawfully present” until you are reinstated and will lose any DHS benefits you may have.
It is very important that you follow the regulations above to remain in-status. If for some reason you become out-of-status, you will be unable to receive any benefits from DHS, including work permission and practical training. In many cases, you will be required to be in-status for another 9 months to be eligible for these benefits.
Being out-of-status makes a student unlawfully present and may jeopardize your stay in the U.S. and any changes in immigration status you wish to make in the future.
If you plan to leave the U.S. for a short visit and plan to return to continue your studies, there are certain procedures you must follow:
1. Be sure your passport is valid for at lease six months from the date that you re-enter the U.S.
2. Your visa stamp must say “F-1” or “J-1” and still be valid. If you changed visa type (for example, from B-1 to F-1 or J-1), or if your visa has expired, you must go to a consulate or embassy for a new stamp before you re-enter.
3. Bring your current I-20 or DS-2019 to International Student & Scholar Services and request a Travel I-20 or DS-2019. BE SURE TO MAKE YOUR REQUEST AT LEAST TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOU EXPECT TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY.
4. Take along proof of financial support and other documents, which you may need. A recent transcript (unofficial from Topnet is ok) or proof of your enrollment might be asked for.
Keep copies of all these documents in a separate suitcase or bag so that you will have them if you should lose your originals!
If you are not sure about any of these regulations or have questions or concerns about your legal status, please contact International Student & Scholar Services by phone at 270-745-4857 or by e-mail: email@example.com