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Maintaining your F-1 Status

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Quick Reference for Maintaining Your F-1 Status 



Registration, Attendance, and Course Load Requirement 

  • Students must register for a "full course load," as defined by the USCIS, unless: (1) the student will complete all the degree requirements by the end of that school term or (2) an OISS staff member approves, in advance, a reduction in course load for one or more of the following reasons: 
  1.  Difficulties with the English language (initial semester in the U.S.)
  2.  Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods or reading requirements (initial semester in the U.S.)
  3.  Improper course level placement
  4.  Illness or another medical condition which compels a student to interrupt or reduce their course of study
  • The student must resume a full course of study when the difficulties or conditions listed above have been resolved 
  • Undergraduate Students: must register for at least 12 semester hours of instruction per academic term
  • Graduate Students: must register for at least 9 semester hours of instruction per academic term with or without an assistantship or fellowship. To graduate students who have completed all required coursework: If a thesis or dissertation is required for a student's program and if they have completed all required coursework, the student should register for the number of hours recommended by their academic adviser or the graduate school 

Click here for F-1 Under Enrollment Status Report

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Extension of Status 

If a student will not be able to complete their course of study before the program end date listed on their I-20, they must apply for an extension before the program end date with an explanation of the reasons for the delay in completion of their program. 

If a student fails to apply for an extension before the I-20 program end date, the student is considered out of status and is not eligible for an extension. The student would have to either apply for reinstatement or exit the U.S. and apply for admission with a new I-20 and a new SEVIS ID for initial attendance.

Click here for more information

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Changing Majors or Fields of Study

Students must inform OISS of any major change and follow the proper procedures for requesting a new I-20 that accurately reflects the change.  To do so please obtain a signed letter (on letterhead) form your academic advisor with your new declared major and the end date of your program, and bring it to the OISS office.

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Procedures for Transfer Out

Students must inform OISS of their intent to transfer to another school and provide the name and the school code of the school to which the student will transfer (the "transfer-in" school) on the transfer-out form. 

Students must inform the transfer-in school of their arrival within 15 days of the program start date listed on the Form I-20.

Frequently Asked Questions

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