Legal Responsibilities

The visa type listed on the immigration document I-94 card given upon entering the U.S. determines your status classification. Most international students with F-1 or J-1 visas have Duration of Status (D/S), which means that you may remain in the U.S. while following the program of study within the dates indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019.
To remain "in status," students are responsible for knowing and following these requirements:
  1. The Office of International Programs is required to have current copies of your passport, visa, I-94 card and I-20 or DS-2019 on file. If you update any of these documents, you will need to bring them in to be photocopied.
  2. Report any change of your local or permanent home country address to the Office of International Programs within 10 days after the change occurs.
  3. Carry a full course load during both the Fall and Spring semesters. Full-time is usually 12 credits for undergraduates and 8 credits for graduates. You do not have to be enrolled during the summer sessions. Any exceptions to full-time study must be approved in advance with the Office of International Programs. 
  4. Apply for an extension of stay if you will not complete your degree by the completion date specified on your I-20. This must be done before the date indicated in order to avoid becoming a visa overstay.
  5. Do not accept any off-campus employment before checking your eligibility with the Office of International Programs. 
  6. Limit approved employment, both on and off campus, to 20 hours per week while school is in session.
  7. Before traveling outside the U.S., a DSO should sign your I-20. Re-entry signatures are valid for 12 months only. You should also check the date on your visa to make certain that it has not expired.
  8.  Your passport must be valid at all times while you are in the U.S and should be valid 6 months into the future upon entry into the U.S.
  9. Since your visa is an entry document, students with duration of status (D/S) may legally remain in the U.S. even if their visa has expired, as long as they are attending the institution listed on their I-20 (or DS-2019), the completion date of the I-20 has not been reached, and they are maintaining their student status. If you need to apply for a new visa, check with the Office of International Programs before leaving the country.
  10. Maintain primary health insurance covering treatment by physicians and hospitals in the U.S.
  11. Depart the U.S. within 60 days of completing the program of study (30 days for J visas).
  12. Keep all immigration documents in a secure place. Students should notify the Office of International Programs if any of these documents are lost or stolen.
Immigration authorities consider unauthorized employment to be a serious violation and a deportable offense.

You should always direct any questions regarding immigration issues to a DSO in the Office of International Programs. Although IPO staff is available to assist you in maintaining lawful status, the final responsibility is yours.