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:
- 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.
- Report any change of your local or permanent home country address to the Office of International Programs within 10 days after the change occurs.
- 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.
- 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.
- Do not accept any off-campus employment before checking your eligibility with the Office of International Programs.
- Limit approved employment, both on and off campus, to 20 hours per week while school is in session.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Maintain primary health insurance covering treatment by physicians and hospitals in the U.S.
- Depart the U.S. within 60 days of completing the program of study (30 days for J visas).
- 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.