While you are an F-1 international student in the U.S., the federal government requires that you comply with certain rules and regulations. We refer to this as “maintaining your status,” and it is your responsibility to know and comply with all immigration regulations that apply to your non-immigrant status. If you do not maintain your status and are considered unlawfully present in the U.S. you could face serious legal consequences.
Maintaining Your Status
In order to maintain your F-1 status, you must:
- Maintain a valid passport at all times
If you passport is scheduled to expire before you complete your program, you need to apply for a passport renewal at least 6 months before the expiration date.
Do NOT work illegally!
On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours per week during the semester, and 40 hours per week during breaks. Off-campus employment always requires PRIOR authorization from the Office of International Student Services or USCIS. See the Employment Opportunities page for more information.
Maintain full-time course enrollment
You should always be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester. You are allowed to drop below a full course of study only with PRIOR authorization from ISS, and only under very limited circumstances.
Report any changes to your I-20 to ISS
Your I-20 should always be up-to-date and valid. Report any changes in major (once officially declared) or financial resources to ISS. Notify ISS if your I-20 end date will pass before you are scheduled to finish your degree. See Your I-20 page for more information.
Obtain proper travel signatures if traveling outside of the United States
You must notify a campus Designated School Official (DSO) prior to your departure from campus to receive the appropriate travel signature on page 3 of your I-20. Any questions relating to travel should be directed to ISS. (NOTE: Your DSO for all immigration advising: Courtney Richter, Director of International Student Services) See the Travel page for more travel tips.
Report U.S. address changes to the Office of International Student Services (ISS)
U.S. federal regulations require you to report any address change within 10 days of the address change directly to ISS.
Report departure date and reason to ISS if leaving the college
Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, students leave the College early or unexpectedly. Some of these reasons include early graduation, transfer to another U.S. institution, leave of absence, suspension, or expulsion. U.S. federal regulations require you to inform ISS if you plan to leave Westminster before the date on your immigration document (I-20), and the reason for doing so.