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Maintaining F-1 Status

Immigration Responsibilities as an International Student

Remember that it is your responsibility to comply with all existing U.S. government rules and regulations as they apply to you. These regulations are continually amended and changed by the U.S. government.

To Maintain Your Status as an F-1 Student You Should:

  • Maintain a valid passport unless you are exempt from the passport requirement.
  • Attend the school you are authorized to attend.
  • Pursue a full course of study and make normal progress towards the completion of the program of study. Students must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours each fall and spring semester. Courses taken for "audit" do not carry credit and cannot be used in calculating full-time status.
  • Notify the Office of Cross-Cultural and Study-Away Programs within 10 days of any change of address so we can report that information to the USCIS online.
  • Refrain from working off-campus unless you have official authorization from Susquehanna or USCIS. F-1 students may work on-campus up to 20 hours total per week during the school year, and full-time on-campus during summers and vacation periods. You may work on campus as described above even if your Social Security card says that employment is not authorized.
  • Follow procedures to extend your educational program if you will not complete your studies by the date listed in section 5 of your I-20 form. Your I-94 arrival card in your passport indicates you have been admitted to the United States as an F-1 until "D/S" or "duration of status." This means the period during which you are maintaining full-time status as described above. When you complete your program, you have a 60-day grace period during which you can travel inside the U.S., apply to begin another degree program, change to another non-immigrant visa status, or begin your Optional Practical Training. If you do not start any of these processes, you cannot travel outside of the U.S. and re-enter during this grace period.
  •  To legally remain in the U.S. as an F-1 student, you must also have a current I-20 which corresponds to your level, field and period of study. Be aware of the information on your I-20 and keep it current!
  • Your visa is similar to a letter of invitation to the U.S. When going through the immigration process on entry to the U.S., you present your visa to the officer. Your visa can expire while you are in your program without affecting your permission to be in the U.S. Therefore, your visa only becomes important when you travel outside of the U.S. and intend to return to the same program. (Special rules apply for travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean).
  • Failure to comply with these regulations will result in the loss of your F-1 student status. We refer to this as being "out of status." Please see the international student advisor if you think you are out of status.

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