Now that you enrolled and attending classes at the University of North America, there are still many issues related to your status or your special circumstances for which you can turn to the International Student Affairs Office. You may have questions about vacations, traveling home, when can you work and many more.
Maintaining F-1 Status
Every F-1 student must comply with the following guidelines in order to maintain his/her legal status. Failure to maintain status can result in severe consequences. Please note: "STATUS" is a function of physically being in the US. When leaving the US for breaks, vacation, study abroad, etc. the student has no "status," but will be granted F-1 status upon reentering the US with an F-1 visa. (See exception to F-1 visa requirements below in section on traveling outside the US.)
1. Enroll in Authorized School - This means that in order to attend the University of North America full-time as an F-1 student, you must have a valid I-20 issued by the University of North America.
2. Maintain full-time enrollment - This means you must register for, attend and complete the minimum 6 credit hours per term academic term.
a. Vacation policies: An F-1 student is permitted an annual vacation (usually a period of 3 months) once each academic year. An annual vacation is permitted (but not required) after the student has been full-time enrolled for 3 academic terms. The student must also have a 3.0 GPA or higher to be eligible for a vacation.
b. Enrollment during one's final term: During the last term of your academic program, less than full-time enrollment is permitted.
3. Comply with employment and practical training regulations - This means do not exceed 20 hours per week of work when employed on campus during your academic term. Do not work off campus without getting proper work authorization through the International Student Affairs Office.
4. Get your I-20 signed on the last page before departing the US for a temporary absence - In order to reenter the US after a temporary trip abroad, you must have a current signature on the last page of your I-20. Get this signature in the International Student Office. Your passport must be valid to enter the US - see next item. Generally speaking, to reenter the US after a temporary trip abroad, your F-1 visa must also still be valid. See page on Automatic Revalidation for exceptions to this rule.
5. Keep your passport valid - Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months into the future at all times. If your passport is about to expire, contact your embassy in Washington for instructions to extend the validity or to get a new passport. Click to find the website of your embassy.
6. Report address changes within 10 days of moving - To have your address updated in SEVIS, you must complete the Change of Address Form and send it via email to the International Student Affairs Office, firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Apply for extensions of your I-20 before it expires - If your program of study is going to take longer than the time provided on your I-20, make an appointment in the International Student Affairs Office to get it extended.
8. Comply with departure grace periods - Students who have completed their programs have 60 days to depart the country after the program end date or after the end of their Optional Practical Training. Students who drop out of their programs of study in the middle of an academic term for whatever reason with the approval of the International Student Affairs Office have 15 days to depart the country before their SEVIS records are terminated for Authorized Early Withdrawal. Students who drop out without giving prior notification to the International Student Affairs Office AND the university are expected to leave the US immediately and their SEVIS records will be terminated for Unauthorized Withdrawal.