F-1 Status FAQs

Non-Immigrant (F-1) Status

What does it mean to be "in status"?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considers you to be in status if you fulfill all of the conditions of your F-1 visa. These conditions are:

  • Attend the school whose I-20 you used to enter the U.S.
  • Maintain good academic standing
  • Maintain sufficient financial resources to avoid becoming a “public charge”
  • Enrolled each semester as a full-time student (12 credits for undergraduate students, 9 credits for graduate students.)
  • Work no more than 20 hours a week on campus while classes are in session
  • Work off-campus only with specific authorization from the International Student Office (ISO) and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Complete the F-1 transfer procedure to change schools within the U.S.
  • Extend your stay in your degree program before the completion date on your I-20
  • Complete the change of level procedure when changing from one educational degree level to another (within 15 days of the change)

When does the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) consider me to be "out of status"?

DHS considers you to be “out of status” if you do not meet any one of the conditions of your F-1 visa as listed above.

What are the consequences of my being “out of status”?

If you are out of status, you lose the following privileges and benefits:

  • Eligibility for employment both on-and off-campus
  • Automatic visa revalidation for trips to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean Islands (except Cuba, which is not accessible to citizens of some countries)
  • Extension of degree program
  • Transfer to or from another university in the U.S.
  • Change from one educational level to another
  • Practical training
  • Visa stamp may be considered cancelled

How do I get back in status?

To get back in status, you must do one of the two things: apply to the USCIS for reinstatement within the U.S. or leave the U.S. and be readmitted with a new I-20. For more details, please see an international student advisor.

When does my F-1 status end?

Your F-1 status ends either on the date listed in #5 on your I-20 or when you complete the last requirement for your program of study, whichever comes first.

How long can I stay in the U.S.?

You may stay in the U.S. for 60 days after completion of your program. You may not work those 60 days. If you do not complete your program, you may only stay for 15 days if approved by an international student advisor before resigning from school.