Maintaining Your Status

All international students on F-1 visa are obligated to meet certain Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requirements as stated in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations in order to maintain their legal status while studying in the US. Before you sign your I-20, you should read and understand your responsibilities for maintaining legal F-1 visa status found on page 2 of the I-20 and listed below:


  • Maintain a valid passport.
  • Attend the school you are authorized to attend as noted on your I-20.
  • Pursue a full course of study (minimum of 12 undergraduate credit hours, and 9 graduate credit hours, unless otherwise stated by your department) and make normal progress towards the completion of your course of study.
  • If needed, apply for an extension of program before the expiration date on the current I-20.
  • Follow USCIS procedures for changing from one program (major) or educational level to another (from Bachelor’s degree to Master’s degree).
  • Follow USCIS procedures for transferring from one school to another.
  • Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours a week while school is in session.
  • Refrain from off-campus employment without authorization.
  • Report a change of address to the Office of International Programs (OIP) within 10 days.
  • Take a maximum of 4 credits of online instruction with your academic workload.


The OIP will give you more information on your visa classification and responsibilities during the New Student Orientation. Failure to comply with these rules will result in the loss of your legal immigration status, and could prevent you from receiving any special immigration benefits. If you have any questions, contact the OIP immediately.