F-1 Visa Students

F-1 visa students must observe the guidelines herein in order to maintain their F-1 status. The guidelines here is in addition to the general policies and procedures applicable to all students.

General Requirements

  • Enroll by the 2nd day of each term as a full-time student (18 hours or more of instructions per week).
  • Inform the school within 10 days for change of address and contact information.
  • Do not engage in unauthorized employment.
  • Be sure to have a valid Form I-20.  If your Form I-20 is about to expire, report to your student adviser. You may extend your program by completing a required form by the school.
  • Provide the documents requested by the school within 10 days for any filing required by the school for compliance with any regulatory agencies.
  • If you are a new student, report in person to the school and fully pay the invoiced amount agreed upon in order to undertake the courses in a timely manner. The tuition is due for the period and for the program indicated on your application form. The period of stay on the Form I-20 should be consistent as requested on the application form.

Exiting the School

Avoid termination from SEVIS for failure to enroll. If you plan to leave the school, let us know your plan. Complete and submit the Notice of Intention to Exit form by the 2nd day of the term you are required to register.

When transferring to another SEVP approved school, submit the acceptance letter from the school with the Notice of Intention to Exit form. If the student does not meet the minimum attendance and/or academic requirement, the student will be released in terminated status.

Leave of Absence

An F-1 student may request a leave of absence or take less than the required course load (18 hours per week). Specifically, the student must complete the Vacation/Drop Below Request form for consideration for approval. Leave of absence is for continuing students and cannot be abused to extend the student’s transfer period between schools or stay in the U.S. The student must meet one of the three criteria below for a leave of absence to be approved.

  • Annual Vacation – A student is eligible for up to 60 days (2 terms) as vacation after completing 6 consecutive terms as a full-time student.
  • Temporary Absence from the US – A student may travel outside the U.S. and avoid the enrollment requirement. For such terms, your absence from the U.S. must be greater than 6 class days. Your plane ticket’s departure and arrival dates will determine the period. Such dates are later verified by the student’s Form I-94.
  • Medical Leave – A student may take a reduced course load or no course load for medical reasons. However, the student must provide an official letter from a licensed physician. A leave of absence due to medical reason(s) cannot exceed 3 terms altogether during the student’s studies.

Traveling Outside the U.S.

If you have a multiple entry F-1 visa, you may re-enter the U.S. Importantly, the F-1 visa obtained through a change-of-status in the U.S. is not a multiple entry F-1 visa. In order to ensure your reentry to the U.S., the following criteria must be met.

  • Have a Form I-20 signed by a DSO, where applicable, for travel outside of the United States.
  • Have a valid visa and passport (not expired) at the time of reentry to the United States.
  • Returns and resume your studies within 4 terms.