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International Student Services

Maintaining Lawful Student Status
International Student Services: Current Students

Maintaining Lawful Student Status in the United States

The following information is provided to help you become acquainted with the regulations governing your status as an F-1 or J-1 international student. If you have questions please contact the International Student Adviser who will be happy to set up an appointment to address your specific concerns.

  • Keep your passport valid.
  • Maintain full time enrollment and normal full time progress toward your degree or educational objective.
  • Do NOT work more than 20 hours per week in your on-campus job during the academic year. You may work more than 20 hours per week during the longer vacations.
  • Accept no off-campus employment of any kind without written permission from the International Student Adviser or, if necessary, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Beginning work without proper authorization is considered by the USCIS the most serious violation of its regulations. It is most important, therefore, that you consult the International Student Adviser before you accept an offer of employment or begin to work. The Adviser will assist you with your application for employment authorization.
  • Make sure you meet eligibility criteria before you transfer visa sponsorship to another school in the United States. You must be a bona fide nonimmigrant student, must have been maintaining status at the previous school, must intend to pursue a full course of study at the new school, and must provide documentation that you are financially able to attend the new school.
  • Obtain extensions, as needed of your permission to stay in the United States. F-1 visa holders are granted permission to stay for the period of time reasonably required to pursue a full course of study in an educational program, plus a grace period of 60 days in which to depart from the United States or change to another status. J-1 visa holders have a grace period of 30 days.
  • If you change programs of study or levels of study, you must notify the USCIS or the United States Information Agency, USIA.
  • If you need additional time to complete your current program, you must apply for permission to do so before the completion date of your I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1). If you believe that you will need more time than is permitted on your current visa document, you should contact the International Student Adviser for complete information.