Maintaining F-1 Status

Maintaining your F-1 status is more than just having an I-20; it is making sure that you follow immigration regulations that govern F-1 status. As an F-1 student, you have certain responsibilities, benefits and restrictions that must be kept in mind to protect your status. When you lose your status because of failure to follow the immigration regulations, you end up losing your F-1 student benefits, including on-campus employment and OPT. Even more important, you could possibly become subject to arrest and deportation, and, in the future, your visa applications may be denied due to failure of previous immigrations regulations. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), depending on the type of violation, you could even be banned from coming back to the United States for a number of years if the immigration regulations are not followed. In order to enjoy your stay in the U.S. and to have a great experience as an international student, please take the time to learn about your immigration status and closely follow the immigration regulations.

My responsibilities as an F-1 student at Kennesaw State are to:

  • Register full time every semester (9 hours per semester for graduate, 12 for undergraduate, excluding summer unless summer is your first or last semester)
  • Maintain a current passport (valid for at least 6 months into the future at all times)
  • Be aware of grace periods due to your F-1 status
  • Request authorization from the SEVIS Compliance Office before dropping below a full course load
  • Report all changes in address to sevis@kennesaw.edu within 10 days
  • Report all name changes, as well as changes in dependents and status, through the SEVIS Compliance Office
  • Request transfer to another school in a timely manner (student must fill out a transfer out form attached with an acceptance letter from their prospective institution)
  • Report a change in your program of study (such as changing from one major to another) to the SEVIS Compliance Office and request a new I-20 reflecting the change
  • Request travel signatures at least two weeks prior to traveling
  • Request an I-20 Extension at least one month before your I-20 expires
  • Provide the SEVIS Compliance Office with any updates regarding passport extensions and visa renewals
  • Become familiar with immigration rules
  • Check your Kennesaw State University email account regularly for communication from the International Student and Scholar Services advisors, SEVIS Compliance Office & KSU Daily News
  • Be sure to update your Owl Express account when neccessary

Restrictions in F-1 status:

  • Cannot work without previous authorization from the SEVIS Compliance Office or USCIS, whichever is applicable. This includes NON Paid positions.
  • Cannot be under-enrolled or not enrolled at all unless previously authorized (Please see enrollment requirements.)
  • Cannot work more than 20 hours/week while school is in session unless required by program of study and authorized by the SEVIS Compliance Office advisors.
  • Cannot maintain status with an expired I-20.

Benefits of F-1 status:

  • You may be eligible to work on campus with authorization from the SEVIS Compliance Office.
  • You may be eligible to apply for 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) per degree level after graduation.
  • You may be eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) after one full academic year.
  • You can maintain your F-1 status as long as you follow immigration regulations, because your status has no fixed expiration date and is granted D/S- duration of stay.

The SEVIS Compliance Office is here to help you understand immigration rules and support you as much as possible, but ultimately, maintaining your status is YOUR responsibility.

The best thing you can do to be responsible for your status is to spend some time making yourself familiar with the information in this section and the rest of Division of Global Affairs and the International Student and Scholar Services websites.

If you have concerns or inquiries regarding what you can or cannot do in F-1 status, do not rely on what your friends tell you. Please feel free to contact our office. Our doors are always open to answer any of your questions. You can email an the SEVIS Compliance Office advisor at SEVIS@kennesaw.edu.

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