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MAINTAINING YOUR Fl STATUS
(For information on maintaining J1 status click here.
NOTE: You cannot attend UCO if you are out of status unless you first apply for reinstatement with INS.
Staying in good status with immigration is EASY. Here is a quick break down of what you need to do. More in depth details follow below
*Report to the school you are authorized to attend on your I20
* Enroll in classes fulltime (12 credit hours for undergraduate or 9 graduate hours for graduate students)
*Advise us at the International Services Office within 10 days of any change of address
*If you want to transfer or take classes elsewhere there is a process you must complete at the International Services Office first
*Do not make F's
*Do not let your I-20 expire
*Keep at least 6 months of validity on your passport at all times
*If you travel out of the US we must sign your I20 before you leave
*Do not work illegally
*Abide by US, state and local laws
There are various ways in which a student can lose his/her F-l student status. It is your obligation to be aware of your responsibilities as an F-I student. In order to maintain F-l status, you must adhere to the following regulations:
1. Attend the school whose 1-20 you used to enter the U.S.
2. Be enrolled FULL TIME EACH SEMESTER. Full time means 12 Undergraduate level credit hours Or 9 graduate level credit hours. Please note: for Graduate students the 9 credit hours are graduate level. If you are mixing graduate and undergraduate credit hours then the requirement is 12 credit hours. DO NOT withdraw from a class if it leaves you with less than the required number of hours at the end of the semester. You are not required to attend during the summer UNLESS it is your first semester in the US as an F1 Student.
Note: Correspondence courses, auditing a course, CLEP tests and distance learning do NOT count towards a full program of study. However, you are allowed to take 1 (3 credit hour maximum) on line class per semester.
3. Change of Address... Immigration requires that you report any change of your address to the International Office within 10 days of your moving so that we can update your information in Immigration's database.
4. Maintain a valid passport at all times. It is highly recommended that you apply for a new passport or extension at least six months prior to the expiration date.
5. Notify the International Office of intentions to transfer to another institution or change level of program, in order to update INS. Note- Those students transferring from other institutions to UCO must complete the transfer process with the International Office no later than 10 days into the semester of acceptance.
6. You must not remain in the U. S .beyond the time authorized on your I20. As F-l visa holders, you are allowed to remain in the U.S. until the completion of your degree. However, if this takes more time than noted on the I-20 (due to valid reasons), you must apply for an extension of the I-20 no later than 30 days before the expiration date. If you allow your 1-20 to expire, you will lose your student status. After you complete your degree you may remain in the US only 60 days unless you apply for Post Completion Optional Practical Training, obtain a new I20 to begin a new degree program or otherwise change to a different immigration status.
7. If you plan to return to your home country for a semester or longer you must report to the International Services Office prior to your departure. There will be paperwork that you will need to complete and we will advise you of the steps you will need to take in order to return to resume your studies. If you are traveling out of the United States briefly for holiday or other occasion you must come to the International Services Office first so that we can sign your I20 to authorize your re-entry. You have to have a valid visa in order to return to the United States unless your travel is to Canada or Mexico for less than two weeks in which case you can re-enter the US even with an expired F1 visa.
8. Under no circumstances can you work off campus without first obtaining permission from US Citizenship and Immigration Services. <insert hyperlink to employment page here> In addition, you must limit employment to a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session, both on and off campus.
Failure to comply with these rules will result in the loss of your status and jeopardize your stay in the U.S. If you lose your F-l status, you will not be eligible to receive F-l student benefits unless you apply for reinstatement and receive approval from INS.
WHAT IF YOU LOSE YOUR STATUS?
Loss of your F1 Status is an extremely serious issue. It prevents you from continuing enrollment and applying for immigration benefits and can mean arrest and deportation. You must take steps to reinstate your status immediately. There are two ways to restore your F1 status.
Option 1: File for reinstatement through US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
If you have been out of status more than 5 months you do not ordinarily qualify for Option 1. You would need to come to the International Services Office and meet with an advisor to begin this process. We will explain all the necessary steps, provide you with the immigration forms and advice you of the current immigration fees for this. When you have completed the required steps we will issue a new I20 requesting reinstatement. This I20 along with your I94, the application form and all supporting documents are mailed to US Customs and Immigration Services for their adjudication. If you are approved reinstatement you can continue your studies in the United States. If you are denied reinstatement you must leave the United States immediately.
Option 2: Leave the United States:
You would need to come to the International Services Office and meet with an advisor to begin this process. We will advise you if you are eligible for this option and explain the necessary process for this. After you leave the United States you would need to apply for readmission to the university. When we receive all of your necessary documents we will issue a new I20 to you with a new SEVIS ID number. You may need to apply for a new F1 visa at a US consulate or embassy. You would definitely need to pay your SEVIS fee (insert hperlink to SEVIS fee page here). Please be advised that readmission into the United States is not guaranteed. You could still be turned away when you go through immigration at your point of re-entry.