Maintaining Legal Status

Guide to Maintaining Your F-1 Status

Once admitted to the United States with F1 status, you must meet the following obligations in order to remain in legal status:

  • Have a passport dated six months beyond your intended stay.
  • You must be enrolled in a full course load (at least 12 credits for Undergraduates, 8 credits for Graduates) during the fall and spring semesters and attending all classes. The weight of non-credit bearing classes is determined by the Registrar's Office. You must contact the International Student Advisor before dropping a class.


  1. When a student is in the last semester of their program and needs less than a full course load to graduate.
  2. Academic Reasons as defined by [8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(iii)(A)]
    1. Initial difficulties with reading requirements
    2. Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
    3. Improper course level placement
    4. Initial difficulties with English
    5. Standards and Policies
    6. Conditions
      1. Six hours, or half hours required for full course load.
      2. Student has not already stopped pursuing a full course of study
    7. Once per education level
  3. Medical Condition as defined by [8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(iii)(B)]
    1. Temporary illness/medical condition
    2. Conditions
      1. Supporting medical documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy or licensed clinical psychologist.
      2. Student has not already stopped pursuing a full course of study
      3. No minimum enrollment requirement
    3. 12 months per education level

Make sure that the date on item #5 (Program End Date) of the I-20 remains valid. If an extension is needed, see your International Students Advisor at least 30 days before the expiration date. You have only 60 days after this date in which to depart the U.S.

Do not seek employment off-campus until you have been in the United States maintaining status for a total of 9 months (one academic year) and have obtained written authorization from your International Student Advisor.

Do not accept unauthorized employment, and limit employment on campus to a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session.

Report each change of address or phone number within 10 days of the change to Immigration by informing the International Student Advisor as soon as you move in order that the information may be updated electronically in SEVIS within the allotted 10 days.

Make formal application 30 days before the second date on item #5 of the I-20 for program extension, practical training, or a permissible study transfer within/without Simmons University. Please note that your program cannot be extended for more than 12 months.

Report any planned trips outside the U.S. to your International Student Advisor in advance, to have the I-20 properly signed.

Cooperate with INS and the International Student Advisors by furnishing any requested information.

Maintain insurance coverage for yourself and family members throughout your studies at Simmons University.

Do not be convicted for a crime requiring a possible jail sentence of one or more years.

Students may enroll in another school during university breaks (i.e. winter and summer) without any changes to the form I-20 and/or SEVIS record.

You may not participate in more than one online course (up to three credit hours) unless you have met the full-time course load requirement (face to face courses + 1 online course= full course load).

You may concurrently enroll in two SEVP approved schools full-time (credit hours at School A + credit hours at School B= full course load). When doing so, you must provide proof of enrollment at the non-Simmons University or University to the International Student Advisor.

Keep your I-20 accurate:

  1. Means of support (scholarship? sponsor?)
  2. Major
  3. Addition/Deletion of a dependent