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Maintaining F-1/Student Status


Maintaining your student status throughout your stay in the US is very important.  It is also very easy to do!  Simply follow the steps below and ask the International Student Office if you ever have any questions.
 
Register for AND complete a minimum of 12 units during the Fall and Spring semesters.  If you register for less than 12 units, or drop below 12 units during the semester, you are considered “out of status” by US DHS and may have problems in the future.  SEVIS requires that we notify DHS as soon as a student drops below 12 units. Students do not need to take courses during the summer session.
Successfully complete a full semester.  Students who drop out of school are immediately considered to be out of status.
 
Do not work off- campus.  If you are working off-campus, you must be aware that as soon as you begin that job, your visa is no longer valid and you are considered “unlawfully present” in the United States.  This is very important because if you are unlawfully present for more than 180 days, you will not be allowed to re- enter the United States for three years.  If you are unlawfully present for more than 1 year, you will not be allowed to re- enter the United States for ten years.  SEVIS requires that we notify DHS if we see verified illegal employment by an F-1 student.
 
Students can work up to 20 hours per week on-campus; however, you must be maintaining your student status in order to be eligible to work on-campus.  Please see the "Employment" page for more information.
 
Complete the transfer process within 60 days.  Students who have completed a program through graduation or successful completion of a semester, are entitled to a 60 day grace period to remain in the United States without penalty.  During this 60 day grace period you can do one of 3 things:
 
        1. Re-enroll in COD
        2. Complete your transfer to a new school 
        3. Depart the United States

If you are out of school for more than 60 days, you are considered “out of status” by US DHS and must request their permission to receive a new I- 20.   This process is done automatically by the SEVIS system if the student does not enroll.
 
NOTE:  Students who drop out of school do not have a 60 day grace period and are considered out of status.
 
Do not let your I-20 expire.  The expiration date listed on item #5 of your I-20 is very important.  It is one of the most important dates on your documents as you are in status only up until the expiration date listed on your I-20.  (This is assuming that you continue to enroll full-time).  If your I-20 expires, you are immediately out of status!  It is your responsibility to monitor this date and ensure that your I-20 does not expire.  You must notify the International Student Office before your I-20 expires.  Visit the "Requesting a New I-20" page for information about this process.
 
Do not let your passport expire.  Your passport should always be valid while you are in the United States.   If your passport expires while you are in the United States, you can renew your passport while in the United States.  This can be done through your country’s embassy located either in Los Angeles or Washington D.C.   If you notice that your passport will expire within the next 6 months and you will not be traveling home, please see the IEP Supervisor in the International Student Office for assistance.
 
It is your responsibility to maintain your F- 1 status,
but the International Student Office is here to advise you.
Please ask us if you have any questions!