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  • Maintaining your F1 Student Status


While studying in the United States, it is important to maintain your F1 student status. Outline here are some of the more important take-aways to consider as a Full time English Language Student with an F1 Visa. 

For more comprehensive information please visit:

The information below is complied from

Upon Arrival

  • Enter the United States no more than 30 days before your program of study begins.
  • Find and print proof of lawful entry into the United States. This can be done by accessing your  Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record  (Please print this document and keep it with your passport and I-20) 
  • Immediately contact your designated school official (DSO) when you enter the United States. When you arrive at school, you need to contact your DSO again, no later than the program start date listed on your Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status."


  • Attend and pass all your classes. If school is too difficult, speak with your DSO immediately.
  • If you believe that you will be unable to complete your program by the end date listed on your Form I-20, talk with your DSO about requesting a possible program extension.
  • You must take a full course of study each term; if you cannot study full-time, contact your DSO immediately.
  • ELI students are required to maintain 90% attendance to remain in good standing. Please review the Attendance Policy for more information


Do not work without authorization. An F student may work only when authorized.

If you want to work in the United States, talk with your DSO about your options. 

For more information, see Working in the United States.

If you choose to work without authorization, you will be forced to leave the United States immediately. You may not be able to re-enter the United States at a later date.

Upon Program Completion

Take action to maintain legal status after completing your program of study.

Once you complete your program of study and any authorized period of practical training, you may wish to learn about doing one of the following:

  • Transfer to another school;
  • Change your education level (e.g. bachelor’s to master’s); and
  • Apply to change status to another visa status (e.g. H-1B-temporary worker; O-extraordinary ability in science, art or business; P-athlete).

You have 60 days after completion of your program (the program end date on your Form I-20) to leave the United States.

Talk with your DSO first

Your DSO should be the first person you talk with if you have any questions regarding the legal requirements of your stay in the United States.

Your DSO can assist in answering your questions or help you find someone who can help.

Talk with your DSO if you are planning to do any of the following:

  • Change your major, program, or degree level;
  • Change your education level;
  • Transfer to a new school or take a leave of absence;
  • Take a break from school;
  • Travel outside the United States; 
  • Move to a new address; and
  • Request a program extension.

You may contact SEVP by email at if your DSO is unable to assist you or if you would prefer to ask someone else.

In your email, please describe your situation and include any questions you have. SEVP provides responses on a first-come, first-served basis. Answer times may vary depending on the current number of inquiries.

Important Websites: 

Study in the States

Find you I-94





If you are applying for a Driver License, Social Security Card or need a Letter of Enrollment - email