MAINTAINING DHS STATUS
An F-1 student is considered in-status for the entire length of time during which he/she is enrolled as a full-time student in an educational program if adhering to the conditions of the visa designated on the I-94 card, plus any authorized period of practical training and an additional sixty (60) days to prepare for departure. Be sure to pay close attention to the conditions described below:
- Report to the DSO/ International Student Advisor for SEVIS registration upon arrival at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
- Attend only the school authorized. This means that you must only attend the school whose I-20 you last used to enter the U.S. or the school whose I-20 you used to transfer schools. If you decide to withdraw from the Colleges before completing your program, you are not allowed to remain in the U.S. with in-student status unless you transfer to another institution.
- Complete a full course of study for each academic term and make normal academic progress towards completion of program. Attendance and/or full-time enrollment is not required during the summer. At Hobart and William Smith Colleges 4 credit hours per semester is required and exceptions can be made on the recommendation of a DSO/ International Student Advisor for valid medical or academic reasons as defined by the DHS. Be sure to speak with a DSO/International Student Advisor about any exceptions BEFORE dropping below full-time status in order to avoid the serious consequences that may result from being out of status.
- Transfer or extend program in a timely manner. Duration of Status expires if a student takes longer than expected to complete a given academic level (e.g. bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate). The amount of time permitted for completing studies at a given level is determined by the date on the initial I-20 issued at the beginning of each academic level. Students must pay close attention to the expected completion date noted in item 5 on the form I-20 for each level. If more time is needed, an application for extension of stay must be filed with the DHS. There are certain requirements to meet in order to be eligible for an extension, so you will need to consult with a DSO/ International Student Advisor at least 45 days before the completion date.
- Keep continuity in the program of study (In general an absence from the U.S. of more than 5 months terminates status. However, an authorized study abroad program does not break continuity).
- Refrain from unauthorized work. When you apply for an F-1 visa, you must prove that you have full financial support. The law assumes that you will not be employed in the U.S. and therefore will not accept employment that could be filled by a U.S. worker or student. There are some exceptions to this policy provided that full-time enrollment during the year is maintained and the appropriate permission is obtained, but you should always check with a DSO before accepting employment, especially if it is off campus. Click here for more information on employment.
When traveling abroad, always return in proper F-1 status.]
Maintain a valid passport for 6 months into the future (Some countries have agreements with the U.S. that recognize the passport as valid for 6 months after the expiration date).
- Report any address changes to the DSO/ International Student Advisor within 10 days of the change. DHS regulations require that the International Student Advisor maintain a record of the current address where you are living. Therefore, you must always notify the International Student Advisor immediately of any change of address. Addresses with a post office box number or addresses of your academic department are not acceptable to the DHS.
- Comply with Special Registration requirements if applicable.
- File timely requests of change of status, practical training and other benefits.
- Obey all State and Federal laws.
- Depart form the U.S. in a timely manner.
- Do NOT enter on a tourist visa (B-1 or B-2).
Note: Students who fail to maintain full-time enrollment are not eligible for any of the benefits of the student visa, such as on-campus and off-campus employment, practical training, remaining in the U.S. during summer vacation, transfer to another school or change of level, or registration for further courses. They are considered to be “out of status” and must apply to DHS for reinstatement to valid student status. Eligibility for benefits will be regained only if and when the DHS approves the reinstatement. If you have any questions regarding reinstatement, see a DSO/International Student Advisor immediately.
- Immigration Basics, Definitions and Terms
- Difference Between F-1 and J-1 Status
- F-1 Curricular Practical Training Request Form (PDF)
- Maintaining Department of Homeland Security Status
- Duration of Status for F-1 Students
- Temporary Departure from the U.S.
- Exceptions to a Full Course of Study
- Accepting U.S. Government Assistance or Public Benefits
- Departure Upon Completion of Studies