Maintaining Your Visa Status

It is extremely important for a nonimmigrant to maintain his or her status while in the United States. Failure to maintain the terms and conditions of nonimmigrant status is a ground for removal from the United States.  Therefore, it is essential that F-1 students understand the rules and regulations to maintain their status while in the US.

Quick Reference F-1 Status Maintenance Check list

  • Report to the DSO to have his or her SEVIS record Registered in SEVIS in a timely fashion. DSOs must Register the student in SEVIS no later than 30 days after the Program start date (new students in Initial SEVIS status), and each semester thereafter, no later than 30 days after the Next session start date (continuing students).
  • For the first entry for initial school attendance, the school listed on the visa and on the I-20 must be the same, and that is the school the student must intend to attend.
  • Pursue a "full course of study" at the school listed on the currently valid Form I-20 during every academic session or semester except during official school breaks, or unless approved under a specific exception, in advance, by the DSO.
  • Make normal progress towards completing the course of study, by completing studies before the expiration of the program completion date on Form I-20.
  • Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for transfer of schools.
  • Abide by the F-1 grace period rules.
  • Report a change of address to the DSO within 10 days of the change, so that SEVIS can be updated.