Office of International Programs

Explanation of F-1 Status

This information is not exhaustive and may change without notice. If you have any questions regarding your legal status in the United States, please make an appointment to meet with an advisor.

What does it mean to be "in status"?

The U.S. federal government considers you to be in valid F-1 status if you fulfill all of the conditions of your F-1 visa.

These conditions are:

  • Attend the school listed on your I-20
  • Keep your passport and I-20 form from expiring
  • Maintain good academic standing by attending classes, completing coursework, and making normal progress toward degree
  • Maintain sufficient financial resources to avoid becoming a "public charge"
  • Enroll each semester as a full-time student
  • Work no more than 20 hours per week on-campus while classes are in session
  • Work off-campus only with specific written authorization from OIP or USCIS
  • Extend your I-20 before the program end date, if you need more time to graduate
  • Inform the OIP with any changes to your foreign address, US address, phone number, academic program, visa status, and program end date within 10 days of the change.

When does the US federal government consider me to be "out of status"?

You are considered to be "out of status" if you do not fulfill the conditions of your F-1 visa listed above.

What are the consequences of being "out of status"?

If you are out of status, your status may be terminated and you will lose the following privileges:

  • Eligibility for employment, on- and off-campus work
  • Automatic visa revalidation for trips to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands except Cuba
  • Extension of program
  • Transfer to or from another university in the U.S.
  • Change from one educational level to another
  • Practical training
  • Visa stamp may be considered cancelled

If you fall out of status, you may have to depart the U.S. and may not be able to complete your studies.

How do I get back in status?

To regain status, there are two methods available to you:

  1. Apply for reinstatement through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This process can take several months to complete and it is recommend to consult a lawyer to assist you.
  2. Return to your home country with a new I-20 and get a new F1 visa.

*These methods are not guaranteed to grant approval. The ability to apply for a reinstatement is extremely limited. For more details, please consult with the Office of International Programs.

When does my F-1 status end?

Your F-1 status ends either under the "program end date" on the center of page 1 of your I-20, or when you complete the last requirement for your program of study, whichever comes first. If you are considering reducing your enrollment below full-time, withdrawing from your program, or if you may be dropped from your program, please consult an OIP advisor prior to taking these actions as they have serious consequences on your visa status.

How long can I stay in the US?

You may stay in the U.S. for 60 days after the completion of your program. You may not work during those 60 days. If you withdraw from school, you may stay in the U.S. for 15 days, only if you have prior approval from OIP. If you do not request approval from OIP to withdraw, then you must depart the U.S. as soon as possible.