F-1: Maintaining Good Immigration Status
F-1 Student requirements to “Maintain Good Immigration Status”
1. Report to the OIE within 30 days of I-20 start date
You are required by law to report to the Office of International Education when you arrive at Beloit whether it is your first time in the U.S. or if you are transferring from another U.S. institution. If you are transferring to Beloit, you must complete the transfer procedures at OIE within 15 days after classes start. OIE will update SEVIS with your transfer information. OIE schedules a Sunday afternoon for this, usually the first Sunday after new students arrive on campus. Bring your passport, I-94 card (small white card you received on the airplane), I-20 or DS2019 with you.
2. Always Enroll Full Time
F-1 students must be full-time students status every semester. At Beloit College, full-time means you must register and complete at least three full course units each semester. Please talk to the OIE International Student Advisor before you drop below full time enrollment or take a leave of absence.
3. Update your Local Address
Federal immigration regulations require you to update your local residential address, including a from one residence hall to another, within 10 days of any address change within the U.S. including changes from one residence hall to another. You do this by sending an email to the OIE International Student Advisor firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Post Office Box Numbers (Mail Box) cannot be substituted. If you live on campus, your address for this purpose includes the name of your residence hall and your room number.
4. Maintain the validity of your immigration documents
Keep your passport valid
You should keep your passport valid for at least six months in to the future while you are studying in the U.S. Consult your country's consulate or embassy in the U.S. to renew your passport. You can find the contact information for your consulate at: http://travel.state.gov.
Item #5 on your I-20 is your “program end date,” otherwise called your "completion of studies" date. If you are unable to complete your course of study by that time, you must apply for an extension. If you do not file for an extension with the International Student Advisor at OIE at least two weeks before that date, you will be out of status.
Change of Degree Program or Level
If you are changing degree levels, for example, from Bachelor’s degree to Master’s degree, the process will be taken care of when you “transfer out” of Beloit College to attend another school. Notify OIE and ask the Beloit College International Student Advisor for instructions.
Discuss Transfer Plans with an OIE advisor
If you plan to transfer to another school or to go on to attend graduate school after you graduate from Beloit College, notify OIE and ask the Beloit College International Student Advisor for instructions.
Photocopy Your Immigration Documents
You should make photocopies of your immigration documents and keep the copies and originals in a safe place. Photocopy:
- the passport photo page
- the visa page of your passport
- both sides of your I-94 Form (even if the back side has no writing)
- your DS-2019
5. Do Not Work Off-campus Without Prior Authorization
On-campus Employment: F-1 students are permitted to work on campus for 20 hours per week during the academic year and 40 hours per week during summer and winter breaks.
Off-campus Employment: Off-campus employment is any type of work or services performed in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit that does not take place on the Beloit College campus. A work permit is required before any off-campus work is allowed. See the International Student Advisor at OIE for advice and assistance. F-1 students cannot work off-campus during their first academic year.
6. Notify the OIE When You Leave the U.S. or Change Visa Status
When you finish your program and leave the U.S. permanently or you change to another visa status (for instance if an employer plans to do an H1B visa application for you after you graduate or finish your OPT), let OIE know in person or by email.
7. Traveling outside of the United States
Re-entering the U.S. after a Temporary Absence
To re-enter the U.S., you need to have the following documents:
- Valid passport (except Canadians unless entering from outside the Western Hemisphere)
- Valid F-1 or F-2 visa stamp (except Canadians)
- Current I-20 with a valid signature (see I-20 Endorsement)
- Proof of financial support (bank statements and/or scholarship, financial aid)
- Proof of enrollment (certificate of enrollment or transcript).
Traveling to Canada
Before traveling to Canada, visit the following webpage to see if you need a visa: http://cicnet.ci.gc.ca. You can re-enter the U.S. from Canada with an expired U.S. visa stamp if all of the following apply to you:
- You have a valid passport with an expired non-immigrant visa stamp, a valid I-20, and you keep your I-94 card when leaving the U.S. and entering Canada
- Your visit to Canada will be less than 30 days
- You do not apply for a U.S. visa stamp while in Canada
- You are not a national of one of the following countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Cuba, or North Korea.
Renewing Your Visa Stamp
If you need to renew your visa stamp in order to re-enter the U.S., you must apply in person to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Applicants are normally required to submit the following documentation:
- Valid passport
- Current passport-size photographs
- Valid Form I-20 (3 pages)
- Proof of financial support (bank statements and/or scholarship, or financial aid letter)
- Proof of enrollment (certificate of enrollment or transcript).
I-20 Travel Endorsement
Your I-20 should be endorsed by OIE for travel at the bottom of page 3 of the I-20. Check to make sure that the signature will be valid at the time you plan to reenter the U.S. Each signature is valid for 12 months. (Example: signed 5/15/2005 will be valid until 5/14/2006.)
I-20 Travel Endorsement for Canadians or students on OPT
Canadians and students on Optional Practical Training must have obtained a signature from OIE within the last six months to be valid for re-entry to the U.S..
The Visa Stamp
The F-1 visa in your passport was obtained at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad and is used to enter the U.S. You can think of it as your ticket to enter the U.S. It is only when you are leaving the U.S. and need to return that you must be sure to obtain a valid U.S. visa stamp for reentry. This means that you do not need to panic about an expired visa, as long as you are not planning to leave the country. [Note: Canadian citizens are not required to have a passport (if entering the U.S. from within the Western hemisphere) or visa stamp, but they must show their I-20 and proof of Canadian citizenship at the U.S. port of entry.]