Understand what you need to do to remain in lawful F-1 student status.
You entered the U.S. with an F-1 visa (or, if Canadian, used an I-20 to enter the U.S.)
You entered the U.S. with a different visa, and subsequently applied for and were granted a change-of-status to F-1 by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).
THEREFORE, your primary purpose for being in the U.S. is to study.
To maintain your F-1 status, you must comply with ALL of the following requirements:
o Check section 5 of your I-20. The date of expected completion of studies must not have passed. If the expiration date is approaching and you have not finished your program, you must apply for an “Extension of Stay” before the expiration date.
o To re-enter the U.S., the travel signature on page 2 of your I-20 must be valid. The travel signature should be renewed every year. Exception: Students on OPT must get a new signature every six months.
Note: Only Designated School Officials (DSO’s) are allowed to sign your I-20.
o Register for 12 credit hours each semester (except during summer vacations).
o Register for 9 credit hours each semester if you are a graduate student who holds an assistantship.
o Register for 1 or more credit hours each semester if you have Certification of Full-time Status from the Graduate School (Capen Hall 408, North Campus) while working on your thesis or dissertation.
o Do not drop or resign courses so that you are no longer registered for a full course load.
o Do not register for more than one distance education class (or 3 credits) each semester.
o Note: If you were admitted to start a degree program during a summer session, you are required to register for a minimum of 6 credits during the first summer session in which you were admitted.
There are some exceptions to the full-time course registration requirement:
PLEASE NOTE: A Medical Leave of Absence is different from a regular Leave of Absence. If you take a Leave of Absence from the University, you must depart the U.S., whereas a Medical Leave of Absence (when approved by a Designated School Official) allows you to remain in the U.S. and maintain your status while seeking medical treatment inside the U.S. If you cannot register for any classes due to a medical condition, you should apply for a Medical Leave of Absence from UB. To apply for it, you will need to meet with your Academic Advisor as well as an International Student Advisor.
Failure to comply with these requirements is a violation of your F-1 status, which may result in serious consequences, including the termination of your SEVIS record, and your inability to re-enter the U.S., detention and deportation from the U.S. Please direct all questions regarding your F-1 student status to ISS, Talbert Hall 210, North Campus.
Page Updated 5/18