IMMIGRATION FORMS Q&A
(Applicable for F-1 International Student Only)
All F students who study in the United States need a Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.” This document is your permission to stay in the United States as a full-time student. If your program of study takes longer than the time listed on your I-20, you must contact your International Student Advisor (DSO: Designated School Official) at least 30 days in advance to extend your stay. This will require updated financial documents. Staying beyond the end date listed on your I-20 is a violation of your status. Failure to apply in a timely manner for extension of your I-20 or a program is considered a violation of status, which will cause a loss of your F1 international student status. You are eligible to extend your F-1 status for an academic reason and medical reason.
Your passport must be valid during your stay in the United State. In the event your passport is close to expiring, you must apply for an extension through your embassy at least six months prior to the expiration date. Pursuant to the USCIS immigration law, an expired passport is a violation of status even if you have attended school.
An F1 student visa is a nonimmigrant visa for people who intend to study full time in the United States, which is placed inside your passport. Your visa gives you a permission to ENTER the United States, which is different from Form I-20 that is your permission to STAY in the United States. As long as students have a valid I-20, they are allowed to stay in the United States with an expired visa. If you plan on traveling outside of the U.S. with an expired visa, you must renew your F-1 student visa at the U.S. embassy in your home country to re-enter the U.S.
I-94 Form is the arrival and departure record in either paper or electronic format, issued by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer to foreign visitors entering the U.S. The I-94 Form indicates your F-1 visa status and your admission to the U.S. for Duration of Status (D/S). Duration of Status is indicated by the dates on your I-20. An immigration officer will take your I-94 card attached in your passport or update your departure in the electronic record when you leave the U.S.
F-1 is your status in the U.S. As an F-1 nonimmigrant student, you are “in status” if you follow all of the rules and regulations. If you become “out of status,” you must speak with your international student advisor (DSO) immediately. In the case of “out of status,” you will need to apply for ‘reinstatement’ or leave the United States immediately.
An F-1 student is a person who comes to the U.S. and pursues a full-time academic or language program. F-1 students who are admitted to Amlotus must maintain a full course of study at least 18 hours per week. Failure to do so will result in a loss of your F-1 student status.
IMMIGRATION LAWS AND MAINTAINING YOUR F-1 STATUS
(Applicable for F-1 International Student Only)
The United States has immigration laws governing foreign students residing within its borders. It is critical that F-1 international students be aware of and fully comply with the following regulations:
- When arriving in the United State, F-1 international students must report your arrival to an international student advisor (ISA) of your school indicated on your F-1 visa within 30 days.
- The student must maintain a valid passport at all times.
- The student must register full-time (18 hours a week) and complete a full course of study during the academic year. If failing to enroll as a full-time student, your F-1 status will be terminated, with exception if you receive permission from your ISA BEFORE dropping below full-time enrollment.
- As a F1 student, you must maintain normal academic progress. You must repeat the course/level if you fail to meet satisfactory academic progress in a grade of C- (70%) at the end of any marking period. You cannot take the same course no more than twice including failing a course. If you fail the same (repeating) course, you will be terminated immediately, which will result in a loss of your F1 visa.
- As a F-1 student, you must maintain an 80% attendance rate for each schedule for the duration of any academic period. Failure to comply with it will result in the loss of your F-1 student status.
- If the students’ I-20s expire before they complete their program, students must apply for an extension before the I-20 expires. Please contact your International Student Advisor (ISA) 30 before the expiration date to file an extension. This will require current financial information.
- Do not remain in the United States beyond your authorized stay. F-1 students are responsible for making sure that their I-20 does not expire, which includes correct level, current funding and a valid program date.
- If F-1 students complete their program prior to the expiration date listed on the I-20, they must contact the ISA prior to graduation to shorten their expected program completion date.
- Students with serious academic difficulties, or a medical condition, may apply for Leave of Absence (LOA). A note from the student’s academic advisor or doctor is required. LOA cannot be extended more than 5 months and will be monitored by U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (USCIS), via SEVIS.
- Under no circumstances students are allowed to work off-campus in the United States. Working outside the school is a violation of status and illegal for international students unless it is Official Practical Training or Curricular Practical Training authorized by the USCIS. Amlotus does not offer OPT or CPT at this point.
- F-1students are permitted to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week when school is in session, and full-time during vacation periods. F-2 dependents are not permitted to work. If students have been approved for authorized employment by USCIS, they must pay income tax.
- The student must report any changes regarding address, name, email, phone number, program to the ISA of the school within 10 days, along with any changes in F2 dependent information. Then, school will update the changes and notify the USCIS via SEVIS.
- The student must report any change in their financial documentation/ sponsor to their ISA within 10 days. Your I-20 must be updated if your financial information changes.
- The student must notify their ISA of any changes in the information of accompanying dependents in F-2 status including biographical, relationship, and immigration
- F-1students who would like to transfer to a new school after graduation or during a language training program must complete the transfer process via SEVIS. Please notify your current International Student Advisor (ISA) of your intention to transfer, obtain an acceptance letter and transfer release form from a new school, and submit them to your current school’s ISA. Then, the current school’s ISA will release your information to a new school.
- As per Federal Regulations 8 CFR 21.2(F)(5)(iii), nonimmigrant F1 students must complete an academic year before being eligible to take an annual vacation; otherwise, SEVP no longer allows students to take an annual vacation without completing an academic year. Therefore, to comply with the Federal Regulations 8 CFR 21.2(F)(5)(iii), Amlotus allows F-1 nonimmigrant students to take an annual vacation only after completing an academic year, which consists of 2 consecutive semesters, annually.
- If the student plans to leave the U.S during school vacation or recession, he/she must report to the ISA before making travel plans. The ISA will endorse your I-20. Failure to do so may cause your reentry to the U.S. to be complicated at the port of entry. The ISA’s signature is good for one full year.
- If you withdraw or are dismissed, you must inform your ISA immediately. If you do so in advance, you have 15 days to leave the U.S. If you do not inform the ISA, your status ends immediately. If you complete your program of study, you are entitled to have 60 days grace period in which you can remain in the U.S up to the end of the grace period. Once completing your program of study, you must depart the U.S in a timely manner. Failure to do so will result in ‘unlawful presence’, which will prevent you from re-entry to the U.S for the three or ten years.
- Any time you have a question regarding your immigration status, please ask your ISA for legal immigration
- It is the student’s responsibility to maintain his/her status while studying at Amlotus. The ISA at Amlotus will assist you in every possible way, but ultimately you are responsible for your own actions.
Please note that this information is subject to change without notice. If you have any questions, or concerns related to your legal status in the United States, our ISAs welcome you for the further discussion.