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Maintaining Status (F-1 Students)

Last updated on Oct 15, 2019

f-1 students

There are several responsibilities that international students must abide by in order to maintain their F-1 status. While it is essential that you follow these regulations, the rules are fairly simple. As long as you understand them you should have no problem during you time at CCA!

Maintain Full-time Class Enrollment!

For undergraduate students this means that you must register for at least 12 units for both the spring and fall semesters. For graduate students, this means registering for at least 9 units.

Other Important Elements of Maintaining Status:

Make sure your local address is current.

Keep your documents up to date.

  • All immigration related documents must be valid and up-to-date:
    • Passport must be valid six (6) months into the future
    • I-20 must be updated, current, and within the program dates

  • Stay aware of your program end date. Some students may be eligible for a program extension in order to extend the program end date on their I-20. For more information, see our Program Extension page.
    • Program extensions are for students that do not feel as if they will finish their program on-time.
    • F-1 students are allowed to stay in the United States for up to 60 days after their program end date. If you stay beyond the 60 day grace period after your program completion date, you will be in violation of status and may not be able to enter or study in the United States in the future.

  • Contact ISAP immediately if there are any changes to your I-20, or if you plan to make any changes. (Changes of major, program extensions)

Work only with authorization.

  • You must receive written authorization from ISAP and/or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before beginning any kind of employment. Employment includes internships, whether paid or unpaid. Learn more about employment options here.

Make sure you are ready for international travel.

File required tax paperwork

Failure to Maintain Status

Violating F-1 status by not following the guidelines listed above and listed on page 3 of your I-20 could have very serious consequences. As of August 9, 2018, F-1 students that stay in the United States once they have done something to violate F-1 status (like dropping below full time without approval or working without authorization to name a few examples!) are accruing unlawful presence. Accumulating multiple days of unlawful presence can mean that you will be barred from getting a new visa to come to the US in the future. To learn more, see our Unlawful Presence information.