Students in F-1 status must follow specific Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations that pertain to the F-1 category. Students are legally responsible for maintaining their own status by understanding and complying with these regulations. If you are unsure how to maintain your status, consult with your International Student Advisor.
To maintain legal status, F-1 students must:
1.) Report to the Office of Graduate Programs after the initial entry in F-1 status.
This is a two-step process:
- Check in with Graduate Programs for an Immigration Document Review
- Attend mandatory Immigration & Compliance Session
Students who transfer from one academic institution to another must complete the transfer process of their SEVIS record as well. They must report to Graduate Programs within 15 days.
2.) Maintain valid immigration documents:
- Passport valid six months into the future
- I-20 with program end date in the future. You are encouraged to maintain a valid travel signature in case of emergency international travel.
- Valid F-1 visa (if you will be traveling outside the U.S.)
- I-94 record (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov). Ensure that your record shows you were admitted in F-1 status.
3.) Register as a full-time student every semester (except summer).
On a case by case basis, using guidelines set forth by the DHS, the International Student Advisor may authorize an F-1 or J-1 student to enroll in less than a full course of study. International students must obtain prior written approval from the International Student Advisor for a reduced course load before dropping below the minimum credit hour requirement. Failure to maintain full-time status, as defined by DHS regulations, will make students ineligible for any work privileges and may result in loss of permission to remain in the United States.
4.) Update the local address through MyAccess within 10 days of any move.
5.) Do not engage in authorized employment.
For on-campus employment, do not exceed a maximum of 20 hours/week of on-campus employment during the academic year. Students may engage in full-time on-campus work during official school breaks and vacations. Obtain appropriate authorization before engaging in any off-campus employment.
6.) Notify your International Student Advisor immediately in the following circumstances:
- Compelling academic or medical (including psychological) circumstances that could necessitate a reduced courseload or extension of your academic program.
- Leave of Absence or withdrawal from Georgetown
- Transfer to another institution in the U.S.
- Change in degree level (such as from LL.M. to S.J.D.)
The U.S. Government considers students who violate F-1 regulations "out of status." Penalties for violating status can be serious and may affect not only a student's entire academic career, but also future applications for U.S. visas or other immigration benefits.