Maintaining Legal Status
As a student in F-1 status, you are admitted to the US for "D/S" (duration of status)- this allows you to stay until the program end date reflected on your Form I-20, as long as you maintain full-time registration, legal status, and a SEVIS record in good standing. At the end of your program of study, F-1 status permits a 60-day grace period for you to prepare for departure from the US.
To remain lawfully in the United States during your studies, you must adhere to the regulations that govern F-1 students; guidelines for doing so are below. Although we strive to provide the most up-to-date information, the Department of Homeland Security considers it your responsibility to ensure that you do not do anything that violates the terms of your status. The United States government will not accept ignorance of the law for any violation.
The following are some of the most common F-1 student visa regulations:
- F-1 students must register for and complete a full course of study each semester. A full course of study is 12 credit hours minimum for undergraduate students and 9 credit hours minimum for graduate students during the fall and spring semesters. The summer and winter sessions are optional and thus there is no minimum course load that must be carried. A student who does not register for and maintain the minimum credit hour is considered out of status.
- F-1 students must report to the Office of International Services within the first two weeks of arriving at Lasell College for the first time.
- F-1 students must check in with the Office of International Services at the start of each semester for SEVIS Registration. This alerts the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that the student is an active student.
- F-1 students are only authorized to work on-campus. F-1 students can also work as part of CPT or OPT, but additional authorization is required (see section on Employment for International Students). All other work is unauthorized and therefore illegal and is grounds for termination of an F-1 student's visa.
- F-1 students must have their I-20 signed by an advisor in the Office of International Services at least one time each year. This is often referred to as a "travel signature" since students will need to show that they have a recent signature from a Designated School Official (DSO) every time they re-enter the U.S.
- F-1 students must report any changes of their name, address, phone number or email address to the Office of International Services within 10 days of the change. Report Change of Address Form.
- F-1 students must notify the Office of International Services if they change their major.
- F-1 students must maintain a permanent residence outside the U.S. to which they intend to return to after they complete their studies in the U.S.
- F-1 students must leave the U.S. by the anticipated completion date on their I-20. F-1 status permits a 60-day grace period for you to prepare for departure from the US.
- F-1 students cannot be absent from the U.S. for more than 5 months and still maintain F-1 status. If they need to leave, they will need to take a Leave of Absence and if they return they will need to re-apply for an F-1 visa.
- If an F-1 student wishes to transfer from Lasell College to another school, they need to have their SEVIS record transferred and must notify the Office of International Services that they intend to transfer one month prior to the transfer.
- If an F-1 student wishes to graduate early or needs extra time to complete their program they must see the Office of International Services to have their program date shortened or extended on their I-20.