F-1 Student Visa Regulations
An F-1 visa is valid for D/S or "duration of status." The F-1 visa becomes invalid if a student enters the US with a different visa type, or if the F-1 visa regulations are broken. Breaking the F-1 visa regulations results in a student being out of legal status which is commonly referred to as falling out of status.
Regulations change frequently. The Office of International Services will do its best to alert students when regulations change, but it is the responsibility of the student to learn and stay up to date with the F-1 visa regulations. So, stay alert!
The following are some of the most common F-1 student visa regulations:
- F-1 students must attend the College that is listed on the I-20 they used to enter the U.S.
- F-1 students must be a full-time, matriculated students.
- F-1 students need to have a passport that is valid for 6 months into the future at all times.
- F-1 students must register for and complete a full course of study each semester at the school that issued their I-20 (Lasell College). 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 for graduate students 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 Coordinator 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 Coordinator 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 (see section on Employment in F-1 Status). 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 the Coordinator 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 leave the U.S. and then re-enter.
- F-1 students must report any changes of their name or address to the Coordinator of International Services within 10 days of the change.
- F-1 students must notify the Coordinator 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, or, prior to that date, apply for a program extension.
- 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 Coordinator of International Services that they intend to transfer.
- If an F-1 student wishes to graduate early or needs extra time to complete their program they must see the Coordinator of International Services to have their program date shortened or extended on their I-20.