F-1 Visa Regulations

As an international student, you are responsible for meeting the obligations to maintain your legal status in the United States. The Office of International Services will continue to keep you informed of the current changes to immigration regulations as we become aware of them, so check your Lasell e-mail account and this page regularly for updates.

The Office of International Services has developed this immigration section of our website to inform you about basic immigration regulations you need to know in order to maintain valid F-1 status. This information is also available in the International Student Handbook you received at Orientation. 

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. 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 check in with the Office of International Services upon arrival at Lasell College to register their SEVIS record. This alerts the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that the student is an active student.
  • F-1 students must have their I-20 signed at least one time each year.  This is 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, address, or contact information to the Office of International Services within 10 days of the change. Students should report their change of address by updating the profile in Self-Service in MyLasell. For instructions, refer to the video tutorials How to Update Address in MyLasell and How to Update Phone Number in MyLasell
  • F-1 students must leave the U.S. within 60 days of the completion date on their I-20.  
  • 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 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 a minimum of 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and 9 credit hours for graduate students during the fall and spring semesters.  A student who does not register for and maintain the minimum credit hours during the fall or spring terms is considered out of status. The summer and winter sessions are optional for undergraduate students and thus there is no minimum course load that must be carried.
  • No more than one three-credit online-course per semester can count towards a student's full-time course load.
  • F-1 students must notify the Registrar's Office and the Office of International Services if they change their major. 
  • If a student cannot complete a full course of study due to extenuating medical or academic circumstances, the student must be approved for a Reduced Course Load with the approval from the academic advisor and authorization in SEVIS from the Office of International Services.
  • F-1 students cannot be absent from the U.S. for more than 5 months and still maintain F-1 status.  If an F-1 student needs to leave, they will need to notify the Office of International Services that they must take a Leave of Absence.  If they plan to return after more than 5 months, they will need to receive a new initial I-20.
  • If an F-1 student plans to graduate early or cannot complete their program by the program end date listed on the I-20, they must see the Office of International Services to have their program date shortened or extended on their I-20. This must be completed at least one month before the I-20 program end date. 
  • 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 in advance. The student must submit a letter of acceptance from the transfer in school.


  • F-1 students are able to work on-campus part-time during the academic year (Less than 20 hours per week). F-1 students must obtain a Social Security Card in order to work on campus. For instructions, please refer to the Social Security webpage. 
  • F-1 students can only work off campus if they are eligible and authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) in advance. All other work (whether paid or unpaid) is unauthorized and a violation of F-1 student status. Engaging in unauthorized off campus work is grounds for termination of an F-1 student's visa.

Detailed information regarding F-1 visa regulations, policies, and resources is available in the International Student Handbook. If you have any questions about these guidelines, your immigration status, or adjustment to life at Lasell College, the Office of International Student Affairs has staff available to help you. Please call 617-243-2398, email iss@lasell.edu or visit our office in Arnow Campus Center, on the 2nd floor.