F-1 Degree Seeking Students

Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/international/f1links.html

F-1 Visa Responsibilities

Foreign students in the United States are required by immigration law to follow certain regulations in order to maintain legal status in the United States. The International Center is responsible for advising international students on immigration law and regulations, and for processing various immigration documents. When coming to ISSS for immigration matters, always bring your passport and I-20.

You are responsible for knowing, understanding, and complying with theses regulations. If there is something you do not understand, please come to ISSS.

The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (Immigration ) has established certain rules and regulations which you are expected to understand and follow. The following is a list of regulations, procedures, and forms that are frequently used in negotiation with the Immigration . Most of these forms are known worldwide and may be obtained from ISSS or from any Immigration office.

You are responsible for maintaining your F-1 status. More information on maintaining your F-1 status can be found here.

Basic Regulations

  • Enroll in and complete a full course of study throughout the academic year (a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester for undergraduates and 6 credit hours per semester for graduates) and maintain satisfactory academic progress. ALWAYS consult ISSS BEFORE you drop your course load to part-time or withdraw from all your courses; otherwise, you jeopardize your LEGAL status. Proper documentation must be kept in your ISSS file. Also, remember, the Immigration will not accept not having enough money as an excuse for dropping below full-time hours.
  • Renew your passport at LEAST six months prior to its expiration date.
  • Do not accept employment off campus without authorization from ISSS and Immigration. See "Employment" section.
  • Do not work on campus more than allowed - F-1 students are not to exceed 20 hours a week while school is in session.  Immigration regulations allow for up to full-time during vacation periods - See "Employment" section
  • Report any change of address to ISSS with 10 days of moving. (This is an immigration requirement!)
  • Request an extension of stay at least 30 days before the expiration date on your I-20 if your studies will not be completed within the allotted period of time. Locate the specific date on your I-20.

Duration of Status

This clarification allows an F-1 student who is pursuing a full course of study to complete any educational level or series of educational programs and any practical training (if qualified for it), and also to have 60 days either to depart from the U.S. or apply for a change of visa status. Students who find that they are unable to complete their studies in the amount of time noted on the I-20 are required to obtain a new I-20 with a new date of completion noted. To do this, you must report to ISSS at least 30 days BEFORE the date of completion on your I-20; you will be required to submit documentation of financial support. To gain a PROGRAM EXTENSION, students must show satisfactory progress toward the degree. Unacceptable reasons for extending one's program include suspension or not maintaining full-time status.


Remember: If you do not violate your F-1 student status, you will never have to apply for reinstatement.

If, however, for any reason you violate your legal status, you lose all benefits of being an F-1 student (e.g. employment) and risk deportation. You can in some situations apply to CIS for reinstatement to F-1 status. Schedule an appointment with the International Center to discuss your options. To request reinstatement, a fee will need to accompany the I-539 Immigration application form. For the period of time you are "out of status," you may not work on or off campus under any circumstances. And, depending on your particular situation, you may not be able to work for up to nine months following reinstatement. If you have been out of status for over 5 months you will need to leave the U.S and re-enter in "initial attendance status".

CIS regulations could result in your being barred from re-entering the U.S. for a period of three to ten years if you fail to seek reinstatement.


Follow the basic regulations and you won't have to worry about seeking reinstatement. But, if you do violate your status, schedule an appointment with the International Center to discuss your options.


You do not need a new I-20 to re-enter the U.S. after an absence of less than five months; however, you will need your I-20 properly endorsed by the Designated School Official at ISSS. We recommend it be endorsed within the past 6 months. Regarding your visa, it is alright to remain in the U.S. if the F-1 visa has expired, as long as your I-20 has not expired and you are otherwise maintaining your status. If immigration approved a change of status for you within the U.S., you will need to apply for an F-1 visa stamp while outside the U.S. in order to re-enter the country. Be sure to take your approval notice and documentation of your financial support.  See"Travel" webpage for form and more details.