Maintaining Visa Status

All international students on F-1 and J-1 visas are obligated to meet certain Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) requirements in order to maintain their legal visa status during their stay in the US. Before you sign your I-20 or DS-2019, you should read and understand your responsibilities for maintaining legal F-1 and J-1 visa status found on page 2 of the I-20 and DS-2019 and listed below:

  • Maintain a valid passport.
  • Attend the school you are authorized to attend as noted on your I-20/DS-2019.
  • Pursue a full course of study (12 undergraduate credit hours, 9 graduate credit hours) and make normal progress towards the completion of your course of study. Please Note: USCIS only permits F1 visa holders to take one 3-hour online class per semester. Taking additional online classes is a violation of a students F1 visa status.
  • If needed, apply for an extension of program before the expiration date on the current I-20/DS-2019.
  • Follow USCIS procedures for changing from one program (major) or educational level to another (from Bachelor’s degree to Master’s degree).
  • Follow USCIS procedures for transferring from one school to another.
  • Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours a week while school is in session.
  • Refrain from off-campus employment without authorization.
  • Report a change of address to the International Center within 10 days. Please use the Local Address Update form to update your local address while attending Winthrop.

The International Center will give you more information on your visa classification and responsibilities during the New Student Orientation. Failure to comply with these rules will result in the loss of your legal immigration status, could prevent you from receiving any special immigration benefits and could lead to your deportation.

If you have any questions please contact the International Center.