Maintaining Student Status

Maintaining your F-1 student status is critical for all international students studying in the United States, since it keeps you eligible for many other F-1 benefits.  In order to maintain your F-1 status, international students must:

  • Enroll full-time (at least 12 semester credits) during fall and spring semesters at R-MC
  • Keep your passport valid at least 6 months into the future
  • Have your I-20 signed by the Designated School Official (DSO) in the Office of International Education if you plan to leave the United States
  • Attend all of your classes
  • Complete your degree by the date specified on your I-20. If you are unable to finish your degree by that date, see Program Extension below.
  • Comply with required procedures for the SEVIS record transfer process
  • Obtain a new I-20 if there is any change in educational level, major or source of funding
  • Obtain appropriate employment authorization for any work. Do not be employed on-campus for more than 20 hours a week while school is in session. Students can work up to 40 hours a week during school breaks and vacation.
  • Update your current residential address in the U.S. if there is any change – notify your DSO
  • Depart the U.S. within the 60-day grace period after completion of your program if you are an F-1 student, within 30 days if you are a J-1 student; depart the U.S. within 15 days if you cancel enrollment in the middle of a semester.
  • Disclose fully and truthfully all information requested by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Obey all federal, state and local laws

 

Information on SEVIS

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a web-based system that can track and monitor schools and programs, students, exchange visitors and their dependents throughout the duration of approved participation within the U.S. education system.

 

Suspensions/Withdrawal

If you are separated or expelled from Randolph-Macon College, you can transfer to another institution and comply with the I-20 transfer procedure; change your status; or depart from the U.S. immediately. Students who fail to take one of these actions are “out of status.”

  • If you voluntarily withdraw from R-MC with your DSO’s prior approval, you have a 15-day grace period in which to depart from the U.S.
  • If you are separated or expelled from the College, you have no grace period, and cannot remain in the U.S. with your I-20. You must obtain a new I-20 to return to study in the U.S.

 

Program Extensions

If you need to remain in the U.S. longer than the period of time specified on your I-20, you must apply to the Office of International Education for a program extension before the program end date on your I-20 form. Program extensions can only be granted if the delay in completion of studies is due to compelling academic or medical reasons. A student who is unable to complete the program within the time listed on the I-20 and who is ineligible for extension is considered “out of status.”

 

Completion of Program

Once your program of study is complete, you have four options. You can:

  • Depart the U.S. within 60 days after your program completion date on your I-20 for F-1 students; depart the U.S. within 30 days of the program completion date on your DS-2019 for J-1 students.
  • Apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) before your program completion date. You must submit your OPT application to your DSO at least 2 weeks before your program end date.
  • Complete the SEVIS record transfer procedure to enroll as an F-1 student at another U.S. institution.
  • Change to another visa category. Again, consult with your DSO and your immigration attorney for more information.