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Maintaining Your Student Status

Students at Graduation

As an international student at The College at Brockport, your primary purpose for being in the United States (U.S.) is to study. Student visa holders must comply with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations and Department of State regulations while in the United States.

Please read the "Instructions to Students" on page 2 of your I-20. By following those instructions and the information below, you will maintain legal student status in the U.S. and be able to take full advantage of student status benefits such as work and travel. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of International Student Services.

How to Maintain Your Student Status

By following the steps below, you will maintain your legal student status in the U.S.:

1. Keep your passport valid at all times.

If your passport is due to expire within six months, or to replace a lost or stolen passport, contact your embassy or consulate in the U.S. Your country's governmental representatives in the United States are responsible for issuing passports to their citizens. ISS has a list of embassies in the United States for your reference.

2. Maintain full-time enrollment and normal full-time progress toward your degree.

International students must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits each semester. This does not include audits or incompletes.

If you are considering, for whatever reason, withdrawing from a course that will cause your enrollment to drop below full-time, you must consult with ISS before doing so. Dropping below a full-time enrollment will jeopardize your ability to remain in the U.S.

The measure of normal progress is the rate at which the average full-time student in your school or department advances toward his or her degree or program objective. Working to complete courses designated from previous semesters is not maintaining normal progress. If you find yourself in this situation, please consult with an ISS advisor at the earliest opportunity.

3. Accept only authorized employment. Off-campus employment must always be authorized in advance.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) considers working without proper authorization to be one of the most serious violations of your student status. If you refer to your I-20 form, you will see the statement, "Warning - a nonimmigrant who accepts unauthorized employment is subject to deportation."

It is most important, therefore, that you consult with an ISS advisor before you accept an offer of employment or begin work. We will advise you whether or not it is possible for you to work, and if it is, assist you with the appropriate documents. Please keep in mind that it is illegal to begin work in anticipation of being granted permission to do so. You must have permission first.

Generally, F-1 students authorized to work are permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the academic term. To work more than that during any given week is a violation of your student status. F-1 visa holders at The College at Brockport may work on the campus without any extra-work authorization while still enrolled in their academic programs. Students may work up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session. Full-time work is permitted during official university breaks.

Students usually have the opportunity to work upon completion of their studies under a program called Optional Practical Training (for F-1 students). Please visit the Office of International Student Services to discuss these options. You can also find out more about Employment Options here.

4. Be sure you meet eligibility criteria before you transfer schools in the United States.

If you are leaving the U.S. after the completion of one program of study and returning to begin a new program at The College at Brockport, the notification of your change from one educational institution to another will be made when you re-enter the U.S. with proper documentation (i.e., an I-20 form from The College at Brockport).

If you do not leave the U.S., you are required to transfer administration of your immigration status to The College at Brockport within 15 days of beginning classes. You must meet with an ISS advisor and complete the transfer procedure within those first 15 days or you will be in violation of your student status.

In order to be eligible to transfer to The College at Brockport, you must have been maintaining your F-1 status at your previous school and be able to provide documentation to that effect, as well as the documentation required for The College at Brockport to issue you an I-20 form. Transfer procedures must also be followed if you are moving from one program to another here at The College at Brockport.

You can learn more about Transfer of Schools here.

5. Obtain extensions, as needed, of your permission to stay in the United States.

With the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996, severe penalties were introduced for overstaying one's immigration status in the U.S. Depending on the length of the overstay, you can be denied re-entry to the United States for up to 10 years.

Those with F-1 status are granted permission to stay for the period of time reasonably required to pursue a full course of study in any particular program and any periods of practical training, plus 60 days in which to depart from the United States or to apply for a change of status. This is known as "admission for duration of status (D/S)."

If you need to remain in the U.S. for a program of study beyond the date authorized on your I-20 (see item 5 "... complete studies not later than [date]"), you must request a program extension through ISS. You should apply 30 days before the completion date noted on your I-20. At that time, you will need to establish that there are valid academic reasons for extending the time necessary to complete your program.

To continue at The College at Brockport in a different academic level (e.g. going from a bachelor's degree program to master's), you must complete the transfer process. To complete the process, you must verify your admission to a new program and your ability to finance the program. The Office of International Student Services will issue a new I-20 indicating your correct academic program and transfer you to that program.

For more information regarding Extensions, please click here.

6. Once you have completed your studies and any practical training, you must leave the U.S. or change to another immigration status within the appropriate time allowed.

If you are in F-1 student status, you are allowed to stay in the United States for 60 days beyond the completion date of your studies or your practical training. In view of the serious repercussions for overstaying (i.e. staying beyond the allowable period), it is essential that you do not let your I-20 expire while you are continuing your academic program and that you do not remain in the U.S. beyond your duration of status.

7. Have medical insurance at all times.

The College at Brockport requires international students and their dependents to have adequate health insurance to cover medical emergencies and hospitalization. Spouses, partners, and/or children of international students are required to have health, accident, and medical evacuation/repatriation insurance. Both the Office of International Student Services and the Student Health Center can help with insurance-related information.

For more information about Health Coverage, please click here.

8. Be sure to get your I-20 signed before traveling outside the U.S.

If you plan to travel outside the U.S., bring your valid I-20 to the Office for International Student Services. We will verify your status and sign your document so that you can re-enter the U.S. Each signature is valid for a specified amount of time (usually through the start of the next academic term) while you are a full-time student. F-1 students on post-completion Optional Practical Training should seek advice from ISS before traveling.

Last Updated 6/7/11