F1 Students

MAINTAINING F-1 STATUS

As an F1 student it is your responsibility to maintain your immigration status. In order to do so there are some important things you must do to maintain your status:

  • Keep your passport valid.
  • Enroll and take a full course load every semester; if you cannot study full-time, contact your DSO immediately.
  • Check in with the DSO at the beginning of each semester (fall, spring) to verify current enrollment and updated the DSO of any changes in contact information such as address, phone or email.
  • Attend and pass all your classes. If school is too difficult, speak with your DSO immediately.
  • Obtain extensions of stay as needed. If you believe that you will be unable to complete your program by the end date listed on your Form I-20.
  • Do not participate in unauthorized employment.
  • Do not withdraw from school without notifying JSU Global ISSS.

Notify your JSU Global ISSS Advisor and Get Permission if:

  • You plan to Reduced Courseload.
  • You plan to work off campus.
  • You plan to transfer to or from JSU.
  • You want to change your academic education level (e.g., BA to MA).
  • Have a name or address change – do this within 10 days of the change.
  • You change your major or program.
  • Take a break from school.
  • Request a program extension.
  • Travel outside the United States.

FULL COURSE LOAD GUIDELINES

  • Full-time status is defined as 12 hours for undergraduate students; 9 hours for Doctoral and Masters Students during the academic year (fall and spring terms). Each semester you are required to come into the office to check in and show current proof of full time enrollment (class schedule). If you are not enrolled full time you must qualify for a Reduced Course Load and have  your academic advisor to complete the form.
  • On-line and distance education courses. You may count only one on-line or distance education course (3 credit hours) toward your full-time registration in any given term. You may not sign up for more than one on-line class.
  • Summer registration requirements. You are only required to register for the fall and spring. However, if you were admitted for a summer term and if summer is your first semester, you must register for 6 hours for the summer term.
  • Minimum enrollment requirements.  Students with JSU Global ISSS approval to reduce their course load must still enroll in at least 6 hours unless the approval was based on your final term of study, or medical reasons.

REDUCED COURSE LOAD GUIDELINES

Immigration law requires that international students enroll in a full courseload each fall and spring semester. There are circumstances where a reduced course load can be authorized by JSU Global ISSS at the recommendation of the students acedemic advisor and after review and completion of a Reduced Courseload Form. A reduction in course load can be made for one of the following reasons:

  • Initial difficulties with the English Language.
  • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods.
  • Initial difficulties with reading requirements.
  • Improper course level placement.
  • Medical condition only upon recommendation of a licensed medical professional. The medical condition exemption may not exceed 12 months combined.
  • Final term or semester if fewer courses are required to complete the degree. If a thesis or dissertation is left to complete, students must enroll under continuing registration.

EVENTS THAT REQUIRE YOU TO UPDATE YOUR I-20

The Form I-20 is a federal government document that certifies to the United States government that an international student is eligible to receive an F1 student visa. If you I-20 is about to expire, out-of-date, damaged, lost or stolen you should notify JSU Global ISSS immediately. Each semester you must come into the office to register for that current semester and update the DSO of any changes. JSU Global ISSS is required to report updates or changes to your I-20 form to the Department of Homeland Security through SEVIS and must be changed on your I-20. Keep every I-20 for your permanent record, even after you graduate. Do not discard the old ones, even from previous schools in case you need them to apply for future immigration benefits. Updates may include:

  • New/Current Semester  At the beginning of each semester (fall and spring terms) students are required to come into the office to update the DSO of current enrollment status, or chnages and receive a new I-20 form. 
  • Program Extension Contact JSU Global 30 days before your I-20 expires If you are unable to complete your course of study before the completion date noted on the form
  • Changing Schools In order to maintain your F1 status it is important to maintain a full course load. If you decide to transfer to another school, contact JSU Global ISSS. For information about transferring your SEVIS record to the new school, visit Transfer Procedures.
  • Change of Level If you have graduated from your current program of study completing and plan to continue at the Jackson State University in another program (for example, change from a Master’s degree program to a Doctoral program).
  • Change of Major If you are accepted into a major or if you change your major (for example, Business Administration to Criminal Justice)
  • Change of Funding If there is a change in the source or amount of your funding.
  • Name Change The name on your I-20 should match the name on your passport

UPON PROGRAM COMPLETION

Once your program is completed (you have graduated or completed practical training) it is important that you take action to maintain your legal status or you depart the United States after your program of study. As an F student you have 60 days to leave the United States after the program end date that is on your I-20. If you wish to extend your stay in the United States you must either:

  • Transfer to another school; or
  • Change your education level (e.g. bachelor’s to master’s); or
  • Apply to change status to another visa status.