Maintaining Your F-1Status for International Students

You must follow these federal regulations in order to maintain your legal F-1 status:

1. Have a valid passport at all times, unless you are exempt from passport requirements.

You should begin to renew your passport long before it expires. Check with your embassy in Washington, D.C. to learn how long it takes to renew a passport since processing time varies greatly among embassies. Canadians are exempt from the passport requirement. Contact information for all embassies can be found on the web at: http://www.embassy.org/embassies/index.html.

2. Report changes within 10 days

Be sure to follow the appropriate steps for a change of name, address and/or program of study within 10 days of the change. If you become a permanent resident or obtain another visa type, please advise ISS immediately. You must report the changes on the CCBC “Change of Information” form which is available in the ISS Office.

3. Attend the college/university USCIS has authorized you to attend

To change schools, you must apply for a transfer.

4. Attend school full-time each semester during the academic year

At CCBC this means at least 12 credits/billable hours. You cannot drop or audit below this number of hours except under limited circumstances which must be authorized in advance by an International Student Counselor.

Please note:
  • Each semester no more than one 3 credit hour online/distance education class can be counted towards your full course of study.
  • Credits received from CLEP or other proficiency exams do not count towards the full-time attendance requirement.
  • Meet with an International Student Counselor and register during CCBC’s early registration period to ensure you register for the number of classes that you need.
  • Each semester check the list of canceled classes the day it is published. If a class that you have registered for has been canceled, meet with an international student counselor academic advisor immediately to sign up for another one.
  • If you are having academic difficulties in any of your courses, immediately ask your instructor for extra help. You may not be able to withdraw from or audit a course in which you are doing poorly without jeopardizing your visa status.
  • Do not rely on late start classes as they may be canceled leaving you with a less than full-time course load.

5. Make satisfactory academic progress

You should refer to the “Academic Information and Learning Support” section in the college catalog. If you are having difficulties in any of your courses, please seek help from your instructor and/or staff in the Student Success Center.

6. Complete your academic program by the ending date listed on item 5 of your I-20

If you are unable to complete your program of study by the end date on your I-20, you must apply for an extension. Extensions may be granted due to valid academic or medical reasons. Please contact the International Student Services Office 45 days before your I-20 expires to apply for an extension.

7. DO NOT WORK UNLESS you have first received authorization from an ISS counselor and USCIS

F-1 Visa students are not permitted to work full-time or to work off campus. Enrollment as a full-time student is a condition of your F-1 Visa status.

F-1 Visa students are only permitted to work on campus. This employment must be part-time during the fall and spring semesters. Students may be permitted to work additional hours on campus during summer and winter sessions. For additional employment information and work exceptions due to economic hardship, please see an International Student Counselor.

8. Authorization to travel

Before traveling outside the U.S. with the intention of re-entering, you must have an International Student Counselor sign page 3 of your current I-20 authorizing you to travel. Please call to make an appointment at least two weeks before traveling. This will give the International Student Counselor ample time to issue you a travel letter and sign your I-20. Prior to traveling, you should refer to the Travel Information Update which is available in the ISS office.

9. Complete an official transfer whenever you change educational institutions

An immigration transfer must be completed within 15 days of the start date in item 5 of your new I-20. If you plan to transfer out of CCBC to another institution, you must notify an International Student Counselor as soon as you plan to transfer so that the counselor can release your electronic SEVIS I-20 record for transfer. Otherwise you will not be allowed to transfer. An immigration transfer is not complete until an International Student Counselor, from the school to which you are transferring endorses your I-20 authorizing the transfer.

10. End of your degree

As you approach the end of your degree or academic program at CCBC, the following would be your choices:
  • Transfer to a new school and obtain a new I-20 Form
  • Apply to change to another immigration status
  • Apply for post-completion optional practical training 90 days prior to completion of your degree if eligible, or
  • Depart from the U.S. within 60 days after completing your degree or program

11. Terminate from CCBC program of study

If you decide to terminate your academic program for any reason, you must notify an International Student Counselor immediately. With authorization from an International Student Services counselor you will have 15 days to depart the U.S.

12. In violation

If you violate the terms and conditions of your F1 Visa Status , you may be able to apply for reinstatement. The application must be made within 5 months of the violation. Please contact an International Student Counselor for further information.


You should contact an International Student Counselor if you have difficulty meeting any of these requirements. We are committed to help before you have a problem.