Maintaining Status as an F-1 Student


Having a Visa

A visa is a sticker stamped on a page in your passport by a consular officer. Once you have a visa stamped in your passport, you are a visa holder. You need that stamp to enter the U.S. and the dates on the visa determine when it may be used. A visa is like a key that opens a door for a defined period of time. If you leave the U.S. and then wish to return later, you must have a valid, unexpired visa in your passport to reenter the United States. If your visa has expired, you must apply for a new visa at a U.S. consular office abroad before returning to the U.S.

Maintaining Status

Nonimmigrant F-1 status indicates a legal condition granted to an F-1 visa holder by an immigration officer at the U.S. port of entry. F-1 visa holders maintain this status by following DHS regulations that detail the responsibilities of F-1 status. The immigration document (Form I-20) issued to you by the VISA Office first establishes your eligibility to apply for a U.S. visa and then serves as proof of your F-1 status while you are in the U.S.

After arriving at CWRU, there are some steps to ensure that you get off to a smooth start. These steps are mandatory in order to maintain your F-1 student visa status, so be certain to review them carefully.

An F-1 student is considered to be maintaining status if they:

  • are properly registered in SEVIS
  • are maintaining full-time enrollment status
  • are making normal progress toward completing their course of study
  • have not engaged in unauthorized employment
  • are not deportable on any grounds

Tips to maintain your status:

  • Report your address to SIS at the beginning of every semester or whenever you move
  • Keep your documents -- Form I-20 and passport -- current and valid at all times
  • Enroll full-time every semester
  • Work only with proper authorization