Maintaining F-1/J-1 Student Status
- Always keep your I-20 / DS-2019 current and extend it before the expiration date: Please submit an I-20 Request Form - (PDF)* - Word document or DS-2019 Request Form - (PDF)* - Word document if you've changed majors or levels; you've lost your I-20/DS-2019; there is an error in your I-20/DS-2019. Please submit an I-20 Extension Request Form - (PDF)* - Word document or DS-2019 Extension Request Form - (PDF)* - Word document if you need to extend your I-20/DS-2019. Your Extension will be base on the duration of your funding and your graduation date in UDSIS. To change your graduation date, if you are a graduate student, please have your advisor email Dr. Mary Martin with your intension to extend your graduation date. If you are an undergraduate student, please change your graduation date in UDSIS. As long as your I-20/DS-2019 is current it is not a problem if your visa in your passport expires while in the U.S. Visas need only be valid when student enters the U.S. Once the student leaves the U.S. a new visa will be required and can only be obtained at a U.S. consulate outside the U.S.
- Register as a full-time student every semester: Undergraduate students must take 12 credit hours per semester and graduate students must take 9 credit hours (Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, and Graduate Assistants - 6 credit hours). Auditing classes are not acceptable. If you have completed all your coursework, you must register sustaining. If you don't keep yourself in full-time status, you will be considered by USCIS to be here illegally. You won't be able to work on or off campus, get practical training or transfer schools until you have been reinstated to F-1 status either through applying to the USCIS or taking a new I-20/DS-2019 and leaving the country and reentering the U.S. If you withdraw from a class and it takes you below 9 or 12 credit hours, you will be out of F-1/J-1 status. If you completely withdraw from a semester, you will be out of status. In order to regain status, you might need to reinstate. If it is your last semester, you only need to take the credits necessary to graduate even if it is less than a full load. You will need to fill out a Request for Reduced Enrollment Form. If you are ill and cannot attend school, you will need to submit a Medical Reduced Course Load Physician Form to the the Office for International Students & Scholars (OISS) verifying that you are unable to attend classes. You will also need to notify your department and if you are a graduate student, the Office of Graduate & Professional Education. Other valid academic reasons for not maintaining full-time status are; initial difficulties with the English language or reading requirements, unfamiliarity with American teaching methods, or improper course level placement. Letters proving these reasons must be given to OISS. You could obtain a letter from your professor recommending that you withdraw from your class due to difficulty with the American school system or not having the proper academic background to be in the class. Academic Advising is also another office that may recommend taking reduced course load. If you are having problems with the English language, you may take a reduced load of regular classes as well as language classes at the English Language Institute upon International Student Advisor's approval. In the case of graduate students, you will need additional approval from The Office of Graduate & Professional Education. In all cases, you will need to fill out a Request for Reduced Enrollment Form.
- Keep your passport valid at all times: If you have lost or need to extend your passport, you will need to notify to contact your embassy/consulate.
- Request I-20/ DS-2019 Travel Signature before leaving the U.S: Come to OISS with your I-20/DS-2019 at least one week BEFORE your departure of the U.S.
- Report change of address at OISS within 10 days: Submit the International Student & Scholar Information Request Form within 10 days of your change of address to OISS.
- Employment: Do not work off-campus without authorization and limit on-campus employment to 20 hours per week when school is in session. If you have employment authorization or curricular practical training and you are transferring schools, discontinue working until you have new work authorization from your new school and/or USCIS.
- If you receive any type of public assistance you have violated your student status.
- If you have been in U.S. illegally for 180 days you cannot return to the U.S. for at least 3 years. If illegal for one year or more, the bar for reentry is 10 years.
- Health insurance is mandatory!!
Responsibilities of F-1 and J-1 students
As an F-1 or J-1 student, you must enroll as a full-time student. Undergraduate students must enroll for at least 12 semester credits. Graduate students must enroll for 9 semester credits. If you are a graduate student with a Teaching or Research Assistantship, you must enroll for 6 semester credits.
If you are a full-time student in good standing (2.00 GPA or above for undergraduates and 3.00 GPA for graduate students) you may work 20 hours per week on-campus. Before becoming employed on-campus, you must get written permission from the Office for International Students & Scholars.
As an F-1 student, you may apply for optional practical training which is directly related to your major area of study. Optional practical training is limited to 12 months. You may take the practical training during summer vacations, while school is in session not to exceed 20 hours per week, after completion of course requirements, or after graduation. You must apply 90 days before graduation or no later than 60 days after graduation.
As a J-1 student, you may apply for academic training that is directly related to your major area of study. Academic training is limited to 18 months.
F-1's should make sure the dates on your I-20 are valid. If you do not complete your degree by the date on the I-20, you need to come to the Office for International Students & Scholars 30 days before expiration of your I-20 so that we can extend it. You will need a valid I-20 to be granted practical training when you have completed your degree.
J-1's should make sure the dates on your DS-2019 are valid. If you do not complete your degree by the date on the DS-2019, you need to come to the Office for International Students & Scholars 90 days before expiration of your DS-2019 so that we can extend it.
The following are your responsibilities:
- Do not take even a short trip outside the U.S. until you have checked with the Office for International Students & Scholars.
- Be aware of immigration laws.
- Maintain a full-time course of study.
- Pay U.S. and Delaware taxes if you are required to do so.
- Keep your passport valid.
- Inform the Office for International Students & Scholars if you have changed departments or degree levels.
- Do not accept public benefits from federal, state, county or local public service agencies, such as Medicaid, food stamps, federally subsidized housing, etc. as doing so may jeopardize your non-immigrant status in the U.S.
Always bring your passport, I-94 and I-20 or DS-2019 with you when you consult our office about immigration matters.