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F-1 Students

You can enter the United States no more than 30 days before the official start date of your program at a USCIS approved institution.

You have a right to legally reside in the United States as long as you are a full-time student at a USCIS approved institution or completing any authorized practical training (OPT, CPT, STEM). If you plan on traveling outside the U.S. make sure you have a valid visa and passport, and DSO signs Form I-20 allowing travel outside the U.S. You cannot reenter the U.S. during the 60 day grace period granted after completing a program of study (unless the student has traveled to Canada, Mexico, or a contiguous island).

You can stay legally in the United States even after the expiration of your F-1 visa or study completion date on your original Form I-20, but only if your F-1 visa was issued for “Duration of Status” (abbreviated in your passport, Form I-94, Form I-20 card as “D/S”). At the time when your F-1 Visa is extended beyond the original expiration date, you should obtain a new Form I-20 with the new expiration date from your school’s DSO.

You have a right to apply for academic reinstatement if you lose F-1 status due to academic or disciplinary violation caused by circumstances outside your control (medical, closure of institution, natural disaster, etc.) or if the loss of status resulted from the error or neglect on the part of the school’s DSO. You must apply within 5 months after loss of F-1 status. Contact the DSO of your school. If you have lost Foreign Student status due to academic or disciplinary violations within your control, F-1 status cannot be reinstated.

You have a right to an additional 60-day grace period to leave the United States or transfer to a different USCIS approved academic institution after completion of your studies and any authorized practical training. A foreign student authorized by the DSO to withdraw from classes will be allowed a 15-day period to leave the United States.

You may be employed at most on-campus jobs with student employment authorization from the ISSO. On-campus employment may not exceed 20 hours per week during fall and spring semesters. Full-time (more than 20 hours per week) on-campus employment is allowed only when classes are not in session; during winter intersession, summer vacation and spring break.

You are eligible for limited employment off-campus. You must obtain written authorization from the ISSO or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before you engage in any off-campus employment.

You may be eligible for a driver’s license while in F-1 status. You must satisfy the Department of Motor Vehicle requirements in the state you reside.

You may obtain a social security number while in F-1 status. You must satisfy the Social Security Administration requirements. Wait at least 10 calendar days before applying for a social security number. Contact your school’s DSO for help.

Your spouse or children may be eligible for an F-2 visa, if entering the United States with you as dependents. You must prove you have the funds to cover their living expenses and your relationship to your children or spouse by providing marriage and/or children’s birth certificate. Their F-2 status is dependent upon your F-1 status. This means that if you change your status, your family must change their status, and if you lose your status, your family will also lose their status.