Maintaining Your F-1 or J-1 Status

Center for International and Cultural Education

You are considered to be "in status" and can legally stay in the U.S. as long as you fulfill all of the conditions of your F-1 or J-1 visa. To maintain your status:

  • Be enrolled as a full-time student (3 credits or more) each semester. You must complete at least 3 Gustavus course credits each semester. If you withdraw from a course, make sure that you still have at least 3 credits remaining. There are some exceptions, such as medical reasons, or if you are in your last semester and completing requirements for your degree. Consult with Jeff Anderson to determine if you qualify for an exception, before dropping below 3 credits.
  • Do not engage in unauthorized employment. Do not work more that 20 hours per week on-campus (except during school breaks). Do not work off campus, unless you have specific authorization such as CPT or OPT.
  • Obey federal, state, and local laws. A conviction of certain crimes may impact your immigration status. If you are arrested or charged with a crime, you should consult with an attorney who is competent in both criminal and immigration law.
  • Complete your studies by the program end date on your Form I-20 or DS-2019. Consult with Jeff Anderson if you need to extend the program end date on your I-20 or DS-2019.
  • Keep your passport valid at all times.
  • Report a change of address to your DSO (Jeff Anderson) within 10 days of the change, so SEVIS can be updated.

If you violate your status:

  • You will be considered "out of status".
  • You may be deported from the U.S.
  • You will immedidately begin to accrue days of "unlawful presence".
  • If unlawfully present for more than 180 days, you would not be allowed to return to the U.S. for 3 years.
  • If unlawfully present for more than one year, you would not be allowed to return to the U.S. for 10 years.
  • If you have any violation of status or period of unlawful presence, then any future application for a U.S. visa may be more likely to be denied.