MAINTAINING F-1 STATUS
F-1 is a non-immigrant status available to international students desiring to pursue full-time academic studies and/or language training programs in the United States of America.
You must be enrolled for a full-time course load of a minimum of four (4) courses [12 semester credits] each semester. Only one online course may be taken each semester.
You must be enrolled for and complete a full-time course load of a minimum of two courses [6 semester credits] each semester. Only one online course may be taken each semester.
Maintaining Your Status￼
- If your passport will expire within 6-12 months, or if you need to replace a lost or stolen passport, you should contact your embassy or consulate in the U.S. for instructions on obtaining an extension or new passport. Federal regulations require you to maintain a valid passport at all times.
- Your I-94 Departure Record can be obtained online from USCIS.
- DHS considers working without proper authorization as one of the most serious violations of a nonimmigrant’s status.
- It is illegal to begin any work before obtaining written permission, even if the student has applied for work authorization and is anticipating approval. Refer to the Employment section for detailed information on employment opportunities and procedures to obtain approval.
- When in doubt, consult a SEVP Designated School Official (DSO) before accepting any offer of employment or beginning any work.
- If you will travel outside the U.S., you must have a valid U.S. Entry Visa and a valid travel signature on the I-20
- Each signature is valid for one year (365 days) while you are a full-time student
- 6 months for F-1 students on post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)
- Signatures can only be obtained by a P/DSO
- In order to maintain valid F-1 status, you must be in good academic standing by making normal progress. Failure to maintain good academic standing may lead to immigration problems depending on the nature of the academic problem.
- F-1 Students: You are allowed a 60-day grace period to stay in the United States after the completion date of his/her studies or post-completion OPT.
- If you have a spouse and/or children in F-2 status, please note they may not work in the U.S. under any circumstances.
- Your H.U. email address is where important information will be sent from professors and other offices on campus.
- Not reading your email regularly can mean that you miss very important information and that can lead to immigration, academic, and other problems.
SEVIS Reporting Requirements: Student Responsibilities
- As F-1 students federal regulations require you to report any change of U.S. address, legal name, or major to your sponsoring institution within 10 days of the change.
- How to report an address, legal name, or major change to ISO:
- Visit your MyHU Portal
- Update your local US address in MyHU any time you change your US address within 10 days of moving.
- If a student or F-2 dependent changes his/her legal name, consult a DSO to make the changes.
- In order to remain in the U.S. to complete the program of study beyond the date authorized on the I-20, you must request a program extension through the International Student Office.
- Apply at least 30 days before the expected completion date noted on your I-20.
- There must be a valid academic reason for extending the time necessary to complete the program.
- If you fail to have your I-20 extended prior to the expiration date of the document you are considered out of status and may need to apply for reinstatement to regain student status.
- How to apply for a Program Extension:
- Submit a Program Extension Request to ISO HERE
- Read all instructions and complete the Questionnaire
- In order to transfer from Harrisburg University to another school in the U.S., an F-1 student must submit the following to a Designated School Official (DSO):
- Acceptance Letter from the new school
- Transfer Form from the new school
- The desired transfer release date
- How to request a F-1 SEVIS Transfer Out
- Submit a Transfer SEVIS Record Out Request HERE
- Read all instructions, attach all required documents, and complete the Learning Content and Questionnaire
- If you want to continue at HU in a different academic level (e.g. bachelors to masters) or, if you want to change to a new degree program at the same level after completing a degree, you must apply for a change of program, which will extend your F-1 study at HU.
- You must first apply for admission to a new program with the Office of Records and Registration by completing the Second Master’s Form in your MyHU Portal
MyHU > Academics Tab > E-Forms
- The International Student Office (ISO) will receive notification from the Office of Records and Registration of students admitted to a new degree program after final grades have been reported for the last semester of the current degree.
- Then, a DSO will issue a new I-20 indicating your new program.
- Students planning to withdraw from Harrisburg University must complete an official withdrawal form on MyHU > Academics Tab > E-Forms. The Office of Records and Registration will process the withdrawal.
- F-1 Students have a grace period of 15 days to transfer their SEVIS record to another school in the US or to depart the US after withdrawing early from a program.
- Students must be approved by ISO for reduced course load or a semester break.