The rules regarding F-1 students are numerous. This is just a summary of some of the main rules you must follow as an F-1 student. The full government regulations can be seen by going to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website at www.uscis.gov, and clicking on “Laws and Regulations,” then “8CFR,” then “Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations.” The full regulations are listed under 8CFR 214.2(f).
Maintaining Your Status: The responsibility for maintaining your immigration status is YOURS. There are several requirements you must follow to maintain your status:
Be a full-time student in the fall and spring semesters.
You are required to pursue a full course of study in both the fall and spring semesters. Full time at JCTC is 12 credit hours. The summer semester is usually considered an official school break, so you are not required to take classes that semester. The exception to the summer break is if the summer semester is your first semester of study at Jefferson. Then you must take 6 credit hours to be considered full-time in the summer.
Keep your passport valid.
Your passport must be valid at all times. Renewal applications must be made with the Embassy or Consulate of the country of your citizenship. Addresses of embassies and consulates located in the U.S. are available from the U.S. Department of State website.
Report address changes to the International Admissions Office.
You are required to report any address change to JCTC within 10 days of the address change. This includes address changes of your dependents. Please update this information with the international student advisor. If you are subject to the U.S. Government's Special Registration Procedures, you must also report address changes within 10 days to the government.
Follow employment regulations.
Students may work no more than 20 hours per week on-campus while school is in session. You are not permitted to work off-campus without receiving PRIOR authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and International Admissions Office. Employment possibilities are very limited.
Get prior authorization from the International Admissions Office to drop below a full course of study.
You may take less than 12 credit hours in a semester ONLY if you receive authorization first. If you take less than 12 credit hours in a semester and you do not have authorization to do so, you will be out of F-1 status. To request authorization to take less than 12 credit hours in a semester, make an appointment with the International Admissions Office and complete a Reduced Course Load Certification Form. You will be required to submit documentation proving the reduced course load is necessary. Being granted a reduced course load is very rare.
Follow proper procedures for extending your program.
If you will not be able to complete your program by the expiration date on your Form I-20, you must apply for an extension of your program of study BEFORE that expiration date is reached. Requests for extensions should be submitted before the expiration date so that the extension process can be completed before your I-20 expires. Come to the International Admissions Office and complete an Application for Extension. You will be required to submit documentation concerning the reason for the extension and proving you have the financial support to continue your studies for the extended time.
Follow proper procedures for changing your academic program or degree level.
You must get a new I-20 if you change your academic program from one degree level to another or from one major of study to another. You must receive a new I-20 from the international student advisor within 15 days of beginning the new program. Make an appointment with the International Admissions Office.
Follow proper transfer procedures.
Presently you are authorized to attend JCTC. If you decide to transfer to a different school in the U.S., you must notify the International Admissions Office of your intent to transfer and to what school to which you plan to transfer. The international student advisor will enter a "Release Date” in SEVIS. After this date is reached, the new school can issue you an I-20. You will report then to the Designated School Official at the new school within 15 days of your new program start date.
Provide documentation of dependents.
If you have a spouse or children accompanying you in F-2 status, you must notify the international student advisor. You must provide the following information for each dependent: full name, home country address, country of birth and citizenship and other immigration information. You must receive a separate I-20 for each of your dependents. Make an appointment with the International Admissions Office
Report departure date and reason to the International Admissions Office.
Sometimes students leave JCTC early or unexpectedly. Some of these reasons include early graduation, leave of absence, suspension, expulsion, or a family emergency. You are required to inform the International Admissions Office if you plan to leave JCTC before the date on your I-20. You should make an appointment with the office.
Receive authorization to travel.
You must notify the international student advisor BEFORE you travel outside the United States. Your I-20 must be endorsed by the advisor in order to reenter the country. Make an appointment with the International Admissions Office at least 3 days before your travel date and complete a travel request form. F-1 visa holders need the following documents to re-enter the U.S. after a short absence: Form I-20 endorsed by the international student advisor (within last year). A valid passport and U.S. F-1 visa. Verification of adequate financial support. Verification of enrollment.
This information is not exhaustive and is subject to change at any time. It is YOUR responsibility to make sure you are following all of the rules at all times. If you have questions or are uncertain about what the regulations are, contact the international student advisor. PLEASE DO NOT rely on friends, professors, or other staff for advice on immigration matters. While these people mean to help, they usually do not know all of the regulations pertaining to your immigration status and situation. Following bad advice may jeopardize your legal status in the U.S. or may cause you to lose opportunities available to you.