Immigration Advising

Maintaining your F-1 Student Status

Obtaining an I-20 and F-1 visa does not assure your student status in the US. Here are the requirements for maintaining your F-1 status:

  1. Enroll full-time each fall and spring semester.
    • 9 hours for graduate students.
    • 12 hours for undergraduate students.
    • F-1 students may only enroll for one online course per semester.
  2. Maintain good academic standing at all times
    • 3.0 GPA for graduate students.
    • 2.0 GPA undergraduate students.
  3. Know your academic deadlines and requirements.
  4. Update your new address with Registration and Records within 10 days of change.
  5. Never let your I-20 expire until the completion of your program.
  6. Get work authorization from ISFO before working off-campus.
    • On-campus work is limited to 20 hours per week when school is in session.
    • F-1 students must get authorization both for on and off-campus employment.
  7. Obtain a travel signature on your I-20 before traveling out of the U.S.
  8. Maintain a valid passport at all times. Apply for renewal at least 6 months prior to the current expiration date.
  9. Follow the appropriate procedures to:
    • Change your degree level, major, or name.
    • Transfer to another school
  10. Leave the U.S. on or before the end of your grace period upon completion of your program.
    • F-1: 60 day grace period from the program end date on your I-20.
  11. Maintain NIU student insurance at all times, unless approved otherwise.
  12. File income tax return with Form 8843 and/or 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ every year.
  13. Check NIU student email account regularly for school/ISFO announcements.
  14. Contact ISFO for any further information and any questions related to immigration.