F-1 Regulations & Requirements
Maintaining F-1 Status
F-1 nonimmigrant students who follow the rules governing their stay are maintaining status. Status ends at the end of the authorized period of stay, abandonment of the nonimmigrant’s authorized status, or when the nonimmigrant violates a rule governing status. F-1 students can consult with a Designated School Official (DSO), international advisor, at the International Office for many reasons but should always follow the following guidelines to maintain status:
- Enroll in a full course of study at the beginning of every fall or spring session (excluding authorized break periods); full-time in summer is only required for students who's first semester starts in summer.
- Consult with DSO before dropping below a full course of study for any reason (see Reduced Course Load)
- Report address changes to DSO within 10 days of the change (see Change of Address Update)
- Seek the approval of the DSO before engaging in Curricular Practice Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT)
- Report any changes in program of study (change of major, adding a minor/concentration, etc.)
- Report any change in academic status (i.e. probation or suspension)
- Traveling outside the US (bring your I-20 to the International Office for a travel signature)
- Applying for change of nonimmigrant status (Change of Status to a non F-1 status)
- Notify their DSO upon approval of an adjustment of status to an immigrant
- Request a program extension (before I-20 end date)
- Request a SEVIS transfer to a new SEVIS-certified institution (see SEVIS Transfer-out)
F-1 students are required to enroll Full-Time
International students who are admitted to the United States in F-1 status are required by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to maintain the terms and conditions of their nonimmigrant status. Failure to do so can result in deportation. One of the requirements for maintaining F-1 status is to pursue a "full course of study" every semester, not including the summer break. A “full course of study” is considered full-time study, which at Texas State University is defined as 9 credit hours for graduate and non-degree graduate students and 12 credit hours for undergraduates. You can learn more about what the regulations say about a "Full-Course of Study" under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)
For proper routing of your university mail such as grades and bills, all students must report address changes to the Registrar’s Office through CatsWeb. CatsWeb uses the terms “temporary address” and “permanent address.” We recommend you use your United States address in BOTH the temporary and permanent address fields in CatsWeb because your university mail is sent to your CatsWeb permanent address.
F-1 students need to have an approved Reduced Course Load (RCL) before dropping a class or enrolling less than full-time at Texas State.
There are three situations when an F-1 student may be allowed to enroll in less than a Full-Time Course Load, or when he/she may be allowed to drop a course. These are categorized as Academic RCL, Medical RCL, or Final Semester RCL. Review the RCL website to learn more about RCLs and how to request approval to enroll less than full-time.
Reinstatement is an option for students who did not maintain status but are still in the US.
F-1 students that violate the conditions of their visa by not complying with the Department of Homeland Security rules and regulations are considered out-of-status. A student who is out-of-status is no longer eligible for F-1 status benefits such as on-campus employment, CPT, and OPT among others.
Out-of-status students who wish to continue studying as an F-1 student at (or transfer to) Texas State University must regain valid status. To regain F-1 status, a student may apply for reinstatement in cases where the violation was outside of the student’s control and the student continues to attend, or plans to attend, a program of study. Alternatively, you may request a new SEVIS record with new I-20, depart the US and re-enter under a new I-20 and new SEVIS ID, a valid visa, and valid passport.
For more Information on the Reinstatement Process, visit the reinstatement website.
Notify the International Office if your Visa Type changes
Immediately after receiving an approval to change status from F-1 to a different visa status or permanent residency, you should inform the International Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of the I-94, I-797, Green Card, or any other immigration status approval document. The International Office will terminate your F-1 SEVIS record and update your immigration status in the university system.