Maintaining F-1 Status

It is extremely important for an F-1 student to maintain his or her status while in the U.S. Below is a summary of what you should and should not do.

Do's and Don'ts


  • Attend the school that issued your I-20 form.
  • Become familiar with F-1 immigration regulations.
  • Register for 12 credits (full time) each term.
  • Attend all classes you are registered for.
  • Get an approval from International Student Advisor before dropping below 12 credits.
  • Report address changes to the Office of International Education within 10 days.
  • Limit on-campus employment to maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session.
  • Keep your immigration documents in a safe place.
  • Make photocopies of your immigration documents and carry them with you instead of the originals.
  • Check the expiration date on your passport and make sure it is valid at least 6 months into the future.
  • Check the program end date on your I-20 form (Item 5). You should complete your studies by that date.
  • Apply for OPT before the end of your last term at PCC.
  • Get a travel signature on your I-20 form before you travel outside of the US.


  • Don't work off campus without work authorization.
  • Don't work on-campus for more than 20 hours a week while school is in session.
  • Don't stop attending classes under any circumstances. Contact your instructor or an International Student Advisor if you are having problems.
  • Don't drop or withdraw from classes without an approval from an International Student Advisor.
  • Don't let your passport expire.
  • Don't let your I-20 form expire. Contact an International Student Advisor for information about extending the program end date on your I-20.
  • Don't travel outside of the US without a travel signature from an International Student Advisor.
  • Don't get immigration advice from your friends. While your immigration situation may appear to you as being the same as your friends, it may not be.

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