Maintaining F-1 Status


To maintain status, students are required to pursue a full course of study, make normal progress towards completing their studies, keep their I-20s valid, and refrain from unauthorized work or other prohibited activities. They may also be authorized to work during the educational program and after completion of studies, provided such work has been properly approved by the Designated School Official (DSO) and/or by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) (depending on the type of work authorization).

When the University issues an I-20 it gives the student the core document he/she needs to apply for an F-1 visa at a US embassy or consulate, and to enter the US in nonimmigrant F-1 status or classification. Children and spouses are admitted in nonimmigrant F-2 status or classification, and must be issued their own corresponding SEVIS documents (I-20 or DS-2019) so they can obtain F-2 visas.

Violations of Status

Most of the violations listed below can be “forgiven” and status reinstated; however, the last three violations are very serious, and reinstatement is generally not granted:

  1. Failure to report to the I-20-issuing school for SEVIS registration
  2. Failure to register for a given academic term
  3. Failure to make normal progress
  4. Failure to attend the authorized school
  5. Failure to complete the transfer out and transfer in process
  6. Failure to file a timely change of status
  7. Failure to obtain a program extension prior to program end date
  8. Failure to provide notification of an address change in a timely fashion
  9. Failure to depart from the US in an appropriate time
  10. Unauthorized employment
  11. Being out of status for more than 5 months
  12. Remaining in the US after ceasing, terminating, or interrupting studies before the completion of the program

 

Applying for Reinstatement to F-1 Status

If you have violated your status, make an appointment to meet with a DSO in the Center for Global Education (CGE), who will discuss the matter and make an assessment as to the appropriateness of pursuing reinstatement. If reinstatement is recommended, then submit to CGE the following materials:

  1. All the documents necessary to issue a new Form I-20, including updated financial support documents
  2. A letter of explanation addressed to CIS specifying why you are out of status, the effect on you should CIS deny your appeal for reinstatement, a statement indicating that you currently pursue or intend to pursue a full course of study, and a specific request that CIS reinstate you to F-1 status

 

Traveling outside the US

Prior to travelling outside the U.S., you need to obtain a signature from a Designated School Official if the current signature on your I-20 is more than 12 months old.

 

Employment Information

The Center for Global Education (CGE) will assist you in your search for benefits or services you may enjoy as a non-immigrant student or dependent. To expedite the review of your request, you need to know ahead of time what documents you need for your specific request. Your application will not be processed until the packet is complete. Below are various types of request and the documents that constitute the dossier. Most of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) forms are available on the Internet, and you can access them by visiting this CIS site: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis.

On-Campus Employment

Conditions for accepting on-campus employment:

  1. Work occurs on the Central State premises.
  2. Employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full time during breaks.
  3. The student must be pursuing a full course of study or, if employed during the summer holidays, intends to register for the next semester at Central State.
  4. Employment may begin no sooner than 30 days leading to the start of classes for new students with initial entry to a program.

 

Off-Campus Employment for F-1 Students

To remain in status, it is extremely important that you follow the Federal regulations about employment. As an international student, you must contact CGE, located in Wesley Hall Suite 314, to obtain work authorization before you accept employment. Never work without getting authorization first!

Optional Practical Training

A student may be employed up to 12 months of off-campus employment if the purpose is to obtain additional training and experience directly related to a student’s major.

Additional information: International students must maintain full-time status for at least one academic year in order to be eligible for the training. Below are the two types of optional practical training:

  • Pre-completion optional practical training: Part-time off-campus employment that is limited to 20 hours per week during normal academic semester while the student maintains a full-time course load or full or part-time employment during the summer term.  Please note: any authorization allowed during pre-completion will be deducted from the total 12 months of eligibility.
  • Post-completion optional practical training: Work authorization that is granted after the completion of all course studies for full-time employment. Post-completion practical training is granted for a period of up to 12 months minus any period of time authorized during pre-completion practical training.
  • For more information about how to obtain authorization for optional practical training click here.

Social Security

After receiving your employment authorization, you must update your records with the Social Security Administration. To do so, take your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), Social Security card, I-20, and passport to the local Social Security Administration office. That is where to apply for a Social Security card. The application form is available through this link: http://ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf. Complete the application before going to the SSA.

Social Security Office in Xenia:

80 N PROGRESS DR
XENIA, OH 45385
1-866-755-5372
Hours (make into a link: http://www.ssofficelocation.com/xenia-social-security-office-so1808)

If possible, do this before leaving town, for it may be more difficult to update your information in another city. Social Security Tax (FICA) should not be withheld from your wages while you are on practical training. However, your earnings are subject to federal, state, and local income taxes.

Curricular Practical Training—CPT (F-1 Off-Campus Employment)

Curricular Practical Training allows F-1 students to gain experience in their field of study while they are enrolled. Most F-1 students who have been studying full time for at least 9 months (or 2 semesters) are eligible for CPT.

 

Requirements for Employment

In order to qualify for CPT, the employment must meet at least one of these conditions:

  1. Fulfill an optional or required internship in the academic program, OR
  2. Fulfill the requirements for a regular course or independent study in the academic program

 

Some examples of acceptable CPT employment include these:

  1. A summer internship at an investment bank through the Business School course BUS 4785 for undergraduates or MIS 6321 for graduates
  2. Work with a software company where the results are used to complete a project for a specific computer science course
  3. Research at a petro-chemical company with the intent of using the data collected as a basis for a thesis

 

Note: You CANNOT participate in CPT unless you have completed one academic year or two semesters as a full-time student.

 

To Apply for CPT, students should do the following:

1. Meet with their academic adviser and explain that, in order to be authorized to work off campus, international students must be registered for a course which is connected to the work (see “Requirements” above). The adviser should guide the student in finding a suitable internship and in choosing a course which would qualify for CPT.

2. Once offered a job, get written confirmation from the prospective employer. The job offer letter must be on company letterhead and must include the following:

  • Description of work
  • Location (city and state) of work
  • Start date and end date of employment (if you have questions, contact CGE)
  • Number of hours of work per week


3. Request a letter from the academic adviser which must include all of the following:

  • The course number of the internship or class connected with the work
  • Information on how the work will contribute to or fulfill requirements of a course (It is not enough for the work to simply “relate” to the course.)
  • A description of the employment offered, including beginning and ending dates, the location of the job (city and state) and the number of hours per week of work

 

4. Submit your I-20, job letter, and adviser letter (or form) to the CGE at least one week prior to starting work for review and processing. At this time you may be asked to show your passport and I-94 card.

5. Complete a CPT Approval Form, available in CGE.

6. Authorization for CPT is noted directly on the I-20 form, and takes two-three days to process in CGE.

 

NOTE: F-1 Students can use an unlimited amount of part-time Curricular Practical Training and still have 12 months of Optional Practical Training following completion of studies. However, if a student uses 12 months above full-time (over 20 hours/week) Curricular Practical Training, s/he will no longer be eligible for Optional Practical Training.