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 or a DS-2019, it gives the student the core document he/she needs to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa at a US embassy or consulate, and to enter the US in nonimmigrant F-1 or J-1 status or classification. Children and spouses are admitted in nonimmigrant F-2 or J-2 status or classification, and must be issued their own corresponding SEVIS documents (I-20 or DS-2019) so they can obtain F-2 or J-2 visas, respectively.
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:
- Failure to report to the I-20-issuing school for SEVIS registration
- Failure to register for a given academic term
- Failure to make normal progress
- Failure to attend the authorized school
- Failure to complete the transfer out and transfer in process
- Failure to file a timely change of status
- Failure to obtain a program extension prior to program end date
- Failure to provide notification of an address change in a timely fashion
- Failure to depart from the US in an appropriate time
- Unauthorized employment
- Being out of status for more than 5 months
- 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:
- All the documents necessary to issue a new Form I-20, including updated financial support documents
- 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
- A completed and signed Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status through this link: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis. You may also locate this form on the CGE page under “Forms.” In Part 2, item 1 write the phrase “Reinstatement to F-1 Status.”
- Check to the order of CIS (verify amount before submission)
Materials to Submit with a Reinstatement Application:
1. Form I-539...at top: "REINSTATEMENT"
2. Form I-539 filing fee, made payable to CIS
3. Form I-20 (original)
4.Student letter explaining why she/he is out of status and requesting reinstatement
5. DSO letter accompanying letter (if appropriate)
6. Verification of Finances and/or Affidavit of Support
7. Original Form I-94
8. Any other documentation that might help to support or substantiate the student’s appeal for reinstatement (e.g., student sponsor’s bank statement and letter from sponsor’s employer indicating employment status and salary—if finances were the primary reason for losing status)
Upon submission of the above-mentioned documents, CGE will prepare a reinstatement application packet, which you must submit to the CIS/ICE Service Center.
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 p. 3 of your I-20 is more than 9 months old.
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.
Conditions for accepting on-campus employment:
- Work occurs on the Central State premises.
- Employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full time during breaks.
- 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.
- 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 and J-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!
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:
- Fulfill an optional or required internship in the academic program, OR
- Fulfill the requirements for a regular course or independent study in the academic program, OR
- If working on a thesis or final project, the work must contribute “materially and substantially” to the final paper or project.
Some examples of acceptable CPT employment include these:
- A summer internship at an investment bank through the Business School course BUS 4785 for undergraduates or MIS 6321 for graduates
- Work with a software company where the results are used to complete a project for a specific computer science course
- 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.