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  Immigration Information - Maintaining F1 Status

Maintaining F-1 Status

You are responsible for maintaining your immigration status. There are some important things you must do to maintain your status:

  • Keep your passport valid.
  • Enroll for classes every semester.
  • Take a full course load every semester.
  • Obtain extensions of stay as needed.

Notify the International Student Advisor and Get Permission for:

  • You plan to a reduced course load
  • You plan to work off campus
  • You plan to transfer to or from NSU
  • You want to change your academic level (e.g., BA to MA).
  • You want to enroll in an online course or enrolling part-time at another institution.
  • Have a  name or address change - do this within 10 days of the change.

Frequently Asked Questions

What must I do when I change my major?

When you change your major, you must notify the International Student Advisor and obtain an updated I-20 form.

What must I do when I advance in degree level or apply for a second degree?

 When you advance from one degree level to another (e.g. bachelors to masters)or begin a second degree/certificate program at NSU, you must notify the international student advisor. You must be maintaining F-1 status and provide documentation of financial solvency in order to begin the new program.

Take a copy of your admission letter to the ISA along with new financial documentation. The ISA will issue you an updated I-20 form for the new degree program.

What must I do when I move from one address to another?

F-1 students must report a change of address to the international student advisor (DSO) within 10 days of the change. The ISA will update your address in SEVIS within 21 days of receipt.

You should also file a change of address with the Office of the Registrar.

Do I have to apply for a program extension?

 Section 5 of the I-20 specifies its expiration date, which is the latest date by which you must complete your degree. If you anticipate completing your studies later than the date in section 5 of your I-20, you will need a program extension; however the reason must be a compelling academic reason or documented illness. Compelling academic reasons include: *a change in major *a change in research topic *an unexpected research problem *a loss of credits due to school transfer or *inadequate time on the original I-20 form for the average student in the academic program to complete the requirements.

In order to apply for a program extension, you and your academic advisor will need to complete a Program Extension Form to verify the reason(s) you need an extension. Take the completed form to the international student advisor. S/he will generate a new I-20 form reflecting the new end date.

Please note: programs cannot be extended after the I-20 has expired; therefore, it is very important to obtain timely extensions in order to maintain your F-1 status.

Can I take a reduced course load?

 There are circumstances where a reduced course load can be authorized by the international student advisor. A reduction in course load can be made for academic reasons including: *Initial difficulties with the English Language *Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods *Initial difficulties with reading requirements or *Improper course level placement A reduced course load for academic reasons can be used only once while you are pursuing a course of study at a particular program level.

A reduction in course load can also be made for a medical condition. The ISA may grant approval for temporary illness or medical condition, but only upon recommendation of a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist. The medical condition exemption may not exceed 12 months in aggregate.

Finally, a DSO may authorize a reduced course load during a final term or semester if fewer courses are required to complete the degree; however, a student may not take zero number of credit hours during any term. If a thesis or dissertation is left to complete, students must enroll under continuing registration.

Complete a Request for Reduced Course Load form and return it to the ISA.

How many online courses may I take?

 There are restrictions for f-1 students who wish to take on-line courses. Under federal regulations, only 3 credit hours of on-line or distance learning courses may count toward the number of credit hours required for full-time enrollment. Violation of this policy will constitute under-enrollment, which is a violation of F-1 visa status.

May I enroll at another institution while attending NSU?

 An F-1 student may enroll in two schools at the same time as long as the enrollment in both schools amounts to a full time course of study. To request concurrent enrollment, complete the Multiple Enrollment Request Form and return it to the OISSS.

Please note that you do not need to complete the form if you are enrolled full time at NSU and choose to take an additional class at another school.

What happens if I fall out of status?

If you have not remained a full-time student, failed to obtain a timely program extension, or have otherwise violated your F-1 status, you will be instructed to prepare a reinstatement application.

You will not be allowed to register for the next semester until reinstatement has been filed, nor will you be able to transfer to another institution until your F-1 status has been reinstated.