Maintaining F-1 Status | International Education | SUNY ESF | College of Environmental Science and Forestry
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Maintaining F-1 Status

It is the responsibility of an international student to abide by U.S. immigration regulations and to maintain valid non-immigrant student status.

Student Responsibilities

SEVIS Registration and Updating OIE

  1. During the first week of every semester, you are required to report to the OIE for SEVIS registration.  During this registration with OIE staff, all of your immigration documents are reviewed and your SEVIS record is “registered.” Failure to attend your SEVIS registration appointment will result in the termination of your SEVIS record.
  2. Report a changes of your immigration to OIE & Registrar within 10 days of the change, including:
    1. Address
    2. Major / Minor
    3. Financial Information
    4. Phone Number
    5. Email Address
  3. Bring any new immigration documents to OIE so that a copy can be made for your file.

Full-Time Enrollment Requirement

  1. Engage in a full-time course load (or authorized equivalent) every Fall and Spring semester
    1. Undergraduate students: 12 credits
    2. Graduate students without assistantship: 12 credits
    3. Graduate students with assistantship / fellowship: 9 credits
    4. Graduate students who require additional English language instruction: 9 graduate-level credits + 3 credits undergrad ESL
    5. Graduate students who have met all academic requirements: 1 research credit & file a Certificate of Full-Time Status every semester you meet the eligibility requirements
    6. Last Semester Exception: You are only required to take as many credits as are required to finish your degree program but you must be enrolled in at least 1 credit the semester you will graduate (including the summer)
  2. Make normal progress towards completing your degree (i.e., within time-frame allotted on I-20)

Do Not Work Without Authorization

  • On-Campus Employment
    International students are permitted to work on campus (at ESF or SU) up to 20 hours per week.  No additional authorization from OIE is needed to work on-campus.

  • Off-Campus Employment
    International students are not permitted under any circumstance to work off-campus without prior authorization.  Working off-campus without authorization is a major violation of your immigration status.

    There are three options for off-campus employment authorization: Economic Hardship Employment, Curricular Practical Training (CPT), and Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Keep Your Immigration Documents Valid

  • Be aware of expiration dates of your immigration documents and renew/extend in a timely manner
  • Keep passport and I-20 valid at all times during your program
  • Keep your I-20 valid by following proper procedures for I-20 extensions, change of program/program level, and SEVIS transfers
  • Keep your immigration documents in a safe and secure place.
  • If your passport will expire while you are in the USA, contact your country’s nearest embassy for information on how to renew your passport.
  • If you are traveling outside of the USA, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of reentry.  (There are some exceptions to this, so if you are unsure, check with OIE.)
  • Inform OIE immediately if you lose any of your documents.

Abide by U.S. Laws

  • Abide by rules requiring disclosure of information and prohibition on criminal activity
    • If you are arrested or charged with a crime, it is extremely important that you obtain legal counsel that is competent in both criminal law and immigration law.
    • ESF must update SEVIS within 21 days with "Any disciplinary action taken by the school against the student as a result of the student being convicted of a crime".

Abide by F-1 End of Program Grace Period

  • F-1 students have 60 days from the date of their program completion or final day of authorized practical training to prepare to depart the USA. During your grace period you can:

    • Prepare to depart and depart the USA
    • Begin a new academic program (i.e. graduate school)
    • Apply for Optional Practical Training (if you just completed your academic program)

Seek Advice if You Plan to...

  • Register for less than full-time / drop a class
  • Take online courses
  • Take courses at another institution
  • Apply for employment
    • On-campus: See Coordinator of International Education 
    • Off-campus: Attend CPT or OPT seminar given by Coordinator of International Education
  • Take a leave of absence or withdraw from the College
  • Transfer (during program or end of program)

***It is the responsibility of an international student to abide by U.S. immigration regulations and to maintain valid non-immigrant student status. ***

***The Office of International Education reserves the right to a one-week time frame for reviewing and processing of any submitted requests. Student should anticipate OIE to take the full week and should expect to submit documents early in order to avoid potential complications.***