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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.

  • Engage in a full-time course load (or authorized equivalent) every Fall and Spring semester
    • Undergraduate students: 12 credits
    • Graduate students without assistantship: 12 credits
    • Graduate students with assistantship/fellowship: 9 credits
    • Graduate students who require additional English language instruction: 9 graduate-level credits + 3 credits undergrad ESL
    • 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
    • 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)
  • Make normal progress towards completing your degree (i.e., within timeframe allotted on I-20)
  • Report a change of address to OIE & Registrar within 10 days of the change
  • Do not work off-campus without authorization from OIE
  • 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
  • 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 rules
    • 60 days to depart the U.S. following program/OPT completion
  • Seek advice and prior permission 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)

SUNY-ESF
State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
SUNY-ESF |
1 Forestry Drive | Syracuse, NY 13210 | 315-470-6500
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