Maintaining your F-1 or J-1 status is more than just having an I-20 or DS-2019; it is making sure that you follow immigration regulations that govern your status. As an international student, you have certain responsibilities, benefits and restrictions that must be kept in mind to safeguard your status. When you lose your status because you fail to abide by immigration rules, you lose your F-1 or J-1 student benefits including on-campus employment and work authorizations. Even more important, you could possibly become subject to arrest and deportation, and future visa applications might be compromised. Depending on the type of violation, you could even be barred from coming back to the U.S. for a number of years.
In order to enjoy your stay in the United States and have a great experience as an international student, take the time to learn about your immigration status and closely follow immigration regulations.
My responsibilities as an international student at Georgia State are to:
- Register full time every semester
- Maintain a current passport (valid for at least 6 months into the future at all times)
- Be aware of grace periods
- Request authorization from ISSS before dropping below a full course load
- Report all changes in address via PAWS within 10 days
- Report all changes in name, dependents and status through ISSS
- Request my transfer to another school in a timely manner
- Report a change in my program of study (such as moving from one degree level to another or a change in major) to ISSS and request a new I-20
- Request travel signatures before traveling
- Request an I-20 or DS-2019 Extension at least two weeks before my document expires
- Provide ISSS with any updates regarding passport extensions and visa renewals
- Become familiar with immigration rules
- Check my Georgia State email account regularly for communication from ISSS & the university
- Read the ISSS newsletter as it contains important immigration updates
My restrictions as an international student:
- I cannot work off-campus without previous authorization from ISSS or U.S. immigration, whichever is applicable.
- I cannot be under-enrolled or not enrolled at all unless previously authorized (Please see enrollment requirements.)
- I cannot work more than 20 hours/week while school is in session unless required by my program of study and authorized by ISSS.
- I cannot maintain status with an expired I-20 or DS-2019.
My benefits as an international student:
- I can work on campus without authorization.
- I am eligible to apply for 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) per degree level.
- I am eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
- I can maintain my F-1 status as long as I follow immigration regulations, because my status has no fixed expiration date.
- I can work on campus with approval from my program sponsor.
- I am eligible for Academic Training.
- I can maintain my J-1 status as long as I follow immigration regulations until the designated program end date.
ISSS is here to help you understand immigration rules as much as possible, but ultimately, maintaining your status is YOUR responsibility.
The best thing you can do to take ownership of your status is to spend some time making yourself familiar with the information in this section and the rest of our website.
Finally, if you have some concerns or inquiries regarding what you can or cannot do in F-1 status, do not rely on what your friends tell you. Our doors are always open to answer any of your questions. You can call an ISSS advisor at (404) 413-2070 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.