F-1 Immigration Responsibilities - The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service places responsibility on the student to understand and comply with immigration law. The
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and
Study in the States websites are excellent resources for future and current UC international students.
The following section provides general immigration information. If current students have questions regarding their immigration status, they should contact the
Director of International Programs in the International Office on the third floor of the Geary Student Union (GSU). Prospective students should contact the
Director of International Admissions/Enrollment in the Admissions Office (Riggleman Hall).
SEVIS is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It involves computerized processes to collect, maintain, and manage information about international students and exchange visitors during their stay in the United States. SEVIS enables schools and exchange programs to transmit electronic information and event notifications, via the Internet, to the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and the Department of State throughout the student’s or exchange visitor’s stay in the United States.
The SEVIS system ensures that all legitimate foreign students be able to enter the United States and reduces the exploitation of immigration laws by those attempting to enter our country for reasons other than attending schools here.All schools that accept international students must be SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) approved schools. All new F-1 students are issued an immigration document (an I-20) through the SEVIS system.
If your completion of studies date has expired or if you do not meet the eligibility requirements to apply for program extension, you may need to apply for reinstatement to lawful F-1 status. In this case, immediate consultation with the
Director of International Programs is necessary. Reinstatement is at the discretion of DHS.
You must apply for an extension of a study program within the thirty (30) day period before the completion date on your I-20. You should contact the
Director of International Programs at least thirty (30) days before your I-20 completion date so that you will have sufficient time to have your extension completed. If your completion date has already passed, please contact the
Director of International Programs immediately.
If you fail to comply with your responsibilities, you may not be eligible to continue any type of employment (even on-campus employment) or to apply for school transfer, practical training, or other F-1 benefits without a reinstatement.
If you intend to travel within the U.S. during your stay, there are no special documents necessary. Be sure to carry your passport with your I-94 and I-20 so that you will have legal identifying documents in your possession should any problems arise.
A valid I-20 needs a signature by a Designated School Official (DSO) for travel. Please come to the International Office at least two weeks before you travel to have the Director of International Programs endorse your I-20.
Travel to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean Islands: In most cases, you do not need to have a valid U.S. visa to reenter the United States if your visit will be less than 30 days to any of these countries. However, you must be in possession of a valid I-94 which you must present upon entry to and exit from Canada, Mexico, or a Caribbean Island. A valid I-20 is also required, as is a valid passport. If you will be in one of these countries 30 days or longer, a valid U.S. visa will be required for reentry to the U.S.
When traveling to Canada or any other country, all regulations of that country apply: You may need to obtain a visa for the country/countries you intend to visit. You should obtain visas at the appropriate embassies or consulates here in the U.S. before departing.
International students in F-1 immigration status are required by Immigration regulation to be full-time students for two consecutive terms each year. Generally, students register full-time for fall and spring terms.
Full-time undergraduate status is defined as enrollment for a minimum of 12 credits each term. Students who wish to take online courses may do so provided that they are taken in addition to a minimum of 9 credit hours of in-seat coursework. Full-time graduate status varies by program.
There are exceptions to this regulation made for students who fit into certain classifications.