Maintaining Your Immigration Status

Moulton Tower

 

▼   Maintaining F-1 Status

United States immigration regulations are constantly changing. F-1 students should be aware of

and comply fully with the following compliance requirements set forth by the Department of

Homeland Security (DHS):

  • You must maintain a valid, unexpired passport at all times. Keep immigration documents in a safe place, & notify our office of any changes to them.
  • You must attend the college/university listed on your current I-20.
  • You must enroll for a full course of study each term (18 hours per week).
  • If you will not be enrolled full-time, you must receive permission from the Manager of Immigration in advance. To request authorization, you and the Director of the English Language Center must complete the Reduced Course Load Request form and submit it to the office listed above prior to registering for less than a full course load or prior to dropping below a full course load (approvals for these requests are very rare).
  • You are NOT allowed to work in the United States without authorization. F-1 students are allowed to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week when school is in session.
  • Remember to have the Manager of Immigration sign your I-20 on page 3 prior to traveling outside the United States. To request a signature, you must drop off your I-20 at the Office of International Education (Meisler Hall 2300) at least one week prior to the anticipated travel date.
  • If you cannot complete your program by the date listed on your I-20, you may apply for an extension of your program of study prior to the expiration date on your Form I-20. To request an extension, complete the ELC I-20 Extension Request form.
  • After your program ends, you have a 60-day grace period to prepare to exit the U.S., to transfer to another institution, begin a new level of program (Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD), or to change your status. This is only available when you will be completing your program and not returning to USA ELC.
  • If you wish to bring any accompanying dependents (spouse or children) to the United States on F-2 status, you should request a dependent I-20 from the Office of International Education. You will need to complete a request form in the Office of International Education, provide a copy of each dependent’s passport, and proof of additional funding in the amount of $5000 per spouse and $2500 per child.
  • You must obtain a new Form I-20 before beginning a new academic program at a new level (e.g., from Language Training to Bachelor’s, Master’s, etc.) at USA. During the USA admissions process, USA International Services will produce a new change of level I-20.
  • You must complete an official immigration transfer of SEVIS record if you change schools. You must fill out a request form at the Office of International Education, as well as provide a copy of your admission letter to the new institution. This must happen before you leave Mobile!
  • You must report any change of address in USA PAWS and by completing an Information Update Sheet at the Office of International Education within 10 days of the change. OIE will electronically notify the Department of Homeland Security of the address change, via SEVIS, as required by the regulations.
▼   Maintaining J-1 Status

United States immigration regulations are constantly changing. J-1 students should be aware of and comply fully with the following compliance requirements set forth by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

  • You must maintain a valid, unexpired passport at all times. Keep immigration documents in a safe place, & notify our office of any changes to them.
  • You must attend the college/university listed on your current DS-2019.
  • You must enroll for a full course of study each semester: Undergraduates – 12 hours, Graduates – 6 hours.
  • If you will not be enrolled full-time, you must receive permission from the Manager of Immigration and International Affairs in advance.  To request authorization, you must complete the “Reduced Course Load Request” form and submit it to the office listed above prior to registering for less than a full course load or prior to dropping below a full course load (approvals for these requests are very rare).
  • You are NOT allowed to work in the United States without authorization. J-1 students are allowed to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week when school is in session.
  • Remember to have the Manager of Immigration and International Affairs sign your DS-2019 prior to traveling outside the United States.  To request a signature, you must bring your DS-2019 at the Office of International Education (Meisler Hall 2300) at least one week prior to the anticipated travel date.
  • If you cannot complete your program by the date listed on your DS-2019, you may apply for an extension of your program of study prior to the expiration date on your DS-2019 with the permission of your home institution. 
  • After your program ends, you have a 30-day grace period to prepare to exit the U.S., to transfer to another institution, begin a new level of program (Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD), or to change your status. This is only available when you will be completing your program.
  • If you wish to bring any accompanying dependents (spouse or children) to the United States on J-2 status, you should request a dependent DS-2019 from the Office of International Education.  You will need to complete a request form in the Office of International Education, provide a copy of each dependent’s passport, and proof of additional funding in the amount of $5000 per spouse and $2500 per child.
  • You must obtain an I-20 before beginning a degree program at USA.  During the USA admissions process, USA International Admissions and International Services will produce a new I-20 for the change of status to F-1. 
  • You must complete an official immigration transfer of SEVIS record if you change schools. You must fill out a request form at the Office of International Education, as well as provide a copy of your admission letter to the new institution. This must happen before you leave Mobile!
  • You must report any change of address in USA PAWS and by completing an Information Update Sheet at the Office of International Education within 10 days of the change. OIE will electronically notify the Department of Homeland Security of the address change, via SEVIS, as required by the regulations.