Maintaining Your Status
The following are the most important immigration regulations that you will need to follow in order to maintain your visa status. For any questions please contact your International Student Advisor.
It is the student’s responsibility to maintain their nonimmigrant status, to exit and reenter the United States appropriately, and to refrain from unauthorized work. Students who fail to comply with their immigration responsibilities may lose legal nonimmigrant status and will not be eligible for work or immigration benefits or to continue in their academic program.
- Contact the International Programs Office (IPO), located at Plant Hall 300, or at firstname.lastname@example.org, for any student visa and immigration status questions/issues/concerns.
- International must make normal progress toward the completion of their degree. Students must enroll and attend each the Fall and Spring semesters. Failure to enroll will result in falling "out of status" and your F or J visa status will be terminated.
- Register for a full-time course load every Fall and Spring semester. 12 credits/hour for undergraduate students and 8 credits/hour for graduate students (per semester). Only one class out of your full-time schedule may be online. Failure to register full-time will result in falling "out of status" and your F or J status will be terminated.
- If the Summer is your first semester at UT, you must also be registered full-time for that Summer semester.
- If graduating in the Summer semester you must be enrolled in a least one credit hour of a face-to-face course.
- Some graduate level programs are cohort-based programs designed for students to take specific classes in a specific order, some in the summer. If a student in that type of program misses a class, then sometimes it can affect their enrollment for the next semester making then not able to be full time or not able to take classes they need to graduate on time. Please make sure you are aware of the rules and expectations for your graduate program regarding summer semester.
- Do not drop below full-time during the semester and not meet the full-time requirement without prior permission from the Office of International Programs. This will result in falling "out of status" and your F or J visa status will be terminated. Students who qualify for a reduced course load must complete the Reduced Course Load request before registering for less than full-time hours or dropping below full-time.
- Do not drop or withdraw from a course or courses from a previous semester if it will put you below full time for that semester. Speak with your international student advisor first. Retroactively withdrawing will have serious consequences for your immigration status. This applies for Fall and Spring semesters, and Summer if Summer is your first semester at UT.
- Do not drop out of school and stay in the US. If you drop out of school you will be "out of status".
- If you decide to leave the school to go back home, you must first submit a SEVIS Leave of Absence/Withdrawal request prior to withdrawing from UT or dropping your classes.
- Inform the school of any change of address or phone number within 10 days in your Workday account.
- Do not accept any off-campus employment or internship (paid or unpaid) without applying for and receiving proper authorization through the International Programs Office. By doing so, you are jeopardizing your F or J visa status.
- If you decide to transfer to another school, submit the proper SEVIS Transfer Out request.
- It is your responsibility to have a valid Form I-20 or DS-2019 at all times and if your I-20 or DS-2019 expires you will be automatically "out of status".
- If you need more time to finish your degree, contact the International Programs Office to file a proper I-20 Program Extension request prior to the expiration date.
- You cannot remain in the USA beyond your 60-day grace period (F-1) or 30-day grace period (J-1) allowed after completion of a program, unless you have completed a timely SEVIS transfer out or appropriate employment authorization request.
- Contact the International Programs Office to request a new form I-20 (F-1) if you change your major.
- Check your electronic I-94 record after each entry into the US to ensure you entered in legal F or J status and that the information is correct.
- Keep your passport valid at all times. If your passport will expire while inside the U.S. contact your local embassy to renew it at least 6 months in advance of the expiration date.
- Only attend the school authorized on your form I-20 or DS-2019.
- For information on how to maintain F-2 visa status, visit the F-2 Dependents page.
Failure to Maintain Status and Unlawful Presence
It is extremely important for a nonimmigrant to maintain his or her status while in the United States. Failure to maintain the terms and conditions of nonimmigrant status is a ground for removal from the United States (deportation) under INA § 237(a)(1)(C)(i).
Failure to maintain status in the U.S. could result in Unlawful Presence which carries 3 and 10 year bars for re-entry to the U.S. Read USCIS's August 9, 2018 Accrual of Unlawful Presence memo.