Your F-1 Visa

For F-1 students, being "in status" means to make sure that you are following all the rules as an F-1 student.  This includes the F-1 basic requirements, as well as reporting, following proper documentation and making normal progress as a student.

If you follow all the rules for F-1 status, you are "maintaining status", or "in status."

Out of Status

You are out of status if you do not follow the rules for your status.  An F-1 or M-1 visa holder who is out of status will lose the benefits of F-1 status.  If you lose the benefits of being "in status" it means you cannot do the following:
  • transfer to a new school
  • obtain a travel signature from a DSO on page 3 of the I-20 form
  • take a vacation quarter (stay in the United States without studying full-time)
  • work on campus
  • receive permission for OPT or any other off-campus employment
  • receive any other benefits of being an F-1 or M-1 student.
Important:  If you fall out of status, CCS will terminate your student SEVIS record.  This will endanger your ability to stay in the United States legally and can lead to serious immigration consequences.  If your SEVIS record is terminated, and you overstay your visa, all future applications for visa renewal may be affected.

Common Reasons for Falling Out of Status
  • not meeting full-time requirements (i.e., 12 quarter credit hours) unless you have prior authorization for reduced course load
  • withdrawing in the middle of a school term without prior authorization
  • academic suspension or dismissal
  • taking too many Withdrawals from classes
  • staying in the United States longer than 60 days after finishing a program
  • allowing an I-20 to expire

If you are "out of status" it is extremely difficult to get back "in status" while remaining in the US, but it can be done.  Once you are reinstated, you regain legal student status and may remain in the US.  DHS will consider a student for reinstatement if failure to maintain status was beyond your control such as:
  • a natural disaster
  • closure of the school you are attending
  • serious injury or illness
  • a mistake on the part of the Global Programs Office
If you wish to be considered for reinstatement, make an appointment with either Trina Allen or Katherine Thompson for reinstatement.  A student who is "out of status" for more than 5 months is no longer eligible to apply for reinstatement.  Also, if DHS denies your reinstatement request, you must return to your home country immediately.

Consequences of Overstaying Your Visa

If your reinstatement application is denied by USCIS, you must leave the United States immediately.  If you do not leave you will become an "overstay."  Penalties for overstaying your visa include:
  • automatic cancellation of your visa, even it is good for many more years
  • if you overstay your visa for more than 180 days, and are caught, you will be banned from the United States for 3 years
  • if you overstay your visa for more than one year, you will be banned from the United States for 10 years.