Maintaining Proper Immigration Status
If you arrive in the United States on an F-1 Entry Visa, you will have your Form I-20 returned to you by the immigration officer at the port of entry. Students entering on J-1 entry visas will have your Form DS-2019 returned to you by the immigration officer. These forms indicate the type of status, length of authorized stay, and name of the authorized institution or school, which the student will attend. Students are required to maintain lawful immigration status at all times. It is the student's responsibility to keep track of immigration matters. In order to maintain proper Immigration status, F-1 or J-1, students must:
- Register for a full-time course load (12 credits) every semester. Failure to register for a full-time complement of courses is an automatic breach of lawful status.
- F-1 and J-1 students may not study part-time
- Remain at Mount Union for the complete duration of the program of study (Bachelor's degree). Students wishing to transfer to another institution before completion of this course of study will need to receive proper authorization from both the University of Mount Union and the transfer institution.
- Not perform any unauthorized employment, either on or off-campus, while in F-1 or J-1 status.
- Apply for an Extension of Stay if studies will take longer than the prescribed duration of status, well in advance of the completion date on Form I-20 or DS-2019.
"Out of Status"
Failure to comply with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.) regulations will retroactively place you "out of status" and in violation of U.S. immigration laws. Students who fall out of status must apply for reinstatement and will likely be asked to leave the country and re-enter with new documentation. They also may be barred from re-entry for a period of three years or longer if an immigration judge or the service finds them in violation.
If an international student has not maintained lawful immigration status, s/he may face difficulties with and possible legal action from the U.S.C.I.S. Some immigration problems can be resolved simply; others can be complicated and require months of effort by many offices to resolve. Such problems usually require the exchange of letters and documents between the student, the Office of International Recruitment and Admission, U.S.C.I.S. and possibly with a U.S. Embassy abroad.
It is imperative that F-1 and J-1 students contact the Office of International Recruitment and Admission immediately if there appear to be any problems related to the student's immigration status. In some instances the student may be required to exit and re-enter the United States in order to rectify a problem related to lawful status. Sometimes students have problems which are complicated enough to require the services of an immigration attorney. Students are urged to consult the Office of International Recruitment and Admission before contacting an immigration lawyer, lest they be required to pay for expensive legal services unnecessarily.