Maintaining Immigration Status: F-1 and J-1 Students

It is your responsibility to maintain your non-immigrant status while in the U.S. You must comply with all federal immigration regulations as outlined below. Failure to do so will result in being “out-of-status,” which will require you to either apply for Reinstatement or to exit the country and attempt to re-enter to clear your status.  

1.     You are admitted to the U.S. for duration of status (D/S).  

  • You are permitted to remain in the U.S. as long as you are pursuing a full course of study, are engaging in authorized practical training, or are in your grace period (60 days for F-1 students; 30 days for J-1 students).

2.     Maintain valid immigration documents.

  • Your passport must be kept valid at all times.  For renewal instructions, contact your embassy.
  • Your visa must be valid only for re-entry to the U.S.
  • Form I-20 (for F-1 students) and Form DS-2019 (for J-1 students) must be kept valid and reflect your academic status throughout your stay.  If you change your major, you must request a new I-20/DS-2019.  If your program will go beyond the listed end date, you must apply for an extension 30-45 days prior to your completion date.

3.     Attend the school listed on your most recent I-20.

  • If you are transferring in, you must obtain a Mount Union I-20/DS-2019.  If you wish to transfer out to another school, you will need to obtain an I-20/DS-2019 from the new school. Complete the Transfer-Out Request Form so your SEVIS record can be released to the new school. 

4.   Report any change of your local address, phone number, or name.

  • You must report any change to your personal information within ten days of the change. 

5.     You must be enrolled full-time each semester with the exception of summer vacation.    

  • Undergraduates must enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours each fall and spring semester.
  • Only one 3-credit distance learning course may be counted toward full-time enrollment each semester.
  • Undergraduates, in their final semester, may register below full-time but they must enroll in at least one class that requires on-campus physical presence (i.e. registration cannot be limited to an online course).

 6.     You must receive permission before enrolling below full-time.

  • Students must submit a Reduced Course Load (RCL) Form to request permission to enroll below full-time. The RCL must meet one of the stated criteria to qualify for approval:
  1. Initial English language difficulties
  2. Initial unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
  3. Improper course placement
  4. Medical reasons – Students must submit a letter from a medical professional recommending an RCL
  5. Final semester of the program

 7.     If you are planning to travel outside the U.S., your I-20/DS-2019 must be signed before traveling.

  • Travel signatures are valid for one year.  If you will apply for a new visa, the travel signature must be dated within three months of the visa appointment.
  • Students who are traveling to countries other than Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean Islands who have an expired visa will need to apply for a new visa to re-enter the U.S. 
  • Upon re-entry to the U.S., students should submit any updated immigration documents to the Office of International Recruitment and Admissions.

 8.     Employment

On-Campus Employment

  • You may work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week* while school is in session and up to 30 hours per week when school is not in session.*

*The maximum number of hours is subject to Mount Union’s student employment policies.

Off-Campus Employment

  • You must have work authorization BEFORE engaging in off-campus employment.
  • Options include: Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT), Academic Training (AT) and Economic Hardship.

 9.       F-1 and J-1 students MUST have health insurance during their entire stay in the U.S

 10.    You should file your Tax Return each year by April 15th

  • Even if you had no U.S. income, there are still forms that must be completed.

 11.    You are ultimately responsible for knowing the rules and regulations of your status while in the U.S.

  • Be sure to check your e-mail account regularly for immigration updates.

 12.    Keep all immigration documents in a secure place.

  • Be prepared to present your immigration documents (passport, visa, I-20/DS-2019) when requested by a government or school official. 
  • Contact the Office of International Recruitment and Admissions if any of your immigration documents are lost or stolen.


If you have any questions regarding U.S. immigration regulations or your non-immigrant status in the United States, please contact Dr. Sara Randrianasolo, Director of International Recruitment and Admissions at or 330-823-7493.


**Immigration appointments must be scheduled at least one day in advance.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This information is not exhaustive and is subject to change without notice. 

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