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The Importance Of Maintaining F-1 Status

Students on F-1 status need to ensure they maintain status.  A failure to maintain status could result in a violation which could have an impact on their immigration future.  At PLG we often see requests for evidence questioning maintenance of status for F-1 students, who have submitted an H-1B cap petition requesting a change of status..   In order to be approved for a change of status from F-1 to H-1B, a student needs to be able to demonstrate that they have maintained their status.

In particular, students need to ensure they:

  • Attend and pass all classes. This includes taking a full course of study each term;
  • Comply with the reporting requirements (see further details below);
  • Do not work without authorization;
  • Ensure that they do not exceed the allowable days of unemployment while on OPT (90 days) or STEM OPT (150 days); and
  • Ensure that after completing their program they depart the U.S. within 60 days, transfer to another school, change educational level or apply to change status to another nonimmigrant status.

Reporting requirements

Students are required to regularly check in with their DSO. For example, they should contact their DSO when first entering the U.S. and then again when they arrive at school.  This should be no later than the program start date listed on the I-20.

Certain changes are required to be reported to the DSO within 10 days.  These include:

  • Change of name;
  • Change of address and/or phone number;
  • Change of employer address; and
  • Change of employment. Please note a change of employment requires a new I-983 to be submitted to the DSO within 10 days of starting the new job.

Students on OPT/STEM OPT can either report these changes to their DSO or can make the changes via the Student and Exchange Visitor Portal (SEVP) portal.

Every 6 months a student should work with their DSO to ensure that their SEVIS is correct.  This includes making sure it lists their correct legal name, address, employer name and address and current employment status.

Students should also speak to their DSO if they wish to change their major, transfer to a different school, take a leave of absence, travel outside of the US or request a program extension.

Day 1 CPT

USCIS is still issuing RFEs for those on day 1 CPT, requiring the student to demonstrate that they are maintaining a full course of study and that the CPT is integral to their course.

If you have any questions regarding your obligations and responsibilities as a student, please do not hesitate to contact us at cprescott@patellegal.com.

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