Maintaining Status For F-1 Students

Before reviewing the rules and regulations mandated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), it is a good idea to review your documents to know what these document do for you.

  • The I-20 Certificate of Eligibility is a three-page document used to obtain an F-1 student visa from the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country and to enter the U.S. at a Port of Entry.
  • The I-94 Arrival/Departure Record is an electronic arrival record.  If you are entering through an air or sea port of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will scan a traveler’s passport, generating an electronic arrival record with data elements found on the current paper Form I-94. CBP will make the electronic I-94 available at www.cbp.gov/I94. Travelers may visit this website to print their electronic I-94 number before applying for immigration or public benefits, such as a driver’s license or a Social Security number.   In some instances, you may receive a Customs Declaration Form (CF-6059) and Arrival Departure Record Forms (I-94) if you are arriving at a land border port of entry.  This document when stamped at entry proves that you entered legally and indicates how long you can remain in the United States.  
  • A Passport is a country's identification document for its citizens. This document has an expiration date and may be renewed at your Consulate/Embassy within the U.S.
  • A Visa is a stamp placed in your passport by a consular official for the country in which you have applied to visit. A valid (unexpired) visa is required to enter the U.S., however, unlike a passport, once you are in the U.S. the visa is allowed to expire. If you depart the U.S. with an expired visa, you will be required to renew the visa before returning to the U.S.

The responsibility for knowing, understanding, and complying with the requirements for maintaining your status lie with you. The Office for International Student Services is here to help you understand these requirements and keep updated with changes. Informational updates and reminders are sent periodically by email to your Hiram email account so please be sure to read your email daily. If you ever have questions related to your status you should visit the International Student Advisor as soon as possible. Failure to maintain status can seriously affect your ability to remain in the U.S.

Please read the following tips very carefully.

Requirements for Maintaining Status

  • Know your documents! Pay close attention to the expiration date of your passport, visa, and I-20.
  • Report to and attend the school you are authorized to attend. This is the school listed on your visa or on your most recent I-20 if you have transferred schools.
  • Maintain at least 12 credit hours each semester (a full course load) and make satisfactory progress toward your degree. If issues arise that require you to carry less than a full course of study, please talk to the International Student Advisor for authorization prior to dropping any courses. Dropping below a full course of study without prior authorization will put you out of status.
  • An F-1 student may only count one online or distance education course (or the equivalent of three credits) toward a full-course of study per academic term.
  • Work no more than 20 hours per week on-campus
  • Do not work off-campus without proper written authorization on the Form I-20 or Employment Authorization Document (EAD Card).
  • Report a change of address to the International Student Advisor within 10 days of the change.
  • Notify the International Student Advisor of any changes to your program, personal information, or financial support.
  • Do not transfer schools without first contacting the International Student Advisor and requesting a transfer in SEVIS.
  • Do not let your I-20 expire. If needing an extension to complete your program, request the extension before the expiration of the program end date on your I-20.
  • Carry sufficient health insurance as required by law.  At Hiram College, you will be enrolled in the mandatory International Student Health Insurance Plan.  
  • For F-1 students, leave the U.S. no later than 60 days after the completion date listed on your I-20 or the end date of your OPT listed on your EAD card.
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Office for International Student Services

Nicole Gatrell

International Student Advisor (PDSO)

Office Location: Kennedy Center, 1st floor
Phone: +1.330.569.5388
Fax: +1.330.569.5183
Email: