Maintaining Your F-1 Status
- Maintain a full-course of study: as defined by your program.
F-1 students are admitted to the United States for a period known as “Duration of Status,” which is recorded in I-94 and I-20 with the notation “D/S”. This means that you are authorized to stay in United States for the entire length of time during which you are enrolled as a full-time student and any period of authorized practical training plus 60 days.
- Refrain from unauthorized employment and do not work more than 20 hours per week in your on-campus employment position.
- Have your I-20 signed by DSO/PDSO for travel outside the US.
- Attend the school you are authorized to attend on your I-20. You must follow both USCIS and university transfer procedures to attend a new school.
- Complete your program by the anticipated completion date on your I-20. If you cannot finish your program requirements by your I-20 completion date, follow extension procedures with PDSO.
- Receive a new I-20 when transferring from one level to another or from one degree to another at the same university.
- Have a valid, un-expired passport. Keep the passport valid for six months.
- Notify Director of International Student Services and the Office of the Registrar of any change in residence or mailing address within 10 days of the change.
If at any time you have a question, contact Dr. Kiran Chadda, Director of International Student Services.
Leave of Absence
Leave of Absence for Medical Reasons:
The only Leave of Absence that allows an F-1 student to remain in the United States is an approved medical leave of absence while receiving medical treatment in the U.S. DSO/PDSO may grant approval for enrollment in a reduced course load or no course load in SEVIS due to a temporary illness or medical condition, but only upon the recommendation of a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist. Under immigration regulations, no more than twelve months of medical leave are allowed per degree level.
Leave of Absence for Non-Medical Reasons:
If you have a personal emergency and need to leave your studies in the United States to return home, you should be aware of the relevant Department of Homeland Security rules and regulations so you can maintain your student status.
As an F-1 student you should talk to your DSO/PDSO to request a leave of absence before you leave school.If the DSO/PDSO allows leave of absence, then you will have to depart U.S. within 15 days and your SEVIS record will be terminated for authorized withdrawal. If you do not tell your DSO/PDSO, you will not qualify for an additional 15-day period of departure and your SEVIS record will be terminated for unauthorized early withdrawal. This may impede your re-entry into the United States. You must contact your PDSO about a month before the date you hope to return.If you are outside of the U.S. less than 5 months, then PDSO will request SEVP to return your F-1 status to Active status in SEVIS. You may re-enter the U.S. with your original I-20 with a valid travel signature.
Leave of Absence Exceeding 5 Months:
If you are outside of the U.S. for medical or non-medical reasons more than 5 months, then you will need a new I-20 with a new SEVIS ID number in order to re-enter the U.S. to continue your studies. After you receive your new I-20 you will have to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee (with the new SEVIS ID on your new I-20) and apply for a new F-1 visa.You will not be applicable for off-campus employment benefits (CPT, OPT), unless you are in your new F-1 status for at least one academic year.
- students are allowed to work in the U.S. in accordance with guidelines and restrictions issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Types of Employment
Students on F-1 status may work no more than 20 hours per week on-campus while school is in session, and full-time during school breaks. On-campus employment is defined as work for which you receive a paycheck from Hood College; and/or work for a firm that is a contractor to Hood (such as Aramark) as long as it provides services on Hood’s campus.
Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus employment option for F-1 students when the practical training is an integral part of the established curriculum or academic program. CPT employment is defined as “alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” To qualify, the work experience must be required for your degree, or academic credit must have awarded.
- You must maintain an F-1 status for one full academic year.
- CPT must relate to your major and the experience must be part of your program of study;
- Training must be requirement of the program of study and/or receive credit
- CPT requires a written job offer indicating job title, dates of employment, number of hours and location of employment;
- Get the CPT authorization form from PDSO and get it completed from your academic advisor/major professor
- CPT can be authorized to Graduate students during their first year- if the program requires the experience as recommended by the academic advisor;
- Your PDSO/DSO will provide you a new Form I-20,“Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” that shows you have been approved for this employment.
- This must be completed before you start your internship/ practical experience.
- You can work on CPT part-time up to 20 hours a week during the semester and full-time during breaks.
- OPT must relate to your major or course of study.
- You can apply for 12 months of OPT at each education level, (i.e., you may have 12 months of OPT at the bachelor’s level and another 12 months of OPT at the master’s level).
- Your PDSO/DSO will provide you with a new Form I-20 that shows the recommendation for this employment.
- You must apply for work authorization by filing a Form I-765, “Application for Employment Authorization,” with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and paying a filing fee. USCIS will send you a Form I-766, “Employment Authorization Document,” (EAD) upon approving your Form I-765.
- Wait to start work until after you receive your EAD.
Documents needed to apply for Post completion OPT
- A personal check made out to Department of Homeland Security
- Two color passport photos(2"x2", write name and SEVIS number on back of both photos; must be taken within 30 days)
- The original Form I-765(sign in blue ink)
- A photocopy of the SEVIS form I-20 requesting OPT
- Photocopies of all previously issued I-20s
- A photocopy of your passport number/photo/expiration date page(s)
- A photocopy of I-94 record (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/consent.html)
- A photocopy of your most current F-1 visa
- If you would like to receive e-notification about the status of your OPT, attach the G-1145 form to your application. https://www.uscis.gov/g-1145
OPT STEM Extension
- You may qualify for an additional 24months of OPT under the following circumstances:
- The degree for your current period of post-completion OPT is a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) program.
- The employer from which you are seeking employment uses the E-Verify program.
- You have not previously received a 24-month extension of OPT.
- You have to complete the form I-983 before the application of STEM OPT. https://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Document/2016/I-983.pdf
- Your PDSO will provide you with a new Form I-20 that shows the PDSO recommendation for this employment on page two.
- You must apply for work authorization by filing a Form I-765 with USCIS and paying a filing fee. USCIS will send you an EAD upon approving your petition.
- You may continue to work on OPT up to 180 days while your24-month extension petition is pending if you meet these conditions:
- You are currently in a period of post-completion OPT.
- You properly and in a timely manner filed your application for the 24-month extension with USCIS.
- You must report changes in name, address, employer and loss of employment to your PDSO/DSO within 10 days of any change.
Documents needed to apply for STEM OPT
F-1 students should obtain the Form I-983 online before they apply to participate in STEM OPT extension. The STEM OPT student and their prospective employer must work together to complete the form prior to the student applying for the STEM OPT extension.
- Completed form I-765.In item #16 on the form write(c) (3) (C)
- Check for $380 payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- A Photocopy of Form I-94
- A Photocopy of Previous EAD Card
- A Photocopy of degree for STEM
- Two full-face (passport style) color photos
- Previous copies of I-20's
- Official photocopy of transcript
- You will also need to name and address of your employer. Their E-Verify Number
- Your Supervisor's name Supervisor's e-mail and phone number
- You will need to give your position title
- You have to give a short explanation (less than1000 characters) on how the employment is related to your major course of study.
Employment based on Economic Hardship
- Have been in F-1 status for one full academic year
- Be in good academic standing
- Demonstrate that there is unforeseen severe economic necessity beyond the student’s control (such as loss of scholarship, death of a financial sponsor, fluctuations of the home country currency or exchange rate