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Maintaining F-1 and M-1 Visa Status

How to Remain Lawful and Legal in the United States

Although the IISS office will provide you various reminders about how to maintain you status, do not depend on the IISS office to warn you before you take an action that could endanger your status as under United States immigration law, it is your responsibility alone to maintain lawful F-1 student status. 

By following the instructions, as well as the guidelines listed below, you should be able to maintain lawful F-1 student status with little difficulty. You must maintain lawful student status if you wish to enjoy the benefits associated with it, such as on-campus employment, practical training, and the ability to re-enter the United States when you travel.

Maintain F-1 Student Status Guidelines

There are five things you must do to maintain status while a student at JCCC.

  1. Read the "Instructions to Students" on page two of your I-20
    • By following those instructions you should be able to maintain lawful F-1 student status with little difficulty. You must maintain lawful student status if you wish to enjoy the benefits associated with it, such as on-campus employment, practical training, and the ability to re-enter the United States when you travel.
  2. Maintain an unexpired passport.
    • Contact your country's consulate in embassy in the United States for instructions if you need to extend your passport while in the U.S.
    • Refer to Immigration Definitions for more information.
  3. Submit a JCCC Name/Address Change Request Form every time you change addresses.
    • Upon your initial arrival in the U.S. to study at JCCC, you must notify the IISS of your local address in person at the IISS office in COM 306.
    • Anytime you move to a new residence while you are JCCC student, you are required to submit the JCCC Name/Address Change Request Form within 10 days after your move.
      • Failure to follow this procedure to notify the IISS office of your change of address will cause you to be report to the USCIS as out-of-status and subject to deportation.
        • Although you may be able to change your address through the USCIS website, you are required to also complete the JCCC address change requirements in order for your JCCC and SEVIS records to be coordinated.
        • The IISS office will update your address in your SEVIS record upon receiving your JCCC Name/Address change request form. You will not be issued a new I-20 when this update it made.
  4. Maintain 12 hours enrollment every fall and spring semester with no less than nine of the 12 in lecture-style courses.
    • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations require that you register during the college’s published registration period. Failure to do this will result in violation of your F-1 status. You are expected to maintain a minimum of twelve (12) credit hours of enrollment at JCCC and make normal progress toward your degree.
    • If you will attend another college or university while attending JCCC at the same time, you may request “concurrent enrollment” permission from the IISS office in order to have the hours you are enrolled in at the other institution counted toward your enrollment. Refer to Concurrent Enrollment Information for more information.
    • The definition of "full-time" may differ from school to school. For this reason, consult with an IISS DSO as well as your academic adviser to determine whether or not you are a "full-time" student.
  5. Obtain authorization in writing on page three  of your I-20 from the IISS office dropping below 12 credit hours, withdrawing with a “W” grade, attend classes every session and pay your fees on time.
    • There are very limited exceptions to the full-time requirement, so you must consult the ISSO in advance of any drop below full-time, or you will be in violation of your status.
  6. Do not accept any employment from any employer other than JCCC without first getting written permission on page three of your I-20 from the JCCC IISS Office and, if necessary, authorization from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
    • Working without authorization is one of the most serious violation of its regulations. Review your I-94 card; you will see the statement, "Warning: a nonimmigrant who accepts unauthorized employment is subject to deportation." It is illegal to begin to work while waiting for authorization;
    • Students in F-1 status with a JCCC I-20 are allowed to work on-campus for JCCC for a maximum of 20 hours per week during the academic year (unlimited during vacation periods) but MUST complete an I-9 form at the JCCC Office of Human Resources.
  7. Request an extended I-20 at least 30 days before your current I-20 expires.

    If you have valid academic or health reasons for requiring more time to complete your program than that which is authorized on the JCCC I-20, you are required to request an extension through the IISS office.

    • Come to the IISS office as soon as you know that you will need an extension and least no less than 30 days before the completion date noted on your I-20 in order to have enough time to obtain any necessary documents.
    • If you require an extension because you will be starting a new program at JCCC (for example, you completed the requirements for an associate of applied studies (AAS) degree and now you want to pursue a second degree in biotechnology), you are required to satisfy all requirements to be issued an extended I-20 before the expiration date on your current, valid I-20. Contact the IISS for more information.
  8. Once you have completed your studies and any practical training that is authorized, you are required within the allowed time, to transfer to another university or college, leave the U.S. or change to another immigration status.
    • For JCCC I-20 students of F-1 or M-1 status, this means you have 60 days from the expiration date on your current, valid I-20 by which to depart the United States or change to another status.
  9. Carry a copy of your passport and I-94 card with you at all times.
    • When traveling outside the Kansas City area, you should carry your original I-94 card, I-20 and passport.
  10. If applicable, comply with all Special Registration Procedures for Certain Foreign Nationals.

    Since September 11, 2002, certain nonimmigrants are required to be fingerprinted and photographed at U.S. ports of entry and to make physical appearances to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office at specified intervals during their stay in the United States.

    Currently, the published registration rule applies without exception to nationals or citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Sudan. This list is subject to change at any time, and registration may be required of any non-immigrants of any nationality who are deemed by a consular officer or inspections officer to require closer monitoring.

    If you undergo special registration when you arrive, failure to comply with ongoing requirements has severe consequences. Requirements are described on the ICE web site at Special Registration. You are urged to contact the IISS if you have any questions.