F-1 Maintenance of Status
F-1 students must comply with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations, which can be found under Instructions to Students on page 2 of the I-20. By following those instructions and the specific information below, Southeastern F-1 students will maintain legal F-1 status in the US and be able to take full advantage of available F-1 benefits. The ISO website provides general information, forms and instructions for specific benefits and procedures, and advising information. Any questions should be directed to International Services Office.
Tips to Maintain Status
Report to ISO within 30 days of start date on I-20
Report address changes to ISO within 10 days. You will also need to update
your address in LeoNet.
Keep passport valid (your passport should be valid for a minimum of six
months into the future.) To renew your passport in the US, contact the
Embassy in your home country.
Maintain full time study:
-Undergraduates-must be registered for a minimum of 12 credits
-Graduates-must be registered for a minimum of 9 credit hours
-ESL Students - must attend 20 hours of lecture and lab per week
*There are some exceptions to the full time study rule however you must
obtain special permission from the ISO prior to reducing your course load
Apply for I-20 extension prior to the end date in section 5 of your I-20. Learn more about Program Extension
Notify the ISO when changing education levels at Southeastern within
60 days of program end date.
Notify the ISO when transferring to another F1 program within 60 days
of Southeastern program end date. Learn more about School Transfers
Off campus employment requires special permission. See Employment to learn more .
Timely depart or change status. F1 students have a 60 day grace period for
departure following the end date of their program as noted on the I-20 or
approved OPT period.
A student who has failed to maintain F1 student status and who wishes to return or transfer to Southeastern, must apply for and be granted reinstatement to F1 student status by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Maintaining F1 student status means that you have been a full-time student and have not overstayed the authorized period of stay as identified on your I-20. If you have taken less than a full course of study, not extended your I-20 or not completed the F1 transfer procedure, you are likely out of status and must apply for reinstatement before you can be granted any additional benefits from the USCIS. A student who has worked without authorization is also out of status, but is not eligible for reinstatement. If you think that you are out of status, please contact the ISO immediately.
The reinstatement application includes the following documents:
Completed I-539 form with the $290 filing fee (check or money order
made payable to Department of Homeland Security) Write the word
REINSTATEMENT in red ink on the top of the form.
A newly obtained I-20 form issued by Southeastern
Your original I-94 form (a new card will be issued should your
Reinstatement be approved)
Proof of continued funding to pay for your academic program
A written statement requesting reinstatement which explains the violation
resulted from circumstances beyond your control and/or failure to be
reinstated would result in extreme hardship. Any documentation that
supports your claim should also be attached.
*The ISO will review your reinstatement application and letter before it is mailed. Do not apply for reinstatement without first consulting the ISO.
Please keep copies of all documents submitted. A decision to reinstate an individual to F1 status is completely at the discretion of USCIS. If the application is approved, USCIS adjudicates the new I-20 form, makes appropriate entry in SEVIS and returns the I-20 to you along the I-94 form.
J-1 Maintenance of Status
J-1 students must comply with the Department of State (DOS) regulations, which can be found on page 2 of the DS-2019. By following those instructions and the specific information below, Southeastern J-1 students will maintain legal J-1 status in the US and be able to take full advantage of available J-1 benefits. The ISO website provides general information, forms and instructions for specific benefits and procedures, and advising information. Any questions should be directed to International Services Office.
Tips to Maintain Status
Maintain full-time enrollment and progress at the institution specified on the DS-2019
Maintain required health insurance
Do not change your academic major
Obtain proper employment authorization before beginning any work, even on campus
Update address and legal name within 10 days of any change
Check for valid ISO signature and proper documentation before traveling outside US
Transfer J-1 SEVIS administration when changing schools. Obtain a program extension in order to continue study beyond end date on DS-2019
Obtain a new DS-2019 prior to beginning a new degree program
Obtain an updated DS-2019 when your funding source changes
Do not stay in the US beyond the 30-day grace period
Obtain permission from ISO before requesting a leave of absence or withdrawal from Southeastern
Keep passport and I-94 valid
Read e-mails from ISO