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F-1 Regulations Overview


It is the responsibility of each student to be familiar with the immigration requirements related to their status. Following the guidelines below will help you to avoid many unnecessary problems.

Basic Guidelines

  • Keep your passport valid for at least 6 months.

    Contact your home country's embassy in the U.S. for information about renewing your passport validity.

  • Keep your local address updated.

    Keep your mailing address, billing address, phone and email updated through CougarNet. You must use a U.S. address for mailing and billing.

  • Maintain full-time enrollment.

    You must be full-time each semester. For immigration purposes, in most cases, undergraduate students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester and graduate students must complete 9 credit hours per semester.

  • Get SIUE International Office approval before a withdrawal from classes.

    If for some reason you must withdraw from your program or drop below full-time, you are required to have approval from SIUE International Office before doing so.

  • Keep your I-20 valid at all times.

    Submit a letter from your academic advisor to request an Extension of your I-20 if the completion date on your I-20 will expire within the next 30 days and you need more time to complete your program of study. The completion date can be found in Box #5 on the I-20 form. You must also request a new I-20 if you change your major or your degree level, e.g. Master's.

  • Get a travel endorsement .

    Before your departure from the U.S., request a signature for re-entry from the SIUE Office of International Affairs. The International Advisor will sign page 3 of the I-20 for this purpose. The signature is valid for six months.

  • Get proper employment permission:
    • On-campus employment -- Limit employment to 20 hours per week during the academic year. Employment on-campus may be full-time in the summer and vacation periods. No special work permit is required.
    • Off-campus employment -- Do not work off-campus without permission. Work permission for F-1 students must be approved through SIUE Office of International Affairs and the USCIS.
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