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 maintain your lawful F-1 Status while in the U.S. Valid status is the foundation upon which all eligibility of benefits rests. Below is a summary of basic guidelines, for more detailed information or for specific questions related to your status please contact an OIS advisor.
Basic Guidelines for Maintaining F-1 Status
- Maintain a valid passport
Contact your country’s embassy in the U.S. for information about renewing or extending your passport while in the U.S.
- Verify information on your I-94
Every time you re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status. make sure your I-94 says “F-1 D/S”. If your I-94 has any other information than this, please consult OIS. You can retrieve your electronic I-94 here.
- Keep your local address updated
You must update your address within 10 days of a move. For more information, click here.
- Keep your I-20 valid at all times
You must maintain a valid I-20 as it, along with your I-94 card, serves as evidence of your continued legal status. Your I-20 should accurately reflect your program of study, program start and end dates, and the source of your financial support at all times. Any changes to personal, academic, or funding information should be updated.
Submit an application for an extension 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 program end date can be found on page 1 of the I-20 form. You must also request a new I-20 if you change your major or your degree level, e.g. Ph.D. to Master’s.
- Attend the school noted on your I-20
You must have a current, valid I-20 from the school you are attending. If you transfer from another school to Johns Hopkins, the transfer process must be completed before your academic program begins.
- Maintain full-time enrollment
You must be a full-time registered student each term you are at Johns Hopkins unless you have applied for and received a Reduced Course Load authorization from OIS. For more information, click here.
- Get OIS approval before dropping below full-time course load or withdrawing from JHU
If for some reason you must withdraw from your program or you are unable to enroll full-time, you are required to have approval from the OIS before doing so. For more information, click here.
- Get a travel endorsement
Before your departure from the U.S., request a signature for re-entry (commonly referred to as a “travel signature”) from an OIS Advisor. The Advisor will sign page 2 of the I-20 for this purpose. If you are a current student, the signature is valid for one year. If you are on OPT, the signature is valid for six months. For more information, click here.
- Work only with proper employment authorization
You must receive proper work authorization before engaging in any on-campus or off-campus activity that does not fall under on-campus employment. For more information, click here.
- Know your grace period after completion
Students in F-1 status have a 60-day grace period following the end of the program of study or authorized post-completion OPT. You may use the grace period to depart the U.S., continue studies via Change of Level or Transfer, or apply for Post-Completion OPT.
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