Most international students at Concordia have I-20 forms and F-1 student status, and the information here can help you understand and maintain your student status. A few students have a DS-2019 and J-1 status; these students should receive information directly from their sponsoring organization about maintaining J status.
F-1 status is granted to students entering the US to attend colleges, universities, and other academic schools. Rather than have a specific end date, it is usually granted for the period D/S (this should be written/stamped in your passport and on your I-20). D/S means Duration of Status, which means as long as you follow the student regulations and maintain your student status you may remain in the US. If you fail to maintain status, you lose your legal authority to be in the country and are required to leave. Concordia can assist you by providing information and keeping the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a government database of international students, updated with your changes to help you properly maintain your F-1 status.
Here are the most common steps related to maintenance of F-1 status:
Enroll Full Time
You should be registered for a full load of classes (at least 12 Concordia semester hour credits each semester). In certain circumstances, such as academic difficulty when you first arrive, a medical condition or in your last semester permission can be granted for a student to have a reduced course load (usually at least 6 registered semester hour credits). Before dropping below 12 semester hour credits, you should discuss your situation with Susanna and obtain permission.
Change of Address
You should report your U.S. physical address when you first arrive, and please notify Susanna of any change in address within 10 days. Even if you change rooms within the same residence hall, you should report this change of address. In addition, you must keep us notified of your address in your home country and any changes to it.
Change of Major
If you change your major or minor, or add a major or minor, you should notify Susanna of this change.
You are allowed to work on campus, up to 20 hours per week, while school is in session. There is no DHS limitation on the number of hours per week you can work on campus during breaks, but your campus employer may have policies regarding hours worked.
Please let us know if you wish to transfer to another school.
Extending your Graduation Date
If it will take you longer than the time indicated on your I-20 to graduate, this change must be noted in SEVIS before the end date listed on your I-20. You are responsible to monitor your program completion date and graduation date.
Keep a Valid Passport
You should keep a valid passport at all times, unless exempt from the passport requirement. If you lose your passport or your passport will expire, please apply to your embassy for a replacement.
Always ensure that you have a current signature on page 3 of your I-20 before traveling out of US if you will return to Concordia for your studies. We recommend that the signature be within six months. This signature indicates you are maintaining valid F-1 status.
Leaving and Re-entering the United States
If you wish to leave and re-enter the United States, you should have these documents at the time you re-enter:
- Valid passport
- Valid F-1 visa. If your current visa is expired you will need to obtain a new visa while outside the US. Most visa renewals for students are going quite well these days, but please remember it can be a lengthy and difficult process, and the outcome is never certain. In most cases, you will need to obtain your visa in your home country.
- Properly endorsed I-20 form with a signature on page 3 within the past six months
Disclosure of Convictions
You should abide by rules prohibiting criminal activities and requiring disclosure of criminal convictions. Please do not engage in any criminal activities, and please contact us if you have been convicted of a crime.