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Returning Students

Maintaining F-1 Student Status: Things You Need to Remember

  • Passports must be valid for at least six months into the future. (Renew your passport at least six months prior to the passport expiration date.)
  • You must attend the school that issued you the visa document (I-20 or DS-2019, formerly IAP-66).
  • You must carry a full course load throughout the academic year, except during summer break, and maintain satisfactory academic progress. (A full course load is 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and 6 credit hours for graduate students).
  • Always consult the Office of International Student Services (OISS) before dropping your course load to part-time or withdrawing from all your courses. If not, you jeopardize your LEGAL status.
  • If you change your major or your degree level, you must contact the Office of International Student Services at 718-289-5921.
  • You may not work off campus without permission from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Visit OISS for more information.
  • You may work on campus up to 20 hours per week. (You will need to come to OISS for a work authorization form).
  • If you move, you must give OISS the new address within 10 days of your move.
  • If you are travelling outside the United States, be sure to have a valid passport, visa and I-20 when you re-enter.
  • When travelling outside the United States, if you are in the process of transferring out from BCC, make sure you use BCC I-20 to re-enter.

Keeping Your Address Current with BCC and Immigration
Keep your address current with BCC and Immigration. Submit form AR-11 within 10 days of your change of address. Special registrants use form AR-11 SR. It is a good idea to keep a copy of the form, or get a receipt from the post office, when mailing. Also, update your address with the Registrar’s Office in Colston Hall.

Find Form AR-11 (Change of Address) here.

Find Form AR-11 SR (Alien’s Change of Address Card) here.

Additional forms and instructions are available on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website (www.uscis.gov).

Duration of Status
This allows an F-1 student who is pursuing a full course of study to complete any educational level (or series of educational programs) and any practical training, and also have 60 days either to depart from the U.S. or apply for a change of visa status. Students who find that they are unable to complete their studies in the amount of time noted on the I-20 are required to obtain a new I-20 with a new date of completion noted.

To do this, you must report to the Office of International Student Services at least 30 days BEFORE the date of completion on your I-20; you will be required to submit documentation of financial support. To gain a program extension, students must show satisfactory progress toward the degree. Unacceptable reasons for extending one's program include suspension or not maintaining full-time status.

Extension of Stay
Request an extension of stay at least 30 days before the expiration date on your I-20 if your studies will not be completed within the allotted period of time. Locate the specific date on your I-20. OISS may not grant an extension if the student did not apply for an extension until after the program end date noted on the SEVIS I-20AB
.
Click here for the application to extend/change nonimmigrant status.

Additional forms and instructions are available on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website (www.uscis.gov)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services define curricular practical training as "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school." The regulations state that curricular practical training must be "an integral part of an established curriculum."

Find the regulations pertaining to “Curricular Practical Training” on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website by clicking here.

Contact the Office of International Student Services at 718.289.5921 for more information.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is legal F-1 employment authorization, which enables you to gain professional work experience in your field of study before or after completion of studies. OPT must be both recommended by the International Student Advisor and authorized by the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before you may begin working or re-enter the U.S. from another country after graduating.

Click here for the application for employment authorization.

Additional forms and instructions are available on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website (www.uscis.gov).

Economic Hardship Employment
A student may be authorized for off-campus employment under the following circumstances:

  • Severe, unforeseen economic necessity
  • Internship with an international organization
  • Employment based on the Special Student Relief program

The forms for off-campus employment must be recommended to SEVIS by the designated school official (DSO), and adjudicated and approved by USCIS, which issues an employment authorization document (EAD) card evidencing the employment authorization. A student cannot begin the off-campus employment until he or she receives the EAD from USCIS.

Click here for the application for employment authorization.

Additional forms and instructions are available on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website (www.uscis.gov).

Change of Status
The Office of International Student Services is happy to help you with applying to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a change of your nonimmigrant status to F-1 student. Your international student advisor is available to advise you about if changing your status is the right thing for you, and about USCIS requirements and procedures.

Click here for the application to extend/change nonimmigrant status.

Additional forms and instructions are available on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website (www.uscis.gov).

 Reinstatement
A student who has failed to maintain status may be reinstated to lawful F-1 status at the discretion of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), but only under limited conditions.

Click here for the application to extend/change nonimmigrant status.

Additional forms and instructions are available on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website (www.uscis.gov).

SEVIS Fee
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has published the final rule regarding the SEVIS fee. This fee has been mandated by Congress to cover the cost associated with the continued operation of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Funds raised from the fee will be used to administer and maintain the SEVIS database, support compliance activities, and establish liaison personnel to serve as local resources for schools and students
.
Find out more about SEVIS and its fees by visiting www.ice.gov/sevis.

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