Maintaining F-1 Status

International Students
Maintaining F-1 Status

Full Time Studies: You must enroll full time (12 credits Undergraduate, 9 credits Graduate) during the Spring and Fall semesters and complete all of the courses — pass or fail — every semester.  No more than 3 credits (1 course) of per semester are permitted to count towards your full-time requirement.  If you will not be able to enroll full-time for any reason, contact International Student Services immediately. Under certain circumstances, you may qualify for a reduced course load (RCL) of 6 credits, or fewer for an illness or certain special conditions.  A reduced course load based on academic difficulties may only be authorized for your first term during your program of study.  A reduced course load warranted by an illness or medical condition may be extended if there are serious circumstances necessitating such an extension, but this cannot exceed one year. You are required to resume a full course of study in the semester immediately following your RCL authorization (excluding summer). If you drop below full time,  or withdraw from classes without prior authorization from our office, you will be out of status and not be eligible for an “Authorized Reduced Course Load”. You must notify International Student Services BEFORE you reduce your course load. Please contact our office for more information.

Employment: All F-1 students maintaining status are permitted to work on-campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week (35-40 hours during vacation periods). Off-campus work is illegal unless you are authorized, in writing, by Dowling College and/or USCIS.

Report Significant Changes:You must report any significant changes in your information to International Student Services:  Name, Address, Financial Sponsorship, Change of Major, Change of Educational Level.  Address changes must be reported to International Student Services within 10 days.  Please contact our office for more information.

Keep Your Documentation Valid– READ YOUR I-20.  Pay special attention to the date it says that your program ends. NEVER let your I-20 expire. If the “Program End Date” on your I-20 is coming close, INFORM THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT OFFICE!!   Be sure to file for a program extension at least 60 days prior to the “program end date” listed on your I-20.

Your passport must be kept valid at all times. If it expires you must get it renewed at your local consulate in New York City or the embassy in Washington, Dowling College.

When you came to the U.S., your Visa was stamped with “D/S”  This means that it remains valid EVEN IF IT EXPIRES, as long as you maintain your status as a student and you stay in the United States (even if you travel around the country on holiday, or transfer to another college.). If you leave the U.S. and your Visa has expired, you will need to have it renewed to re-enter the US.  You will need to go to a U. S. consulate or embassy (usually in your home country) to have your Visa renewed. THE U. S. GOVERNMENT WILL NOT RENEW A VISA IF YOUR PASSPORT WILL EXPIRE IN LESS THAN 6 MONTHS. Please be sure to satisfy these requirements in a timely manner to avoid any problems in the future, your legal status may depend on it.

Transfers: If you wish to transfer to another school, you must tell us. Your SEVIS record has to be transferred with you. You must bring in a copy of your acceptance letter and a “Transfer Recommendation” form from the new school. You must begin studies at the transfer-in school within 5 months of the date we officially release your records.

Travel: All F-1 students must obtain a travel endorsement from International Student Services before leaving the U.S. I-20’s can only be endorsed for re-entry to the U.S. if you are eligible and intend to continue your studies at Dowling, or are employed through authorized practical training after completion of studies. If you have completed your program (even if you haven’t yet attended graduation) and have not obtained OPT employment, your I-20 cannot be endorsed for travel. Please contact International Student Services for an application so that we can help to ensure you won’t have any re-entry difficulties.

*If you fail to maintain legal F-1 status, Dowling College, by law, is obligated to report your actions to USCIS and your SEVIS record will be terminated. You must then either leave the United States or apply for re-instatement. If you terminate your course of study prior to completion and have properly notified our office, you will have a 15 day grace period to leave the U.S. If you do not request prior approval, there is no grace period and you must depart immediately. To be eligible for re-instatement, you must demonstrate that there were reasons beyond your control that caused you to fall out of status. While a re-instatement case is pending, you are permitted to attend classes, but all other F-1 benefits are suspended until you are re-instated.