International students have a responsibility to obey a special set of immigration laws while in the United States. In addition to these laws, international students must also abide by local, state, and federal laws and the University's Code of Student Conduct. Below are some of the more basic things that international students should do to make sure they maintain their F-1 status.
Academic Advisors are encouraged to download our Quick Guide to F-1 Students for reference when advising international students in F-1 status.
All new F-1 students must check-in with ISSS. Check-in allows ISSS to:
F-1 students must be registered for a full course of study every Fall and Spring semester:
There are specific limits for online courses that are stipulated by the regulations
Please see the Reducing Course Load section of our website for information on the limited circumstances in which an F-1 student may be registered for less than a full course load.
The program end date listed on your I-20 document determines the end date of your immigration status and the length of your stay in the US – NOT the visa page inside your passport.
On-campus employment is a benefit of F-1 status. You do not need to get permission from ISSS to work on campus (your paycheck is issued by Illinois State University). There are, however, limits to how many hours you can work:
Remember: The total hours of all your on-campus jobs cannot go over this limit.
All off-campus work MUST be related to your field of study and you MUST have prior authorization. Even if the internship/work experience is unpaid, you still need prior authorization.
Immigration regulations state that F-1 students must report any change in address or name within 10 days of the change.
Your I-20 is an important document that needs to be kept up-to-date.
You should keep your passport valid while you are studying in the US. Make sure you know the expiration date and begin the renewal process before it expires.
You will need a valid travel signature on your I-20 from an ISSS advisor in order to re-enter the US. ISSS will also look over your immigration documents and check that your SEVIS record is in “Active” status. Please see the Traveling section of our website for further details.
F-1 students must depart the US within 60 days after the end date on their I-20 document or after completion of studies (whichever is sooner). Students working on OPT must depart within 60 days after the end date listed on their EAD card.