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/J-1 students must check-in with ISSS. Check-in allows ISSS to:
F-1/J-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
For F-1 students:
For J-1 students:
Please see the Course Load Requirements section of our website for information on the limited circumstances in which an F-1/J-1 student may be registered for less than a full course load.
The program end date listed on your I-20/DS-2019 document determines the end date of your immigration status and the length of your stay in the U.S., not the visa page inside your passport.
On-campus employment is a benefit of F-1/J-1 status. F-1 students do not need to get permission from ISSS to work on campus (your paycheck is issued by Illinois State University). J-1 students are required to receive prior permission for all work from their International Advisor. There are limits to how many hours students can work on campus:
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/J-1 students must report any change in address, phone number, email address, or name within 10 days of the change.
Please report these changes by updating your My.IllinoisState.edu account with your new contact information. See detailed instructions.
Your I-20/DS-2019 is an important document that needs to be kept up-to-date.
You should keep your passport valid while you are studying in the U.S. Make sure you know the expiration date and begin the renewal process before it expires.
Contact the embassy or consulate of your home country in the U.S. for information on passport renewal processes.
You will need a valid travel signature on your I-20/DS-2019 from an ISSS advisor in order to re-enter the U.S. ISSS will also look over your immigration documents and check that your SEVIS record is in "Active" status.
Please see the Travel section of our website for further details.
While in the U.S., you are required to obey federal, state, and local laws. You are also bound by the ISU Code of Student Conduct
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, ISSS recommends you seek advice from an experienced immigration lawyer, as well as a criminal lawyer.
F-1 students must depart the U.S. within 60 days after the end date on their I-20 document or after completion of studies (whichever is sooner).
J-1 students must depart the U.S. within 30 days after the end date on their DS-2019 document or after completion of studies (whichever is sooner).
Students working on Optional Practical Training (OPT) must depart within 60 days after the end date listed on their EAD card.