Maintaining Your Status

International students are required to maintain F-1 status at all times during their program of study in the United States. Failure to maintain F-1 status constitutes a violation of US immigration law and serious consequences may follow. Compliance with this regulation requires the following:

  • Your I-20 is what allows you to remain in the United States, but you need a valid visa to enter. Make sure to know when your visa will expire if you are outside of the country.
  • Keep all immigration documents in a safe place – if you lose these documents it may hinder your participation in Optional Practical Training (OPT) at a later date.
  • Report to the Center for Global Education within 15 days of arrival as a new student.
  • Register for a full course of study each semester. You must be enrolled in at least 3 courses to be considered a full-time student.
  • Report to the Center for Global Education within the first 10 days of the semester if you need to be enrolled in less than a full course of study.
  • Refrain from off-campus employment without authorization from the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services.
  • Inform the Center for Global Education if your I-20 form is about to expire and you need at least one more semester to complete your program of study. You must inform the Center BEFORE your I-20 expires.
  • Request an updated I-20 whenever you add, change or drop a major.
  • File your income taxes each year before the April deadline. This is particularly important if you are employed during the previous year or if you have received a scholarship from Wheaton College. Please visit the page on taxes.
  • If a personal/medical leave of absence becomes necessary, you must be in contact with the International Student Advisor before you begin to finalize the leave process.
  • Keep all I-20’s even after graduation and you have returned home.

Reinstatement of Student Status

Reinstatement is required when the student has violated F-1 immigration status, including less than full-time enrollment or unauthorized employment.

Please visit with the International Student Advisor to determine the procedure for seeking reinstatement.