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:
- 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 4 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.
- Notify the Center for Global Education regarding any changes in your academic program, eg., change in 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.
- If a personal/medical leave of absence becomes necessary, you must be in contact with the International Student Advisor and/or Dean 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.
Students may travel outside the United States and re-enter with a new I-20 issued by the Center for Global Education. Re-entry to the US after a status violation is viewed as a new entry in F-1 status. As such, students would be bound by the restrictions placed on new F-1 students such as a 9-month waiting period for benefits such as Optional Practical Training (OPT).