F-1 Immigration Regulations - What You Need To Know

How To Maintain Legal Status

It is the responsibility of each student to be familiar with the immigration requirements related to their status. Following the guidelines below will help you to avoid many unnecessary problems.

1) Keep your passport valid at all times.  Contact your home country's embassy in the U.S. for information about renewing your passport validity.

2) Keep your local residential address updated.  Inform ISSO and your department within 10 days of any change of your residential address.

3) Maintain full-time enrollment.  You must be a full-time student each semester (link to the definition of full-time student), except as allowed by pre-authorized permission of ISSO.

4) Obtain ISSO approval if withdrawing from your program.  If you must withdraw or drop below full-time, you are required to have approval from ISSO before doing so.

5) Keep your I-20/DS-2019 valid and accurate at all times.  You must have a current, valid I-20/DS-2019 from the school you are attending. If you transfer from another school to UCSF the transfer process must be completed before the semester begins. Submit an application for Extension of Program if the completion date on your I-20/DS-2019 will expire within the next 30 days and you need more time to complete your program of study.

6) Get a travel endorsement.  Before your departure from the U.S., request a signature for re-entry from your International Student Adviser at ISSO. The Adviser will sign page 3 of the I-20 or the bottom right box of the DS-2019 for this purpose. The signature is valid for one year.

7) Do not engage in unauthorized employment!   F-1 Students: On-campus employment — Limit employment to 20 hours per week during the academic year. Employment on-campus may be full-time in the summer and vacation periods. No special work permit is required. Off-campus employment — Do not work off-campus without permission. Work permission for F-1 students must be approved through ISSO and the USCIS. J-1 students: Exchange visitors must obtain written approval from their program sponsor before beginning any type of employment. Authorization is employer-specific; if you change jobs, you must obtain new authorization. Changes include position, hiring unit, and number of hours per week.