Maintaining Status

How to maintain F-1 status

Do not let your I-20 expire, and be sure to get a travel signature before departing the United States. You will also need to get a new I-20 if you change your degree level, major, funding source, or the number of F-2 dependents you have. Timing can be critical for all of these changes, so start the process early.

The following require your immediate attention:

  • Degree level changes
  • Graduate major changes
  • I-20 expiration

Please call 812-855-9086 to make an appointment with an advisor to discuss your plans before you try to make these types of changes.

To stay in status, you need to enroll in a full load of classes each fall and spring semester. For undergraduate students, this means enrolling in at least 12 credit hours each semester. Most graduate students must enroll in at least 8 credit hours.

There are some limited exceptions to this rule.

Learn more about university enrollment


In almost all cases, you must receive authorization from either OIS or USCIS before you begin working.

Learn more about your employment options


You must update your address within 10 days of any move, even if it is only temporary.

Learn more about address updates


You must have a valid passport at all times. If your passport will expire while you are in the United States, you need to contact your embassy to find out how to renew it. Once you have your updated passport, you must provide OIS with a copy of the page showing your new passport expiration date.

You have a 60-day grace period following the completion of your program of study or Optional Practical Training (OPT). You can explore your options during this period. However, if you have not made other plans by the time it is over, you must depart the United States.

Different grace periods apply if you are dismissed from the university or withdraw from classes.

Description of the video:

Hi, my name's Lindsey. I'm an advisor in the Office of International Services. Today I'm going to talk about your passport. Your passport is an important immigration and identification document. It contains specific information such as the country that issued your passport, your name, your
date of birth, and the expiration date of your passport. It is required for you to have a valid passport for international travel and domestic travel within the United States. We advise you to keep your passport valid during your studies here in the US. If your passport will expire during your studies and you need to renew it, please contact your US embassy or consulate that's inside the United States for information on how to do that. If for some reason you are not able to renew your passport, please contact our office.

What happens if I do not maintain my status?

Falling out of status has serious consequences, but we may be able to help.

Learn how to avoid violations