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Immigration

Maintaining your status and SEVIS

Compliance with U.S. Immigration Laws & Regulations:

The Role & Responsibility of the International Student/Scholar

The new regulations of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) (formerly the Immigration & Naturalization Service/INS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) implementing the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) have been finalized.  It is the responsibility of F-1 and J-1 international students and scholars to maintain their legal status in the United States by complying with the following:

  • You must maintain a valid passport at all times, unless exempt from passport requirements.
  • You must attend the college/university whose I-20 you used to enter the United States, except if you have completed a transfer to a new school.
  • You must see an ISFS advisor to request a “release” before transferring to another school.
  • You must complete a full course of study during normal enrollment periods (Fall, Winter and Spring quarters).  If you will not be enrolled full-time (9 credits for graduate students; 12 credits for undergraduate students), you must receive permission from an advisor in the ISFS in advance.  You and your academic advisor must complete the “Reduced Credit Letter” form and submit it to ISFS and have it approved prior to registering for less than a full course load or prior to dropping below a full course load.
  • You must register for classes each quarter by the date that is indicated on the Ohio University Academic Calendar as the “last day to register”.  This date is approximately 2 weeks after the first day of classes each quarter.  If you do not register by this date, you could be reported as “out of status” on SEVIS.  If you cannot register on time, you will need to meet with an ISFS advisor.
  • You must receive permission from an ISFS advisor in advance in order to withdraw from all of your classes at Ohio University.
  • You must receive permission from an ISFS advisor in advance in order to take a medical leave from school.
  • You must obtain a new I-20 or DS-2019 form before changing your academic program from one degree level to another (e.g. from Bachelor’s to Master’s level) or one major/field of study to another (e.g. from Electrical Engineering to Computer Science).  You must receive permission from an ISFS advisor in advance.
  • You must apply for an extension of your program of study prior to the expiration date on your   I-20 or DS-2019 if you cannot complete your program by that date.  Requests for extensions should be submitted at the beginning of the quarter that your I-20 or DS-2019 will expire so that the extension process can be completed before the expiration date on the document.
  • You must notify ISFS prior to traveling outside the U.S. so your Form I-20 or DS-2019 can be endorsed for travel or a new form can be issued, if required.  Students and scholars must complete the travel signature request form at least 2 weeks prior to their anticipated travel date, although you are strongly encouraged to submit the form even earlier.
  • You must notify ISFS of your dependents and provide biographical information and immigration information regarding those dependents.  ISFS is required to report information to USCIS and DOS regarding your dependents.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  This information is not exhaustive and is subject to change without notice.  International students and scholars should contact the Office if International Student & Faculty Services at 593-4330 to arrange an appointment to discuss any questions or concerns related to legal status in the United States.

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International Student & Faculty Services
Walter International Education Center/15 Park Place
Athens, OH 45701
Tel: 740.593.4330 | Fax: 740.593.4328 |Email: isfs@ohio.edu
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