Office of International Affairs (OIA)
Information for the F-1 Student
Full course of study
Extension of program
Change of program/educational level
Transfer from one school to another
Change of Address
End of Program
Your I-94 card is the small white card (or the long card that looks somewhat
like a plane ticket) that you received upon arrival in the United States.
This card documents the date you entered the United States, in which status
you entered (F-1), and how long you may stay. In most cases, F-1 Students'
I-94 cards are stamped "D/S" or "duration of status";
in other words, as long as you maintain your non-immigrant status and have
a valid I-20, you may stay in the United States.
Duration of Status or D/S is the length of time for which individuals in F status are admitted to the United States. D/S allows you to stay in the United States as long as you are participating in the program described on your valid I-20 and otherwise complying with all immigration regulations required for maintenance of F-1 Student Status. D/S is not, however, an indefinite period of time. D/S is based on the date of your completion of program (completion date on your I-20) plus a 60-day grace period. If you find that you are not able to complete your academic program before the expiration date on your I-20, it may be possible to extend D/S by applying for a program extension at least 45 days before the expiration date on your current I-20.
The visa stamped in your passport allowed you to enter the United States. As long as you have a valid I-20, you may stay in the United States. Therefore, you only need to renew your visa if you are going to travel outside of the United States and return to the U. S. after the expiration date on the visa already in your passport. F-1 Student visas must be obtained at a U. S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the U. S. Your visa does not indicate how long you may remain in the United States.
To maintain F-1 student status, students must:
- Maintain a valid passport. To extend the validity of your passport, please contact your country's embassy. Links to Foreign consular offices in the United States can be found on the internet at http://www.state.gov/www/travel/consular_offices/fco_index.html
- Attend the school he or she is authorized to attend as stated on his or her Form I-20.
- Pursue a full course of study and make normal progress towards the completion of the full course of study. If you find for any reason that you are unable to be enrolled full-time in your course of study, please contact the Office of International Exchange Services (OIES) immediately.
- Only up to 3 online credits may count toward fulfilling the full-time F-1 status. Remaining credits must require physical presence for the course.
- If necessary, apply for extension of program before the expiration date on the current I-20. Extension of program can only be granted under certain circumstances, so please contact OIES if you encounter any difficulties in your academic program.
- Follow USCIS procedures for changing from one program or educational level to another (e.g., from M.S. degree to Ph.D. degree). If at any time you decide that you would like to change your field of study or change your academic level of study, you must visit OIES before you make any changes.
- Follow USCIS procedures for transferring from one school to another. If at any time you decide that you would like to transfer to another institution, change your field of study, or change academic level of study, you must visit OIES before you make any changes.
- Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours a week while school is in session. Full time on-campus employment is permitted during appropriate university vacation periods as long as the student was enrolled full-time the term before and intends to be full-time the following term. You must contact OIES for approval of any on-campus employment. Do not accept any unauthorized employment.
- Refrain from off-campus employment without authorization.In the event of economic hardship or interest in part-time practical training, please contact OIES immediately to discuss appropriate options. Do not accept any unauthorized employment.
- Report a change of address to OIES and USCIS within 10 days of the change. Please use form AR-11 to report your change of address to DHS. This form can be found at OIES or submitted online at the USCIS website at https://egov.uscis.gov/crisgwi/go?action=coa
If you plan to travel outside of the United States during your F-1 program, two weeks before you leave you must visit OIES with your passport and your I-20 so we can prepare your documents for travel and give you any necessary information regarding your return to the United States. It may be a good idea to contact OIES before you make your travel plans, so that we can provide you with any information you may need to make your travel decisions.
All F-1 Students and any family members accompanying in F-2 status are required by Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Medical College to be covered by adequate health insurance. This health insurance must provide for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. Brochures for appropriate health insurance policies are available at OIES.
If you are interested in more information about any period of Optional Practical Training that may be available to you at the completion of your studies, please contact OIES at the beginning of your final semester at Jefferson so we can review your program and advise. If you will be leaving the United States at the end of your academic program, please visit OIES at least one week before you end your program and return to your home country.
Always keep any I-20 you ever receive in your lifetime, because this document helps to show that you legally maintained your F-1 status.