Maintaining F-1 Status

It is extremely important for an International student attending school with an F-1 status to maintain his or her status while in the United States. Failure to maintain the terms and conditions of your nonimmigrant F-1 status is a ground for termination of F-1 status and possible removal from the United States (deportation).

Maintenance of status is primarily the responsibility of the student. Following is a quick reference guide to help clarify what steps should be taken to maintain F-1 status.

  • As soon as you arrive in the United States and are settled in with your living arrangements, you should report in person to the International Student Services office at the College. Students will not be able to complete the admission process (placement testing, advising, registration) until they have met with the Designated School Official (DSO).
  • For initial entry into the United States the name of the school on the students F-1 visa must match the name of the school on the students Form I-20.
  • If upon arrival in the United States you plan to transfer to a school other than Henry Ford College (the school listed on your Form I-20) you must report first to HFC’s International Student Services office and the DSO will provide the necessary paperwork required for transfer.
  • Pursue a full course of study, which is a minimum of 12 credits or 18-22 hours of instruction in HFC’s non-credit English Language Training program, during every academic session or semester except during official school breaks, unless approved under a specific exception, in advance, by the DSO.
  • If you feel you are unable to maintain full time status for any reason, consult first with the DSO before dropping any classes. Falling below the full time status for any reason other than approval from the DSO can render you out of status. For more information refer to the section on Reduced Course Load.
  • Do not stop attending classes without first consulting with a DSO in the International Student Services office. Only a DSO can grant permission for an F-1 student to drop a class. HFC Counselors and/or Advisors cannot grant permission to stop attending a class or to drop a class.
  • In addition to pursuing a full course of study, F-1 students are expected to make normal progress towards completing the course of study by completing studies before the expiration of the program completion date on the Form I-20.
  • Therefore, students are expected to successfully complete twelve credits each major semester with at least a 2.0 grade point average (GPA). Grades equal to E or U are not considered successful and will delay the student from completing their course of study on time. For more information refer to the section on Reduced Course Load.
  • Keep your Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for an extension of stay if your I-20 is reaching the date of completion.
  • Although a student is admitted to the United States for “duration of status” to complete an educational program, the student is expected to complete the program before the program end date (2 ½ years). A student who will not complete the academic program by that date must apply to the DSO for an extension before the program end date. The DSO will determine if the student is eligible for an extension.
  • Keep your Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures when changing educational levels or programs of study or reaching the program completion date.
  • A student desiring to change their program will do so by completing the Change of Program Form found on the Registration and Records web page. The DSO will update the student’s Form I-20. The student should pick up the new I-20 in the International Student Services office.
  • Report a change of address to the College within 10 days of the change. Change of Address should be done by the student through the student’s online account in WebAdvisor.
  • To transfer out of HFC to another school, an F-1 student must first notify a DSO at HFC of the intent to transfer, and then obtain a Form I-20 from the school to which he or she intends to transfer. Once HFC has released the student's SEVIS record, the student should follow procedures with the new school to complete the transfer process, and get the new I-20.
  • Abide by all F-1 grace periods
    • As an F-1 student you are allowed to be in the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date listed on Form I-20.
    • As an F-1 student you are allowed to remain in the U.S. for up to 60 days beyond the completion of the program of study.
    • As an F-1 student you are allowed to remain in the U.S. for up to 60 days beyond the completion date of any authorized post-completion optional training
    • An authorized early withdrawal by a DSO, will allow you to remain in the U.S. up to 15 days following the withdrawal noted in SEVIS and can only be used to prepare to depart the U.S.
  • Abide by rules requiring disclosure of information and prohibition on criminal activity.
  • F-1 students, like all other non-immigrants, are required to disclose fully and truthfully all information requested by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration bureaus, regardless of whether the information requested was material.
  • Students are also required to obey federal, state, and local laws.
  • Abide by any special requirements, such as Special Registration requirements
  • Not work, either on or off-campus, unless specifically authorized under the regulations. Please refer to the Employment Information web page for more information on F-1 employment.
  • Abide by the aggregate unemployment rules while on post-completion OPT. Please refer to the Employment Information web page for more information on Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  • A student should also keep his or her passport valid. For F non-immigrants, at the time of admission the passport must be valid for 6 months unless exempt from the passport requirement.
  • If the passport used is from a country with a passport validity agreement, the passport must be valid at least until the day of reentry.

In addition to maintaining your F-1 status, it is critical that you let the International Student Services office know if you have changed or adjusted your F-1 status to another visa status (such as legal permanent residency.)