Maintaining F-1 Status

The 4 Basics of Maintaining F-1 Status:

  • Complete a minimum of 12 units in fall and 12 units in spring
  • Make academic degree progress towards your major
  • NO unauthorized employment
  • Report to the ISC any changes in your name, address, telephone, major, dependents, and/or graduation date.


  • Passport must be valid at all times while you are residing in the U.S. You may renew your passport at a Consulate in California
  • Keep original immigration documents (passport, visa, I-20, I-94) in a safe, secure place.

How is my F-1 visa different from my F-1 status?

There is often confusion over the difference between visa and status. In many countries, a visa is directly tied to the immigration status. In the U.S., the visa simply allows a foreign national to apply for admission in the U.S. at a U.S. port of entry. The officer at the port of entry grants the legal status through endorsing the I-94 arrival/departure record.

This endorsement and granting of status is done each time an individual enters the U.S. Thus it is essential that each time you travel and re-enter the U.S. you are prepared to document your legal F-1 status. You should also carefully review the I-94 for accuracy at the port of entry (be certain the port grants the correct legal status

Be sure to verify your I-94 information and let us know if it is incorrect. You may access your information at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website