Maintaining your F-1 Status

Important Note: This information is not exhaustive and is subject to change without notice. You should contact ISS to discuss any questions or concerns regarding your legal status in the United States.


Review all of your immigration documents to ensure their consistency and accuracy. Your full name, birth date, and other personal data must be consistent across all documents.

Maintain a valid passport at all times. Make sure it is valid for at least 6 months into the future.

Keep your Form I-20, I-94 printout, passport, and visa in a safe place.

Never destroy or throw out old immigration documents (e.g., I-20s, receipt notices).

Full-Time Enrollment

F-1 students must:

  • Maintain full-time enrollment
  • Make normal academic progress toward completion of their degree program
  • Enroll in a minimum of 3 College of Wooster course credits per term

Individuals who drop below a full-time course of study without prior authorization will be considered “out of status”.

Note #1: The course load requirements for maintaining legal status are not the same as the College’s requirement for maintaining expected academic progress. Speak with your adviser regarding Wooster’s course load requirements.

Note #2: In the final semester of study, F-1 students are permitted to enroll in a reduced course of study if they need fewer than 3 credits to complete their degree program.

Failure to maintain full-time enrollment during your program will result in severe consequences for your F-1 status.

Declaring a Major

F-1 students must obtain a new I-20 when you declare or change your academic major. Contact ISS to set up an appointment.

Program Dates

You must comply with the program dates (start date and completion date) listed on your I-20.

If you will not complete your program on the listed completion date, you must formally shorten your stay or apply for an extension of your program of study. Any extension must be made prior to the expiration date on your current I-20.

Requests for extensions, along with all supporting financial and academic documents, should be submitted 30-60 days prior to the expiration date of the I-20.

Address Reporting

Report any change of your foreign or U.S. address and/or your official name in writing directly to ISS within 10 days of the change. Email is sufficient for an address change, but a name change requires official documentation.

Material on this website is general and for informational purposes only. It does not constitute or replace professional legal advice, and you should not rely on it solely when making decisions about your immigration status or reporting requirements.