Immigration Guidelines for F-1 Students

Report Address Changes within 10 days to the Office of Global Affairs

U.S. federal regulations require all F-1 students to report a change of address directly to the Office of Global Affairs within 10 days of the address change. The Office of Global Affairs is required to provide this and other student data to the federal government electronically.

Maintain a Full Course of Study Each Semester

U.S. federal regulations [8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)] require you to pursue a full course of study each fall and spring semester until graduation or transfer to a new school.

Obtain PRIOR Authorization from the Office of Global Affairs BEFORE Dropping Below a Full Course of Study

There are very limited exceptions to the full course of study rule. Those reasons include; academic difficulty, medical condition, or completion of study,a and three are strict criteria fro each. You must obtain PRIOR authorization from the office of Global Affairs. After obtaining this authorization, you may then drop the course(s).

Abide by the U.S. Federal Employment Regulations

F-1 students may work no more than 20 hours per week on campus when classes are in session [8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)]. These 20 hours include the work you do for an assistantship, if you have one. You cannot work off-campus (including credit-bearing internship off-campus) without PRIOR authorization from the Office of Global Affairs and the U.S. Federal Government. Opportunities for off-campus work are limited.

Report Changes in Programs to the Office of Global Affairs

Students must notify the Office of Global Affairs whenever there is changes in their academic program, program dates or level of study.

Bring Your SEVIS I-20 to the the office of Global Affairs Prior to Traveling Outside the United States

Students should bring their I-20 to the Office of Global Affairs priors to traveling outside the United States to see if an updated Office of Global Affairs advisor signature is required. if you will be traveling AND applying fro anew visa, you will also want to request official ECU transcripts, to verify you are a full-time student.

Notify the Office of Global Affairs of Any Accompanying Dependents or Dependents Who Will Join You Later

The Office of Global Affairs prepares visa documents for any dependents of F-1 students who will enter the United States on F-2 visas. Th e Office of Global Affairs is required to report biographical data on F-2 dependents to the U.S. Federal Government.

Ending Your Studies at ECU Unexpectedly? Report Your Departure Date and Reason to the Office of Global Affairs

Periodically, students leave the ECU early or unexpectedly due to a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include early graduation, leave of absence, withdrawal, or termination. U.S. Federal Regulations require F-1 students to inform the Office of Global Affairs if they plan to leave the ECU before the expiration date of their I-20 as well as the reason for doing so.

Apply for an Extension Prior to the I-20 Expiration Date

Students must apply for an extension BEFORE their I-20 expires if they intend to stay at ECU and cannot complete their program by the I-20’s expiration date. Requests for an extension may be submitted at any time up time up to thirty days prior to expiration date on the I-20. You will need to obtain an academic advisor’s recommendation for extension of stay and re-certify your finances.

Obtain Transfer Authorization Prior to leaving ECU

Students who plan to transfer to another college or university in the United States must inform the Office of Global Affairs of their final choice so that the Primary Designated School Official can perform the “transfer out” in SEVIS and designate the school to which you will transfer. Please follow these steps:

  1. Complete the Withdrawal from the University form online. You must inform the university you will be ceasing studies. This step is not necessary if you are graduating and transferring your record to another university to continue another degree.
  2. Complete the Transfer-Out form online and upload the required documents.

Your form and documents will be evaluated by the Primary Designated School Official. Once your transfer-out request is approved, your immigration record will be sent to the new institution. The new institution will send you a new Form I-20 with the same SEVIS ID. You do not need to pay the I-901 fee again. You should not destroy your Form I-20 from ECU, as you technically can be asked for this at any time.

Depart the U.S. within the 60 Day (F-1) Grace Period

Students in F-1 status must depart the United States within 60 days of the I-20 ending date OR their program end date, whichever is earlier. The exceptions to this rule include those who have applied for optional practical training, are transferring to new school, or have applied for a change of status with USCIS.