Maintaining Legal F-1 Status: Student Responsibilities
- Maintain a valid passport all times;
- Attend the school the student was authorized to attend;
- Be in good academic standing and make progress towards an academic program;
- Maintain a full course of study (minimum of 12 credit hours for undergraduate students; minimum of 9 credit hours for graduate students);
- Apply for extension of stay before expiration of present I-20;
- Follow proper procedures to continue in F-1 status from one educational level to another;
- Follow proper procedures to transfer to another school;
- Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours or less per week while school is in session;
- Refrain from off-campus employment, including paid or unpaid internships, without proper authorization from the Designated School Office in International Student and Scholar Services and/or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
- Report a change of address to the Designated School Official in International Student and Scholar Services within 10 days of any move.
Full Course of Study
All students studying on an F-1 Visa must be enrolled full-time throughout their course of study. Full-time for undergraduate students at University of Lynchburg is considered 12 credit hours, and full-time for graduate students is considered 9 credit hours. Students must enroll full-time during their first semester at University of Lynchburg (summer, fall, or spring), and full-time enrollment must be maintained during subsequent fall and spring semesters. Failure to maintain a full course of study will result a termination of your immigration status.
Exception to a Full Course of Study
Immigration regulations dictate that a Reduced Course Load (RCL) must be authorized by International Student and Scholar Services prior to dropping below full-time status. SEVIS limits the reasons for the ‘RCL’ and the duration of a RCL. If you have a medical condition that limits your ability to attend class, you must submit the college’s Leave of Absence form and medical documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist. If you have an academic concern or this is your final semester, please see your academic advisor to discuss your circumstance that might qualify you for the RCL and complete the RCL form.
The following may be legitimate reasons for a reduced course load:
- Illness or medical condition
- Initial difficulty with English language
- Initial difficulty with reading requirements
- Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
- Improper course level placement
- To complete course of study in current term
- Part time border commuter student
To request a Reduced Course Load (RCL) submit the completed Reduced Course Load Form and return it to the Center for Global Education along with documentation verifying your circumstances. Permission to drop below full-time must be approved in SEVIS first, then classes may be dropped at the Registrar’s Office if your request is granted.
Students studying on an F-1 visa are only allowed to count 1 online course per semester toward their full-time status. If you have questions about this, please contact the International Student Advisor for guidance and clarification.
For immigration purposes, transferring schools occurs anytime a student moves from one school to another, even if the program or degree does not change. In short, you can be a “transfer student” if you are going from high school to college, or changing from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s program, or if you are transferring between schools in the middle of a particular degree program.
Transferring to University of Lynchburg
Students in F-1 status who would like to transfer to University of Lynchburg must first be accepted to the college through the application process in the admissions office. In addition to the application, students must complete the University of Lynchburg Transfer Eligibility Form. The following information will be helpful as you work with your current DSO to initiate the transfer process:
- After you are accepted to University of Lynchburg, contact your current Designated School Official (DSO) or International Student Advisor to inform him/her of your plan to transfer.
- Take a copy of your acceptance letter with you as the DSO will need a copy of this for your file.
- Complete the Student Information Section and then have your DSO complete the second half. Return the completed form to the Center for Global Education at University of Lynchburg.
- Discuss with your DSO your transfer release date so that your SEVIS record will be released from your current school and transferred to University of Lynchburg. The release date is usually the last day of your session at your current school.
- Once all admissions documents and your deposit have been received and the release date has arrived, University of Lynchburg can issue you a new Form I-20. Your new University of Lynchburg I-20 will be sent to the address you provide.
Transferring out of University of Lynchburg
If you plan to transfer out of University of Lynchburg, you must notify the DSO of your plan to transfer. Additionally, keep in mind the following information:
- Contact your new school and ask about their transfer in procedures. They may have a form that you and the DSO must complete.
- When you have finalized your decision to transfer out, you must submit the Transfer Out Form and a copy of the acceptance letter to your new school.
- In conversation with the DSO, determine a transfer out date; the release date is usually the last day of the current academic term.
- Notify your new school’s DSO of the determined release date. Once that date is reached, the new school can issue you a new Form I-20.