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Maintaining Status

Maintaining Student Status

International students are required to maintain their legal status all the time. You must:

  • Keep your I-20 or DS-2019 valid. Do not let it expire.
  • Keep your Passport valid.
  • Inform your immigration advisor of any changes in program, or degree or local address.
  • Maintain full-time enrollment.
  • Do not work without proper authorization.
When in doubt, email questions to  or

Please select the appropriate form or document below that you wish to complete online.

Note: If you have already started a specific online form, do not start a new one. Please go to your User Home Page to continue working on your online form.

F-1 students are required to be familiar with the information on their I-20 and make sure that the I-20 is valid for the duration of your program. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires that you finish your program of study by the end date on your I-20. The end date on the I-20 is established by the admissions office to reflect the average length of time it should take a student to complete the degree requirements. If, during the course of your studies it becomes necessary to extend your I-20, you must make request for I-20 extension before the end date on your I-20. You must have maintained your immigration status to become eligible for extension. You must also provide a copy of recent financial document showing the required balance to complete your studies.

Any International Student who needs to leave the US to return home for any reason, but cannot finish the semester will need to have their SEVIS I-20/DS-2019 record terminated for Authorized Early Withdrawal.  This termination is not because of a violation, it is to notify the US government the student has permission to leave the US early to return home. Until the termination is authorized in the government database by an international advisor in the International House & Programs Office, the student must maintain proper F-1/J-1 status (attending class, staying registered, etc…) Once the international advisor approves the termination, the student must leave the US within 15 days from the date of termination.
If a student wants to return home in the summer, the student does not need to be terminated for Authorized Early Withdrawal as long as they have been in their current F-1/J-1 status for one academic year prior to the summer term.
Failure to follow the above rules will result in the student being terminated for a violation of status which can affect their ability to return to the US.

If you are planning to transfer out to another institution in the United States, you must make sure to request that your SEVIS ID number is released to that institution. It is important that you maintain the same SEVIS ID number while you are pursuing your degree in United States.

If you are planning pursue a higher degree program such as masters degree program at JSU right after completing your bachelor degree program or your OPT, you need to request update on your current I-20 before the end date listed on your current I-20 or end date on your OPT (EAD) card.