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Maintaining Legal Status

Maintaining status means you are enrolled full-time and following all the regulations associated with your F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status. Failure to maintain your status can lead to termination of your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 record and loss of your student visa and benefits. To maintain your F-1 or J-1 status, you need to follow these rules:

Report to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services upon your arrival

New international students are required to check in or report to Office of International Student and Scholar Services with their immigration documents as soon as they arrive. You can check in during the mandatory International Student Orientation or on your own at the Office of International Student and Scholar Services within two weeks after classes begin. Bring the following documents and information when reporting to OISSS:

  • Form I-20/DS-2019
  • Passport/Visa
  • I-94, Arrival and Departure Record. Click here to retrieve your I-94 from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website. Ensure that your record shows you were admitted in F-1 or J-1 status.
  • Address and Contact Information.

If you have dependents bring their documents as well.

Enroll full-time

Register full-time in the Fall and Spring semesters. Registration in the Summer is optional, except if you begin your program of studies in the Summer semester you will be required to register as a full-time student in the summer as well. Full-time enrollment at EKU is as follows:

  • Undergraduate Students: Minimum of 12 credit hours per semester
  • Graduate Students: Minimum of 9 credit hours per semester

Maintain a valid I-20/DS-2019 at all times

Do not let your I-20/DS-2019 expire. Always be aware of the I-20/DS-2019 expiration date. Apply for an extension if you cannot complete your program of studies by the end date listed on item 5 of your I-20 and item 3 of your DS-2019. You should apply for a program extension at least 60 days before the expiration date of your current I-20/DS-2019. Failure to do so will result in loss of your status. You can request an extension using the Program Extension Form.

Apply for a new I-20/DS-2019 to report changes to your record

Apply for a new I-20/DS-2019 at least 60 days before the completion of your current program or expiration of your current I-20/DS-2019 if:

  • You are changing your major or degree level
  • You are changing your funding source
  • You are reporting change in your name
  • You are adding a dependent

Report change of address

Report any change of address within 10 days to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services. To report the change, complete the Change of Address Form. The address provided by the student must be the actual physical location where the student resides rather than a mailing address (No P.O. Boxes).

OISSS will enter your local address information in SEVIS.

Report change in legal name

A student must report to OISSS any legal changes in his or her name within 10 days of the change. The changes will be reported in SEVIS and a new I-20 or DS-2019 will be issued to the student. Please contact OISSS for name change reporting procedure.

Keep your passport valid at all times

Your passport and those of your dependents must be valid at all times during your stay in the United States. Contact your embassy in the U.S. at least 6 months prior to the expiration date of your current passport to renew it. Click here to locate contact information of your country’s embassy in the United States.

Get proper employment permission

Off-campus employment: Do not work off-campus without permission! Any employment off-campus must be authorized in advance and in accordance with immigration regulations either by an International Student Advisor from OISSS or by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is considered a serious violation of your visa status to work off-campus without authorization.

On-campus employment: Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours a week. Although on-campus employment does not require special authorization, it is only limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session during the fall and spring semesters. On-campus employment may be more than 20 hours per week during the summer and official school breaks.

Request approval before you drop below full-time or withdraw from EKU

If you feel you are unable to enroll full-time for any reason, contact OISSS first before dropping any classes. Do not stop attending classes without first consulting the Office of International Student and Scholar Services. An advisor from OISSS is the only person who can grant you permission to drop a class.

And if for some reason you must withdraw from your program at EKU, you are required to get approval from OISSS before doing so. Dropping below the full-time status or withdrawing from EKU without approval from OISSS can lead to you being out of status.

Make normal progress towards completing your program of study

Making normal progress means, maintaining passing grades and earning at least two-third or 67% of the credit hours they attempt each semester.

Undergraduate students are expected to successfully complete twelve (12) credit hours each Fall and Spring semester with passing grades and maintain a cumulative minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher. Graduate students on the other hand are expected to successfully complete nine (9) credit hours each Fall and Spring semester with passing grades and maintain a cumulative minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.

Failure to maintain normal academic progress may result in the termination of your SEVIS record.

Get a travel endorsement/signature before you travel outside the United States

Before you travel outside the United States, make sure you bring your I-20 or DS-2019 to OISSS to get a travel endorsement from one of our advisors. Please note, this endorsement is a signature on the second page of your I-20 or the first page of your DS-2019, usually valid for 12 months while you are still a student.

Do not exceed your authorized period of stay in the United States

Your authorized period of stay ends when you complete your program of study or when you stop being a full-time student, even if your I-20 or DS-2019 has not expired.

When you complete your program of study, you are allowed to remain legally in the U.S. for an additional period of:

  • 60 days beyond the completion of your program of study or beyond the completion date of any post-completion optional training (OPT) if you are an F-1 student or
  • 30 days beyond the completion of your program of study or beyond the completion date of any academic training (AT) if you are a J-1 student.

When you withdraw from your program of study, you are only allowed to remain legally in the U.S. for an additional period of:

  • 15 days for authorized withdrawal
  • 0 days for unauthorized withdrawal

When you are dismissed from the University you will have:

  • 15 days to leave the United States, if you report this prior to your dismissal.
  •  If you do not report this to OISSS, your status ends immediately.