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The dos and don’ts of maintaining your student visa status

On Behalf of | May 8, 2024 | Immigration Law

The F-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa specifically designed for those pursuing academic, language or vocational programs. This visa permits individuals from all over the globe to study at any U.S. college or university. As international students, they must follow certain rules and guidelines during their stay. If they don’t, they risk losing their visa and having to leave the States immediately.

Here’s why that might happen and how students can prevent it.

Do maintain full-time enrollment

Full-time enrollment at the admitting school or university is a crucial requirement for keeping the F-1 student visa status. For undergraduates, this usually means taking at least 12 credit hours per semester. However, the number of required credits can vary by program for graduate students.

Regardless, both should retain their full-time enrollment status. They can do so by regularly checking their enrollment status and maintaining enough course loads. It can also help to talk to student advisors before dropping any classes.

Do follow employment restrictions

The F-1 visa permits on-campus employment. While studying, students can work up to 20 hours per week. But, during school breaks, they can work full-time. Off-campus employment in the first academic year is generally not permitted. This means students can seek authorization for off-campus work only after completing their first year of college.

It’s important to note that unauthorized work or working for too many hours breaches F-1 visa conditions, which could lead to visa revocation.

Don’t incur criminal charges

All international students must abide by federal, state and local laws, regardless of where they reside in the U.S. Law-breakers risk visa revocation, a severe consequence that could disrupt their studies. Individuals who find themselves facing criminal charges should consider seeking an attorney. An attorney can protect their rights during any following legal proceedings.

International students fly to the U.S. with hopes of achieving their academic goals. A key part of realizing these goals is maintaining visa status and following all visa conditions. This journey can continue smoothly if students stay vigilant about their responsibilities and avoid unnecessary interruptions.

However, some may encounter challenges along the way. Those in these situations should consult a legal professional to know how to address them.