While studying in the United States, F-1 students must:

  • Attend all classes and maintain normal academic progress
    • If school seems too difficult, speak with ISS and your faculty advisor immediately.
  • Maintain a full-course of study each term (i.e. take at least 12 credits in the Fall/Spring terms and 3 credits in Centre Term)
    • If you cannot study full-time, contact ISS immediately to help determine if you are eligible for a reduced course load (RCL) in qualifying circumstances such as medical condition or illness.
  • Keep all documents safe and up-to-date (see below for more details)
  • Accept and engage in employment opportunities only as authorized (see Employment & Taxes for more details)
  • Follow appropriate transfer, extension, or change of program/status regulations
    • If you will not graduate on time, will transfer to another school, will change your education level (i.e. go on to a US graduate school) or will change from/to another visa status, please contact ISS as soon as possible.


Keeping your documents safe and up-to-date

Form I-20

Your printed I-20 and/or your online SEVIS record need to be updated for any or all of the follow events:

  • Change your major
    • At Centre, most students will declare their major(s)/minor(s) toward the end of the sophomore (second) year. Changes after that must also be updated promptly.
  • Transfer to a new school
    • This includes the situation when you will graduate from Centre and then begin graduate studies at another US college/university or when you might switch to another institution to complete a 3+2 dual degree program
  • Take a personal leave of absence
  • Take a medically necessary break from school
  • Study abroad / away**
  • Work in an OFF-campus, paid or unpaid, internship within the US
  • Travel outside the US**
  • Move to a new address or change your phone number/personal email
    • ISS does not need an address correction for the short winter break in December, but it is recommended to keep your physical and mailing address updated for the longer summer break, particularly if you remain in the US
  • Request a program extension if you will not graduate within four years

**Travel Endorsement: You will need to have the Travel Endorsement on page 2 of your I-20 signed by someone in the ISS office if you will depart and later re-enter the US. This signature is valid for one year.


Your passport should always be valid at least 6 months into the future.

If your passport is expiring soon, let ISS know, and contact your country’s embassy or consulate in the US to learn the renewal or extension procedure. The process and time it takes are different for each country.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you will need to file a police report to detail the incident. It may take a few business days for the police department to issue the report, but you will use that document to request a passport replacement with your country’s embassy or consulate in the US. Make sure you hold onto a copy of the police report in case you need to apply for a replacement or renewal of your F-1 visa.


As important as your passport and I-20 are, so too is the I-94. The admission number / record as indicated on your I-94 is your lawful record of admission or proof of legal visitor status in the US. It shows a limited travel history going back 10 years of your US arrivals and departures.

Every time you enter the US, you should look up and print out your I-94 shortly afterwards. You may need to allow 5~10 business days for US Customs and Borders Protection to update their systems records.

How to access your I-94 online:

  1. Visit https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/
  2. Click on “Get Most Recent I-94” near the top
  3. After reading the Terms of Service, click “I acknowledge and agree” to proceed
  4. Enter the appropriate information exactly as it appears on your passport, and click “Next”

You should verify that the “Admit Until” date on your I-94 and the admission stamp in your passport lists “D/S” (i.e. Duration of Status) and is NOT a specific date. If the “Admit Until” date is not listed as “D/S” or if your name, birthdate, or other information is incorrect, please contact ISS immediately.

F-1 visa

The F-1 visa page that is in your passport is specifically for entry into the US. Your length of authorized stay within the US depends on maintaining your F-1 student status as described above.

If plan to depart and later re-enter the US, your F-1 visa must be valid. Visas cannot be renewed within the US, so please make sure you renew your F-1 visa at a US embassy or consulate outside the US when appropriate for re-entry.

Note: A citizen of Canada or Bermuda does not need to apply for a visa at a US Embassy or Consulate. Citizens of these countries may apply for F-1 status at the port of entry so long as they have paid the SEVIS fee and can present their I-20 to the officer.


For more information, please contact ISS and/or refer to the following source(s):