Maintaining Your Immigration Status

F-1 students have sole responsibility for complying with all federal regulations governing their visa status.  MTSU and the Office of International undergraduate Admissions offer guidance and official documentation when appropriate but maintaining your immigration status is always the responsibility of the visa holder.

Be sure to pay close attention to the conditions described below so that you remain “in status” with F-1 visa regulations during your stay in the U.S.:

  • You must be enrolled as a full-time student at the university you are authorized to attend. This means that you must only attend the school whose I-20 you last used to enter the U.S. or the school whose I-20 you used to transfer schools. Should you decide to withdraw from school, you are not allowed to remain in the U.S. in student status.
  • You must be a full-time student during each semester term of the academic year. At Middle Tennessee State University full-time enrollment is 12 credit hours per semester for undergraduates and nine credit hours for graduate students. Exceptions can be made on the recommendation of a DSO for valid medical or academic reasons as defined by the DHS. Be sure to speak with a DSO about any exceptions BEFORE dropping courses to avoid the serious consequences that may result from being out of status.
  • You must apply for extensions in a timely fashion. Duration of Status expires if a student takes longer than expected to complete their degree. Students must pay close attention to the Program Completion Date noted in Item 5 on the form I-20. If more time is needed, an application for extension of stay must be filed with the Office of International Undergraduate Admissions before the expiration date.

    You have 60 days after your Program End Date to:
    • Leave the U.S.
    • Have your I-20 transferred to a graduate school
    • File an application for OPT (or you may file an application for OPT up to 90 days before your Program End Date).
  • You must report any change of local or permanent address to within 10 days of the change.
  • You may engage in off-campus employment or practical training only when you have received the necessary permission. (See section on Employment.)
  • You must receive a reentry signature on your I-20 before traveling out of the U.S.

Students who fail to maintain full-time course enrollment or violate their visa status in any other way will have their SEVIS record terminated and are not eligible for any of the benefits of the student visa. They are considered to be "out of status" and must depart the U.S. within 30 days or apply to DHS for reinstatement to valid student status. Eligibility for benefits will be regained only if and when DHS approves the reinstatement. If you have any questions regarding reinstatement see a DSO immediately.

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International Voices of MTSU