F-1 Student Visa Maintenance
The F-1 Student Visa allows a student to reside within the US for a full-time academic program.
F-1 Visa students have certain responsibilities which must be adhered to in order to maintain their visa status. To remain in the U.S. legally, students are also obligated to comply with all USCIS regulations.
It is the responsibility of F-1 students to learn, understand, and comply with these regulations. Status maintenance is the responsibility of the student; Cowley College will do its best to ensure that all international students are aware of the regulations regarding proper maintenance of their visa status.
- International students must maintain a minimum enrollment of 12 hours throughout the semester (Fall & Spring), beginning with the first week of the semester. Failure to do so will result in dismissal.
- International Students may count only ONE (3 credit hours) online course toward their required 12 credit hours.
- Report the change of any contact information (i.e. address, telephone number, etc.) to the international student services coordinator (DSO) in within 21 days.
- Report any change of program or degree level to the DSO within 21 days.
- Obtain approval from the DSO prior to withdrawing from a course that places you below full-time status if there is an acceptable reason.
- Carry the I-94 and I-20 at all times.
- Keep passport valid at all times.
- If you are enrolling in less than 12 credits your final semester, seek approval from the DSO before the start of that semester.
- Students who have been permitted to work by the Federal Government must not work more than 20 hours per week, except during the summer or periods when school is not in session. NEVER work without prior approval from the international student advisor or USCIS.
- DO NOT let your I-20 expire if you have not yet completed your program of study.
- Have your I-20 signed by the DSO before traveling out of the United States if you plan to return to continue your program of study at Cowley College.
- To apply for a new visa, you must have a valid I-20.
- If you plan to spend an entire semester out of the United States, obtain a new I-20 to present at the port of entry when re-entering the country.
- Working without approval will result in immediate termination of your I-20, and you will be reported in SEVIS.
Visa Application Process
Have the following documents together when you visit your embassy:
- I-20 (original only)
- Valid Passport
- Financial Documents (showing ability to pay for one year of school, see estimated costs)
- Letter of Admission from Cowley College (sent with your original I-20)
Complete the visa application.
Every American embassy must adhere to the same rules and regulations but each location changes procedures to adapt to the region. Some locations require documentation only to schedule an appointment with the student in the near future and some complete the entire process by mail. Contact a local embassy for information on their policies and procedures.
The visa is a stamp in your passport indicating where it was issued, expiration date, issue date, and visa number. When you receive the visa, the initial I-20AB should be returned in a sealed envelope.
- Passport with visa stamp
- I-20 (original only)
- Any other information requested by the immigration officer
- Letter of admission
- Financial documents
The visa application process has quite a few exceptions depending on where the student is from and where he/she is applying. If any questions arise regarding this process, please contact a local U.S. embassy or consulate.