You are maintaining lawful status if you are making normal progress toward completing a course of study and complying with the immigration regulations outlined below:

Immigration Regulations

  • Pursue a "full course of study" at the school listed on your current Form I-20. A full course of study is 12 or more credits per semester for undergraduate students. Graduate students must be in compliance with the Graduate School full-time policy. Exceptions to the full-time requirement must be authorized in advance by International Student and Scholar Services.
  • Complete your studies before the program completion date listed in item 5 on your I-20.
  • Keep your I-20 valid by following proper procedures for a program extension, change in educational level or field of study, and transfer of schools.
  • Remain in the U.S. for no longer than 60 days after completing your current program of study or after completing an authorized period of practical training.
  • Keep your passport valid at all times unless you are exempt from the passport requirement.
  • Accept no employment except that which is authorized in accordance with the immigration regulations.
  • Report any change of address to immigration within 10 days of the change. Local address updates are made using your TUportal account and are reported to immigration through the SEVIS system unless you have graduated and are authorized for OPT. Email updates to your foreign permanent address to with your name and student ID number. Once received, they will be forwarded to immigration through SEVIS.


Reasons why a student may fall out of F-1 student status:

  • Failure to extend I-20 before the expiration deadline
  • Failure to complete the F-1 transfer procedure in a timely manner
  • Failure to take less than a full course of study without prior written authorization from ISSS for an excusable academic or medical reason under F-1 regulations
  • A student who has worked without authorization is also out of status, but is not eligible for reinstatement

If you think you may be out of status, please contact ISSS immediately.

The longer you wait to address the problem, the more difficult it can become to fix. Furthermore, only students in valid F-1 status are eligible for F-1 benefits from the USCIS (e.g. on-campus employment or OPT authorization).


There are two ways to regain status:

1. Request a Reinstatement from USCIS


2. Depart the U.S. and seek new admission to the U.S. in F-1 status. If you choose this option, you must do the following steps:


Frequently Asked Questions