How to Maintain Your F1 Status

How to Maintain Your F1 Status

Course Load

Don’t jeopardize your chance to remain at AUM! You must take a full course load during the academic year in order to keep your non-immigrant status. This means you must take at least:

  • Undergraduate Students: 12 credits (credit hours) per semester
  • Graduate Students: 6 credits (credit hours) per semester


To drop below full-time status during fall or spring semesters, you must request permission from the Office of Global Initiatives. Your advisor must complete a Reduced Course Load Form. If you drop below a full course of study without prior approval from the Office of Global Initiatives, you will be considered out of status.

Online Classes

Only 3 hours of online classes may be taken each semester to count towards full time enrollment.

  • Undergraduate students must enroll in 9 hours of classes on the AUM campus and 3 hours may be taken online to count towards full time enrollment of 12 hours. A student may enroll in more than 3 hours online each semester, but only 3 hours will count towards full time enrollment.
    • For example: An undergraduate student enrolls for 9 hours on campus and 6 hours online. Only 3 online hours are counted towards full time enrollment. 9 hours on campus + 3 hours online = 12 hours (full time enrollment). The additional online class is not calculated in full time enrollment, so it is approved.
  • Graduate students must enroll in 6 hours of classes on AUM campus and all 6 hours must be taken face to face to count towards full time enrollment of 6 hours.
    • For example: A graduate student enrolls for 6 hours on campus and 6 hours online. Zero online hours are counted towards full time enrollment. 6 hours on campus = full time enrollment. The additional online classes are not calculated in full time enrollment, so it is approved.

Transient enrollment (Concurrent Enrollment) at another institution in addition to AUM

Students may enroll concurrently at another university to satisfy degree requirements. Student may enroll at AUM and another university after receiving departmental, registrar and Office of Global Initiative’s approval.

Concurrent enrollment (transient student) must be approved prior to registration.

Concurrent enrollment is similar to online class registration. Only 3 hours of transient classes may be taken each semester to count toward full time enrollment. Documentation of approvals and transfer equivalencies must be provided to the Office of Global Initiatives prior to approval.

Change of Address

F-1 visa students must report their initial U.S. address and any subsequent change of address within 10 days of moving to the Global Initiatives Office; students with other non-immigrant visas (H-1B, E-1, or E-2) should report a change of address to the Department of Homeland Security.

Note: Homeland Security requires that an AR-11 Form be completed and sent in for any address change for any students other than F-1. For Homeland Security purposes, your local address, as registered in AUM’s Webster computer system, must be the physical location where you live and receive mail.

Passport Extension

You must make sure your passport does not expire when you are outside of your country. That can be a violation of status, so you must extend a passport before it expires. Six months before the passport will expire, contact your nearest consulate or embassy or check its Web site for instructions and forms that are required. The U.S. government has a complete list of foreign embassies in the United States. Consulate locations are generally listed on each embassy’s Web site.

Extension of I-20

The Department of Homeland Security expects F-1 students to complete their studies on or before the date listed on their I-20 and to either leave the U.S., start a new program at AUM, process a transfer to another university or file for a change of status within the 60 days of completing the course of study.

If you need more time, you will need to process an extension by asking your academic advisor to complete the Program Extension Form. This document should be given to the Office of Global Initiatives in order to extend the program end date.

Reinstatement of Status

If you violate your status or break an immigration law, meet with the Office of Global Initiatives for assistance. It is best to understand the immigration laws that pertain to you and to follow them rather than to risk violating them and having to be reinstated. If you are out of status, you are ineligible for benefits such as on campus employment, graduate assistant-ships or practical training.

If you violate the terms of you status by:

  • Letting your Form I-20 expire
  • Not processing your transfer of schools on time
  • Falling below full-time status without prior approval

You need to apply to the Department of Homeland Security for reinstatement.

You cannot apply for reinstatement when the violation of status involves unauthorized employment. Some violations of status can result in an automatic void of your student visa and bar you from re-entering the country for a few years.

Please make an appointment to see the International Student Services Coordinator by e-mailing [email protected] or calling 334-244-3922 to discuss whether or not reinstatement is the right step for you.

Once you and the coordinator have decided reinstatement is possible, you will be asked to prepare the following documents and return them to the Office of Global Initiatives.

  • Proof that you have finances to cover your expenses for one year or until the graduation date (whichever is earlier)
  • Form I-539
  • A copy of your original Form I-20
  • I-94
  • A copy of your passport identification page (with passport number, name and expiration date)
  • A check or money order for $370.00 made out to Department of Homeland Security
  • A formal letter from you to DHS explaining the circumstances of your situation. Clearly outline the circumstances under which you violated your status, mention that you have been in pursuit of a full course of study and that you haven’t violated any other regulations

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