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Maintaining F-1 or J-1 Student Status

Students who are at KU in F-1 and J-1 status are considered to be non-immigrants because they are here to receive an education in the U.S. and have the intention to return home after they complete their studies. All students have the sole responsibility for maintaining their own status; the International Student Advisor can help students with decisions that affect their status.

F-1 students have an I-20 and J-1 students have a DS-2019. Read the first page of the I-20 or the second page of the DS-2019 for important guidelines.

Reporting requirements

Report to the International Office every Semester. We must physically see you every semester you are enrolled at KU to report your status in the SEVIS system. To complete your registration, you must report to Boxwood House no later than the first week of class and complete the SEVIS registration form in the presence of one of the International staff and get a signature from one of us.

Contact International Student Advisor immediately when you:

  • Change your address or phone number - SEVIS must be updated within 10 days of an address change.
  • Find out your funding source has changed - You must pay your bill in full every semester or you will not be able to register for classes in future semesters or request official transcripts from the Registrar.

Academic Requirements

Students are required to:

  • Attend school listed on visa and I-20/DS-2019
  • Make normal academic progress towards completing the degree program before the I-20/DS-2019 expiration date 
  • Maintain good academic standing (no academic probation)
  • Enroll full-time every semester, which is 12 credits for undergraduates or 9 credits for graduate students
  • Take no more than one online course per semester

Contact International Student Advisor immediately when you:

  • Change your major - Your SEVIS record and I-20/DS-2019 must be updated.
  • Find out your academic program will take longer to complete than the expiration date listed on your I-20/DS-2019 - Extensions can be granted for valid academic or health reasons; the request must be submitted at least 30 days before the expiration date on the I-20/DS-2019.
  • Want to drop a class that will cause you to drop below full-time enrollment - There are a few reasons students would be permitted to drop below full-time enrollment, including: a bona fide academic reason such as initial difficulty with the English language, difficulty with reading requirements, unfamiliar with American teaching methods, improper course level placement, or illness/medical condition. The Reduced Course Authorization form must be completed and approved prior to dropping a class. 
  • Need fewer classes during your last semester than required for full-time enrollment - For the last semester a student is enrolled, s/he may take a reduced course load, which must be approved by the International Student Advisor. If you need only one class, it cannot be an online class.
  • Initiate transfer to another university in the U.S. - Your SEVIS record must be transferred and grace periods for departure apply.

Documents and Other Requirements

  • Keep copies of all documents, including all I-20/DS-2019 forms issued.
  • Monitor expiration dates of I-20/DS-2019, visa, and passport.
  • Obtain Travel Signature on I-20/DS-2019 for travel outside of the U.S.
  • Keep a valid passport for at least six months in the future.
  • Obey laws and university rules. (The Key)
  • Follow regulations for employment.
  • Maintain required level of health insurance coverage.
  • File tax returns by April 15 every year.

Length of Stay in the U.S.

Your I-20/DS-2019 and Visa should be stamped with D/S, which means Duration of Status. You may stay in the U.S. for the duration of your program, even if your visa expires. The expiration date on the I-20/DS-2019 determines the length of time you will be in status as long as you follow the regulations. You must continue to enroll in classes every fall and spring semester until you complete your degree to remain in status. You do not have to enroll in classes during the summer break, generally May-August, to maintain status. Any breaks in enrollment could cause you to fall out of status and be terminated. You are permitted to remain in the U.S. during official university breaks and holidays and up to five months when transferring between institutions. You must abide by the grace periods for departure outlined below when you complete your course of study or end your attendance at KU.

Grace periods for departure:

Program completion/Graduation: 60 days

  • Prepare for departure
  • Transfer to another school or degree program
  • Apply for OPT
  • Apply for Change of Status
  • Travel within U.S. and continuous countries (Canada, Mexico, and U.S. territories)
  • No travel outside of U.S.
  • Restricted employment

Withdraws authorized and approved by International Student Advisor: 15 days

  • Prepare for departure
  • No transfers to other college/university
  • No travel outside of U.S.
  • No employment

Unauthorized withdraw/Failure to maintain status: No grace period, immediate departure from U.S.

Reinstatement/Failure to Maintain Status

A student who has failed to maintain status may apply to be reinstated to lawful F-1 or J-1 status at the discretion of USCIS. Contact the International Student Advisor if you require reinstatement. In some cases where students have been out of status for longer then five months, they may have to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee again and apply for a new student visa. Check with the International Office to find out what steps you must take if you are out of status and want to be reinstated.