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Maintaining Your Status

Students At Orientation

Maintaining Your Status

It is important for you to understand the requirements that govern your specific visa classification (F-1 or J-1) and to communicate with the ISS prior to taking part in activities that may negatively impact your legal status in the U.S. 

Your SEVIS Record

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the web-based system that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain information on Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools, F-1 and M-1 students who come to the United States to attend those schools, U.S. Department of State-designated Exchange Visitor Program sponsors and J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program participants. 

This record was created by the ISS prior to issuing your I-20 or DS-2019 document. You can find your SEVIS number in the upper right corner of your I-20 or DS-2019 document.

New F-1 students, and J-1 students, entering the U.S. for the first time in F-1 or J-1 status must pay a SEVIS fee.

Full-Time Enrollment Requirement

If you are an F-1 or J-1 student, you must register for and complete at least 12 credits (Undergraduate) or at least 9 credits (Graduate) each Fall and Spring Semester to maintain your visa status. 
Please note that additional credit requirements vary depending on the program to which you were admitted.

Dropping below the required credits without prior authorization by ISS is considered a violation of your F-1 or J-1 visa status and will result in a SEVIS record termination.

► Click for Full-time Enrollment Requirements

Semester Verification
Federal regulations require FDU to notify the Department of Homeland Security about the physical presence and registration of every F-1 student each academic semester.  We do this via your electronic SEVIS record once you have verified that you have returned to campus and are registered for a full course of study.  All students continuing enrollment at FDU must complete the Semester Verification Form each semester. 

►Click for Semester Verification

Program Extension
Your initial FDU I-20 / DS-2019 document was based on the anticipated dates of your program.  Your anticipated completion date can change for many reasons.  If you need additional time to complete your studies we will advise you on your options and the required paperwork.  This process must be done before the end date of your last semester as noted on your Form I-20. The student is responsible for keeping track of the end date on the Form I-20. ISS is NOT responsible for reminding students or confirming their program end date. 

  • The F-1 expected program date can be found in item #5 of your Form I-20.
  • The J-1 expected program end date can be found in Section 3 of your Form DS-2019.
Note: Failure to extend your I-20 / DS-2019 prior to the designated completion date is considered a violation of that status.  

Leave of Absence
Are you planning to request a leave of absence for non-medical reasons or a medical condition? Are you being suspended or under review for suspension? Are you planning to withdraw for classes due to personal issues in your home country?  These are just some of the situations that may require you to disrupt your studies at FDU.  To speak with an ISS advisor to determine what is the best option for your situation, call our office to set up an appointment to discuss options and procedures.  

► Click for more information

Change of Address or other Personal Information
Your documents and records should always be accurate.  

► Click to report Change of information

For F-1 students, these reportable events include, but are not limited to:
  • Registration/enrollment each school term
  • Leaves of absence, suspensions, or withdrawals from school
  • Authorized and unauthorized drops below a “full course of study”, as defined by USCIS regulations
  • Employment off-campus
  • US residential address changes
  • Changes in major, program of study, or expected completion date
  • Transfer to a new college or to a new degree level
  • Periods of authorized and unauthorized employment
  • Termination of F-1 status due to degree completion, change of status, failure to maintain status, or other reason

For J-1 visa holders, reportable actions include, but are not limited to:
  • Extensions
  • Changes of status
  • Replacement of a lost form
  • Amendments and corrections
  • Change in school or sponsor
  • Completion of studies or participation in an exchange program
  • Change in funding