International Student Status

Maintaining Status/Enrollment

Federal regulations as administered by SEVIS require that you enroll in classes each semester and maintain a full course of study. Below is a summary of some of your main responsibilities as an F-1 or J-1 student.

Please note that this list in not exhaustive. If you have any questions please consult the Center for International Education.

On Campus Employment

F-1 students are generally permitted to work on the premises of the school that issued their currently valid I-20, while attending school and maintaining their F-1 status. This work is part-time and limited to 20 hours per week when school is in session or fulltime work during holiday and vacation periods. Work on campus is a benefit of F-1 visa status and no additional authorization is required.

Off -Campus Employment

F-1 students may not work off-campus during the first academic year, but may accept on campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. There are various programs available for F-1 students to seek off-campus employment after they have been studying for one academic year.

They are:

Curricular Practical Training  (CPT)

Optional Practical Training ( OPT) pre or post completion of degree

Any off-campus work must be related to their major and must be authorized prior to starting any work by the Designated School Official( The person authorized to maintain Student and Exchange Visitor Information System and USCIS. 

Dr. Debra Peterson, Director of CIE is the Principal DSO on campus.

Role and Responsibility of the International Students

Students must be aware of and comply fully with the following:

  • You must maintain a valid passport at all times, unless exempt from passport requirements.
  • You must maintain a valid, unexpired I-20 or DS-2019 at all times. This includes correct level and major, current funding and correct personal data.
  • You must enroll in and attend classes. If you plan on taking a semester off other than summer, you must obtain prior approval from the CIE Director.
  • You must attend the college/university listed on your I-20 or DS-2019. Prior approval from the CIE Director is needed if you plan to take classes at another school (example: Lansing Community College). If you dual enroll, you must take the majority of your credits per semester at Albion College.
  • You must complete a full course of study during normal enrollment periods (fall & spring semesters).

Full time is defined as 3.0-4.5 units per semester for undergraduates.

  • You must be enrolled for your courses by the beginning of each semester. CIE is required to report underenrollment to DHS (Department of Homeland Security) within 30 days of the end of the registration period. Any student who is not enrolled or underenrolled will be reported and will be considered out of status.
    • If you will not be enrolled full-time, you must receive prior approval from the CIE director.

      Under-enrollment options are limited to the following conditions:

      You can only be under-enrolled for academic difficulty for one semester per degree.

      You can be under-enrolled for medical reasons for two semesters per degree (12 months) Medical reasons must be substantiated by a medical doctor or a board certified psychologist.

      You can be under-enrolled in your last semester before graduating if you need less than a full course load to graduate.
    • You must report any change of address or residence to the CIE office within 5 days of the change. This information will then be sent electronically to DHS.
    • If you change your name, you must report it to the CIE office in person and provide legal documentation that reflects the name change.
    • You must apply for an extension of your program of study prior to the expiration date on your I-20 or DS-2019. Contact CIE for more information.
    • You must obtain a new I-20 or DS-2019 if you change your academic program from one major/field of study to another (e.g., from Chemical Engineering to Physics). You must also obtain a new I-20 if your source of funding changes (e.g. from Scholarship to Parents).
    • Prior to traveling outside the U.S. make sure that your I-20 or DS-2019 has been endorsed for travel by the director of CIE in the last six months.

If you intend to transfer to another educational institution, you must notify CIE in advance of this transfer a completing a transfer form and meeting the CIE director.

  • If you need to withdraw from classes, or are asked to leave the university, you must report this to CIE. If you do not report to CIE, your status ends immediately.
  • The normal grace period to remain in the U.S. following degree/program completion is 60 days for F-1 students and 30 days for J-1 students.