Maintaining Immigration Status

F-1/ J-1 Roles and Responsibilities

The U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, requires students with a F or J visa status to follow specific requirements while studying in the United States.  Schools, including Albion College, provide advising and oversight to international students about the federal regulations and the SEVIS system.

F-1 and J-1 students are required to:  

  • Report to the International Office listed on your I-20. Follow Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Albion College transfer procedures to attend a new school.
  • Enroll in and complete at least 3 units each semester (fall and spring).
  • Do not work without authorization and follow F-1 rules regarding on-campus and off-campus employment.
  • Always have a valid, unexpired passport and Form I-20. An unexpired F-1 visa is not required to maintain F-1 status.
  • Update your I-20 if you change majors, significant financial changes, or personal information.
  • Notify the CIE of each change of Albion address within ten days of the move.
  • Make normal progress towards completing your degree. If you require more time on your I-20, follow program extension procedures before the I-20 completion date.
  • Leave the U.S. when you are finished with your degree or Optional Practical Training.  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.

Under-enrollment regulations.  There are limited regulatory circumstances under which an international student may request to under-enroll.  Note:  The under-enrollment is not approved until a new I-20 has been issued, or written approval provided by the CIE Director.

  • Academic reasons.  Specifically, initial difficulty with the English language; initial difficulties with reading requirements; unfamiliarity with American teaching methods; or improper course level placement.  Students may only request this for one semester of enrollment.  This must be pre-approved by CIE Director and appropriate Albion College professionals.
  • Medical Reasons.  This is limited to one year of under-enrollment, or two long semesters.  This must be pre-approved by CIE Director substantiated by a medical doctor or a board certified psychologist.
  • Completion of degree semester.  You can be under-enrolled in your last semester before graduating if you need less than a full course load to graduate.

Albion Immigration Adviser:  Cristen Casey serves as Albion College’s Primary Designated School Official for F-1 students, and the Alternative Responsible Officer for J-1 students.  She is available for immigration advising and consulting.

Additional Resources:  Study In the States