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Maintaining F-1 Status

Responsibilities of an F –1 Student

Students in F-1 status are responsible for learning, understanding, and complying with U.S. federal laws and regulations governing the F-1 visa. Failure to follow these regulations can violate your legal status in the United States, subject you to deportation, and jeopardize your eligibility for future benefits.

Your responsibilities include the following:

Keep Your Passport Valid at All Times

You must have a valid passport in your possession. For information on renewing your passport, visit the web site of your country’s embassy or consulate in the United States. (See: )

Report Address Changes within 10 days to your International Student Advisor

U.S. federal regulations require all F-1 students to report a change of address within ten (10) days of moving. Report any change of address to your International Student Advisor. This address change is then reported by the International Student Advisor to the federal immigration authorities. Students should fill out a Change of Address form for the College. These forms can be obtained from and should be returned to the Registrar’s Office at the College.

Maintain a Full Course of Study Each Semester

U. S. federal regulations require you to pursue a full course of study each Fall and Spring semester until graduation or transfer to a new school. Full course of study means you must be registered and complete a minimum of twelve (12) credits each Fall and Spring semester. No more than one (1) on-line class or three (3) on-line credits per semester can be counted towards the full course of study. You must make normal progress (attend and pass your classes) toward the completion of your program of study. You must complete your studies before the expiration of the program completion date on your I–20 form.

Obtain PRIOR Authorization from your International Student Advisor BEFORE Dropping Below a Full Course of Study
There are very limited exceptions to the full course of study rule. If you have an exceptional circumstance, such as, being improperly placed in a wrong class level or having a serious illness, an exception may be granted to allow you to go below twelve (12) credits. If you think you have an exceptional circumstance as described above, contact your International Student Advisor immediately. This must be done BEFORE you can drop below twelve (12) credits.

Abide by U.S. Federal Employment Regulations

F-1 students may work no more than 20 hours per week on campus (cannot be financial aid related) when classes are in session. You cannot work off-campus without PRIOR authorization from the U.S. federal government. If you are able to find employment on-campus, you must see your International Student Advisor immediately to inform her.

Report Changes on your I-20 to the International Student Advisor

Students must notify their International Student Advisor whenever there is a change in their academic program (major), sponsor, etc.

Bring Your SEVIS I-20 to your International Student Advisor PRIOR to Traveling Outside the United States

Students must bring their I-20 to their International Student Advisor for travel approval prior to traveling. If you will be traveling and re-applying for a new visa, you will need to request a letter of certification, from your international student advisor, to verify that you are a full time student.

Apply for an Extension Prior to the I-20 Expiration Date

Students must apply for an extension BEFORE their I-20 form expires if they intend to stay at PCCC and cannot complete their program by the form expiration date. Requests for an extension may be submitted to your international student advisor up to thirty days prior to the expiration date on the form. Extensions are only possible under some conditions – see your International Student Advisor for more information.

Obtain Transfer Authorization Prior to Leaving PCCC

Students who plan to transfer to another college or university in the United States must apply for an I-20 and be accepted into the transfer institution. Students must inform their International Student Advisor of their transfer plans before the end of the semester. Students must inform their International Student Advisor of their final choice so that the Advisor can perform the “transfer out action” in SEVIS and designate the school to which the student will transfer.

Depart the U.S. within the 60 Day Grace Period

If the student does not plan to remain in the U.S. following completion of his/her course of study or OPT, he/she must depart the U.S. no later than 60 days following the completion of studies or OPT. The exceptions to this rule include those who have applied for optional practical training, are transferring to a new school, or have applied for a change of status with immigration.

Important Notes

  • As an International Student studying in the United States, it is your responsibility to abide by the U.S. federal laws and regulations governing the F-1 visa.
  • The above information is subject to change without notice. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your legal status in the United States, it is important for you to make an appointment and speak with your International Student Advisor.

To apply for an Initial I-20 and Admission to the College, please contact:

Maritza Davila
Coordinator, Admissions and Financial Aid Services, PAC

Tel: (973) 684-6307

International Student Advisors

Once you are admitted to PCCC, receive an Initial I-20 from the Admissions Office, and arrive in the United States you may contact one of the International Student Advisors below in order to register for classes and to discuss any issues or concerns you may have:

Laura Perez, Counselor
Tel: (973) 684-5750
Margo Murray, Counselor
Tel: (973) 684-6738