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Immigration Information


Maintaining F-1 Status

In order to maintain legal status as an F-1 visa student, you must:

Maintain a valid passport and a current, authorized Form I-20 at all times (check the completion of studies date in section 5 of your Form I-20).

Maintain full-time student status. To be considered an F-1 student in status, you must be enrolled full-time (12 units) every fall and spring semester except during the last semester of your degree program. Notify the ISC of any change in your degree program, level, or funding so we can prepare a new Form I-20 indicating this change. Make normal progress towards your degree. Not work illegally.


If a student is out of status, there are two basic ways for a student to regain status: file a reinstatement application with the Los Angeles Immigration office or travel with a new I-20. The decision on which option is the best to take depends on regulatory and personal factors that make travel or reinstatement a good option.

Change of Status

The following factors common to all change of status applications:

  • Student should be maintaining status

  • F-1 benefit do not apply until the change is approved

  • The application will generally be considered abandoned if the person leaves the country before the approval.
The International Student Center can assist with the change of status (COS) for the following visas. Please make an appointment to see the International Student Advisor to assist you with this process.
  • B1/B2 to F1

  • F2 to F1

  • J1 to F1

  • H4 to F1


Rev. 10/27/11

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