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Maintaining Valid Immigration Status

Maintaining immigration status according to Department of Homeland Security is fulfilling the purpose of your visa and following the regulations associated with that purpose. For F1 degree-seeking students and J1 visiting students this purpose is studying.

According to immigration regulations it is the visa holder's (i.e. the student’s) responsibility to be informed of and follow the immigration rules pertaining to their visa type and thus maintain status. Failure to maintain status can have serious negative and lasting consequences. SEVIS immigration files are permanent and immigration officials making decisions about issuing visas and admissibility at the US border have full access to them.

Read carefully all ISS email communication (e.g., emails from iss@depauw.edu, emails from ISS staff, ISS Weekly Newsletter) as it often includes important immigration information vital for maintaining status.


Following the regulations associated with F1 and J1 visa types means:

  1. following all Department of Homeland Security and Department of State regulations and the guidance of the agencies enforcing these rules (e.g., US Citizenship and Immigration Services, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Customs and Border Protection, Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

  2. Following DePauw academic (e.g., Registrar’s Office) and immigration policies (put forth by the DePauw Designated School Officials

International Student Services is here to connect you to resources and help you navigate these rules. We work hard to keep you informed of immigration rules changes and upcoming deadlines.


Some actions to properly maintain status

(1)    At the beginning of the program with DePauw University

  • Enter the US no more than 30 days as of the program start date listed on your I-20 and after confirming with Housing Office (housing@depauw.edu) the date at which you can enter your University-Owned Housing

  • Contact ISS Office immediately

(2)    During the program at DePauw University

  • Enroll each fall and spring term full time (at least three credits)

  • Attend all classes and demonstrate satisfactory academic progress toward the degree

  • If school is too difficult or if you need to drop a class, discuss with the DSO before you make class adjustments (email iss@depauw.edu)

  • If you plan to declare or change major, notify ISS

  • If you change your legal name or address, notify ISS within 10 (ten) days

  • If you want to take advantage of an internship or training experience, discuss the procedure with ISS

  • Work only after acquiring proper authorization and retain evidence of any authorized employment

  • Make sure your I-20/DS 2019 is not expired

  • Ensure you have a valid travel endorsement in you I-20/DS 2019 before any international travel

  • Keep a valid passport

  • File taxes and/or submit required forms to IRS and Indiana Department of State for each calendar year within the duration of your program

  • If you want to take a leave from school for a term, follow the appropriate academic procedure and consult ISS on the appropriate immigration procedure

  • Consult with the ISS, if you want to extend or shorten your program, before you start the academic procedure for it

(3)    After the program

  • Prepare to leave the USA within the preparation for departure period according to the reason for leaving (e.g., completion of program, authorized withdrawal)

  • Apply for OPT within the statutory deadline

  • Transfer your SEVIS record, if you are accepted to graduate school


Immigration Document Safekeeping

Every student is responsible for keeping their most recent immigration documents safe and unexpired at all times. These include I-20/DS 2019, I-94, Employment Authorization Card.

Expired immigration documents shall be kept safe as they will be valuable supporting documents in a number of immigration applications.


Violation of Status

Any failure to maintain status constitutes violation of status. If such occurs, it is a very serious matter and needs to be addressed in a timely manner. Contact the ISS Office to discuss your options and the regulations. You could always contact an immigration lawyer for professional advice.

If ISS Office establishes that you are in violation of status due to willful or in some cases negligent failure to act or comply with regulations, immigration regulations require the Designated School Officials to terminate your SEVIS record.

Violation of status could result in accrual of unlawful presence and serious lasting immigration consequences including, but not limited to temporary or permanent bar to re-enter the USA.

Examples of violations of status are: dropping below full-time enrollment without following the immigration procedure, changing majors without notifying ISS, unauthorized work, suspension, violation of university policy that results in failure to enroll in the next term, failure to report OPT employment, unauthorized withdrawal from classes, otherwise failing to maintain status.


Accrual of Unlawful Presence

Any violation of status could result in an accrual of unlawful presence. F1 and J1 students who fail to maintain status currently accrue unlawful presence as of the earliest of the following:

  1. the student no longer pursues the course of study or the authorized activity, or the day after the student engages in the unauthorized activity;

  2. the day after completing the course of study or program;

  3. the day after the I-94 expires, if the student was admitted for a date certain;

  4. the day after an immigration judge orders the student excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

When certain thresholds of unlawful presence are reached, the student generally cannot obtain a new US visa, cannot enter the USA at a port of entry, or obtain an immigration benefit (e.g., adjustment of status) without first obtaining a waiver or another form of relief.

Accumulation of unlawful presence is a very serious matter and in cases of such students shall consult an experienced immigration attorney.


Additional Resources

ISS Visas and Travel

ISS Employment as an International Student

ISS Social Security Number and Driver's License

ISS Forms and Documents

ISS Tax requirements and Preparation

ISS Optional Practical Training (OPT)

ISS Optional Practical Training (OPT) Extension

US Department of Homeland Security’s STUDY in the STATES 

US Department of State Exchange Visitor Program Website

US Citizenship and Immigration Services 

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

US Department of Homeland Security