Maintaining Your F-1 Status

As an international student in the U.S., it’s important for you to understand that it is your responsibility to maintain your F-1 status and avoid violations throughout the duration of your studies at Bates College.

This information is intended to help you to navigate the immigration regulations and requirements that may impact you, and always be sure to schedule an advising appointment via BatesReach or email us if you have any questions.

Make sure your immigration documents are valid.
  • Your passport should always be valid at least six months into the future. If your passport is expiring sooner than six months from now, renew it with your country’s consulate in the US or back home.
  • Your I-94 record should be correct. Be sure to check and print out your most recent I-94 record every time you reenter the U.S. If your I-94 shows an incorrect entry date, does not accurately reflect your status (F-1), or lists an “Admit Until Date” (it should list “D/S”, with no date), please be sure to schedule an advising appointment via BatesReach or email us to help you have the record corrected.
  • Your I-20 must be in paper form (not on your phone), accurate, and unexpired. You must maintain record of all I-20s ever issued to you in a safe place. If any information is incorrect or you need to update anything on your I-20, visit us during advising hours or email us.
  • Your visa must be valid if you are traveling outside of and reentering the U.S. To learn more about getting a new visa, visit Obtaining a New Visa.
Keep a current U.S. address and phone number in your Garnet Gateway record at all times.
  • You are required to provide your current U.S. address and phone number at all times. If this information changes, you must update your Bates College record in Garnet Gateway within 10 days of the change.
  • You must also notify the International Student Programs & Services office by submitting the Change of Address Form for F-1 Students, so we may update your SEVIS record.
Do not work without authorization.
  • Not sure if you have proper work authorization or eligibility? Read through Employment & Taxes. Working without authorization is a violation of status!
Enroll full-time each semester.
  • You must enroll in a full course load each semester. If you are not enrolled full-time, your F-1 record will need to be closed. Standard academic progress at Bates is considered 4 credits per semester. There may be times when you need to take a lighter course load, if there is an unexpected difficulty, but remember, you absolutely must be enrolled in a minimum of 3 full-credit courses in order to maintain your F-1 status.
    • There are very few reasons that immigration allows you to take less than a full course load. Most of the time those reasons are only allowed during the first semester of study. If you’re experiencing difficulties, for any reason, and considering dropping below a full course load (3 full-credit courses), you must schedule an appointment with Shelley Palmer to see if you qualify for a reduced course load prior to dropping any classes.
    • If you experience a medical or mental health issue, and are under the care of  a licensed doctor, clinical psychologist, or osteopath, you may qualify for a  reduced course load (RCL), or a medical leave of absence). Please be sure to schedule an advising appointment via BatesReach or email us to discuss the impact on your immigration record before changing your enrollment.
    • For more information about taking a leave from the college, visit the Leaves of Absence/ Withdrawals page.
Regular Class Attendance
  • You must attend class. All F-1 students have a physical presence requirement – this means that they must physically be in class.
Follow College and U.S. government requirements, including federal tax requirements.
  • You are required to fill out tax forms annually, even if you did not work in the U.S. in the previous year. For more information, read through USA Taxes Obligations.
Carry all the required documents when traveling and reentering the U.S. as an international student.
Do not engage in illegal activity.
  • Conviction of certain crimes can negatively impact your immigration status and may subject you to deportation from the U.S. If you are arrested or charged with a crime, notify our office immediately so that we can refer you to an immigration attorney.