How to Maintain F-1 Student Status

Lawful status is different from your F-1 visa expiration date. F-1 Legal status in the U.S. is determined by your arrival and departure record and the expiration date found on your Form I-94, issued by U.S. CBP, not the expiration date found on your student visa. For more information, please read here.

As long as you are a full time student, you are authorized to be in the U.S., even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in the U.S. This means that F-1 visa holders are of legal status for as long as they are enrolled in a full course load, as indicated on their F-1 visa application and their arrival and departure record. Once an F-1 visa student finishes school or drops from full time enrollment, will they have to take extra steps to not fall out of status.

Can I fall out of status on an F-1 student visa?

If an F-1 visa holder does not resume studies within five months of the date of transferring schools may lose that status. If a student loses status, and USCIS does not reinstate it, the F-1 student’s visa would also be invalid for future travel to the U.S. If you need assistance or have questions or concerns regarding your F-1 visa, please feel free to call or email our experienced immigration and visa attorneys today!

Reinstatement of an F-1 Visa

In order to be reinstated, an F-1 visa holder must submit an Application for Extend/Change of Non-immigrant Status, to request reinstatement of status. For more information please read our article on F-1 student visa reinstatement.

Grounds for Falling Out of Status on an F-1 Visa

If a F-1 visa holder is away from their studies, whether in or outside the United States, for longer than 5 months the F-1 student will likely fall out of status. Likewise, if an F-1 visa holder works on or off campus in a way that does not comply with strict USCIS guidelines for working F-1 students, they can fall out of status. Continuing to study past the degree completion date on an F-1 visa holder’s Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Status can also lead to falling out of status. Likewise, an F-1 student can fall out of status if they transfer schools without following the appropriate procedure.

If you are concerned about your F-1 student visa and need to speak to an immigration lawyer, contact us now for a free consultation and see how we can help.