Maintain Status as F-1 Student

As an F-1 student you enjoy certain benefits, but you also have specific guidelines to maintain your visa status.

ISS Specialists can help you understand immigration rules, but maintaining your immigration status is your responsibility.

Maintain Status

  • Register as a full-time student every Fall and Spring semester until you graduate. Click here to watch a video regarding enrollment requirements.
    • If you're an undergraduate student, register for 12 or more credit hours.
    • If you're a graduate student, register for 9 or more credit hours.
    • If you need to drop below full-time status for any reason, request authorization from ISSO before doing so.
    • No more than 3 credits or one class of online or distance education per semester may count towards the full-time enrollment requirement.
  • Report changes of address within 10 days of moving to a new residence.
  • Inform the ISSO of any change in dependents and status.
  • If you wish to transfer from UNL to a different school, do so in a timely manner.
  • Request a new I-20 if you:
    • change degree programs at UNL
    • officially change your major or minor with an academic advisor
    • need to add dependents
    • experience a significant change in financial support
  • If you will not complete your program before the date on your I-20, request an Extension of Stay at least 2 weeks before the expiration date
  • Maintain a current passport (valid for at least 6 months into the future)

End of Program

  • After you complete your program as an F-1 student, you'll need to leave the U.S:
    • within 60 days of the last day of finals week of your final semester, OR the completion date of OPT, if applicable
    • within 15 days from the date of an authorized early withdrawal, or termination by the ISSO. Contact an ISS Specialist if this applies to you.
    • immediately upon termination of your I-20/SEVIS immigration record by ISSO for any other reason. Contact an ISS Specialist.

Request documents: We keep your immigration documents on file for 7 years following completion of your program. If you lose your immigration document you can request a copy here.

If you have concerns or questions regarding anything about your F-1 status, contact an ISS Specialist.


  • can work on-campus
  • may apply for 12 months of OPT per degree level
  • could be eligible for CPT


  • work only on-campus unless authorized by ISSO or USCIS
  • must maintain full-time student status unless authorized by ISSO
  • May work on campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic year
  • must not allow I-20 to expire
  • No more than 3 credits or one class of online or distance education per semester may count towards the full-time enrollment requirement.

If you lose status

  • lose all F-1 benefits, including on-campus employment, OPT and CPT
  • may be subject to arrest and deportation
  • future visa applications might be compromised
  • may be barred from returning to the U.S. for a time

Ways to regain your status