General Information for Current Students
HOW TO MAINTAIN LEGAL F-1 STUDENT STATUS
Students in F-1 status are responsible for learning, understanding, and complying with U.S. federal laws and regulations governing the F visa.
Failure to do so will violate your legal status in the United States and will have serious consequences.
Your Responsibilities Include the Following:
Keep Your Passport Valid at All Times
You must have a valid passport in your possession. For information on renewing your passport, visit the web site of your country's embassy or consulate in the United States. (See: http://www.embassy.org/embassies )
Report Address Changes Within 10 days of Your Move To California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB)
U.S. federal regulations require all F-1 students to report a change of address directly to CSUB within 10 days of the address change. The Office of International Students & Programs (ISP) is required to provide this and other student data to the federal government electronically. No other university office is authorized by the federal government to process this data.
You may submit the report to the office of ISP via email or fax.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax number: 661-654- 6914
Maintain a Full Course of Study Each quarter
U.S. federal regulations [8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)] require you to pursue a full course of study each Winter, Spring, and Fall Quarter until graduation or transfer to a new school (a grade of "W" or "I" is not considered completion of the course). If you expect to receive an "Incomplete" (I) grade in a class, please talk with the International Student Advisor at ISP BEFORE the end of the quarter! You must also understand that the Immigration Service only allows for part-time study under very limited circumstances.
Please check Exceptions to fulltime enrollment for details.
Academic Level Minimum: Full Time Course Load
Non-degree Students: 12 units per quarter
Undergraduates (Bachelor's): 12 units per quarter
Graduate (Master's): 8 units per quarter
Obtain Authorization from ISP BEFORE Dropping Below a Full Course of Study
There are very limited exceptions to the full course of study rule. Those reasons include; academic difficulty, medical condition, or completion of study, and there are strict criteria for each. You must obtain authorization from ISP BEFORE dropping below a full course of study! After obtaining this authorization, you may then drop the course(s).
Abide by U.S. Federal Employment Regulations
F-1 students may work no more than 20 hours per week on campus during the Spring, Fall, and Winter quarter [8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)]. These 20 hours include the work you do for an assistantship if you have one. You cannot work off-campus (including credit-bearing internships off-campus) without PRIOR authorization from ISP and the U.S. federal government. Opportunities for off-campus work are limited.
Maintain Required Health and Accident Insurance
F-1 students must have CSUB-approved health and accident insurance for themselves and any F-2 or J-2 dependents throughout their stay in the United States.
Report Changes in Program to ISP
Students must notify ISP whenever there is a change in their academic program, program dates or level of study, or when they graduate.
Bring Your SEVIS I-20 to ISP Prior to Traveling Outside the United States
Students should bring their I-20 form to ISP prior to traveling outside the United States to see if an updated signature from the International Student Advisors is required. A new form may need to be issued to you. If you will be traveling AND applying for a new visa, you will also want to request a "Certification of Full-Time Enrollment" letter from ISP to verify that you are a full-time student.
Notify ISP of Any Accompanying Dependents or Dependents Who Will Join You Later
ISP prepares visa documents for any dependents (spouse/children) of F-1 students who will enter the United States on F-2 visas. ISP is also required to report biographical data on F-2 dependents to the U.S. federal government.
Report Your Departure Date and Reason to ISP when Ending Your Studies at CSUB Unexpectedly
Periodically, students leave the university early or unexpectedly due to a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include early graduation, leave of absence, withdrawal, or termination. U.S. federal regulations require F-1 students to inform the Office of ISP if they plan to leave the university before the expiration date of their I-20 form as well as the reason for doing so.
Apply for an Extension Prior to the I-20 Expiration Date
Students must apply for an extension BEFORE their I-20 form expires if they intend to stay at CSUB and cannot complete their program by the form expiration date. Requests for an extension may be submitted at any time BEFORE the expiration date on the form. You will need to obtain a letter from your Academic Advisor, explaining the reasons why you need extra time to complete your degree program requirements.
OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING (OPT) FOR F-1 VISA STUDENTS
F-1 students are eligible for Pre-completion or Post-completion OPT for up to 12 months. This has to be approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Therefore, you must submit an application for OPT up to 90 days before the date you are planning to start if you have been enrolled in a full course of study for one academic year (3 quarters). However, your period of employment cannot begin until you have already successfully completed an academic year of full-time study.
CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT)
Curricular Practical Training permission is obtained from the Office of International Programs (not USCIS). The employment authorization will be indicated on page 3 of your I-20 form which will include the signature of the International Student Advisor.
Student must be in valid F-1 student status for one academic year (two semesters). (For employment required by degree program - graduate students may begin employment immediately upon beginning studies (after receiving authorization for CPT from ISP).
Obtain Transfer Authorization Prior to Leaving CSUB
Students who plan to transfer to another college or university in the United States must inform ISP of their final choice so that ISP can perform the "transfer out" in SEVIS and designate the school to which you will transfer.
Depart the U.S. within the 60 Days Grace Period
Students in F-1 status must depart the United States within 60 days of the I-20 ending date OR their program end date, whichever is earlier. The exceptions to this rule include those who have applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT), are transferring to a new school, or have applied for a change of status with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS).
Final Important Note
This information is subject to change without notice. It is important that you provide an email address (active and functional) so that you can receive all the updates regarding F1 status regulations.