maintainingstatusMaintaining your student visa status should always be your priority. As such whether you are on F or M visa, you need to know what you can do or cannot do.  Apart from maintaining your actual school requirements and respecting the laws living in the United States, these are mandatory:

  • You must enroll in a full course of study within 30 days of arriving in the United States.
  • You must make progress toward your educational objective (e.g., diploma, degree or certificate).
  • Speak with your designated school official about any issues or if your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System information changes. Note that many times in case the SEVIS is not properly maintained by your school, you are the one who suffers from the consequences.

A very important maxim to remember is that ignorance of the law is not an excuse.  Your designated school official (DSO) should be able to guide you however there are few things you should know.  Remember that your DSO is not a lawyer and cannot give you legal advice as such you need to rely on your own lawyer and common sense. For example, the following should raise a red flag:

1. If your DSO is asking you ‘strange things’ like not attending classes;

2. Putting that you attend classes when you are not actually attending classes.

3. Avoid taking curricular practical training (CPT) at the outset, although in some cases you are allowed to do so.

4. Do not work  unless you have a special authorization or have a permission from the United States Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS)

Although F1 visa students are eligible to transfer as soon as they enter, we do not recommend you to do so. We also do not recommend that you abuse CPT or even the OPT. Both have specific rules and we recommend that you follow them religiously.

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New STEM OPT form I-983 Instructions