Legal

MAINTAINING LAWFUL STUDENT STATUS

In order to maintain lawful student status, please make sure you follow these guidelines:

  • Keep your travel documents valid and current. Make sure your passport is valid; if you need an extension of your I-20 or DS-2019, apply for it before the current document expires. Make sure that your I-20 or DS-2019 reflect your current degree program and level. If you change your major, notify the Office of International Programs (OIP), immediately, so we may issue a new I-20.
  • Always enroll in a full-time course load during the academic year. At Ithaca College, full-time enrollment is a minimum of 12-credits for undergraduate students and 9-credits for graduate students every semester.
  • Meet with an authorized immigration advisor from OIP and obtain written permission prior to dropping below full-time enrollment.

Ithaca College has three Designated School Officials (DSOs) for the F visa program and ROs (Registered Officials) for the J visa program: Dr. Tanya Saunders, Diana Dimitrova, and Rachel Gould. These individuals are the only people on campus who can process and sign immigration documents (I-20s and DS-2019s) and provide information and advice regarding your immigration status.

You must always:

  • Report your current local (Ithaca) address, phone number, visa, and passport information to the OIP. Be sure to update your records if any of this information should change.
  • If your local address changes, be sure to notify the OIP within 10-days from the date which you moved. If you have dependents (spouse and children who are with you in the U.S.), you must report any changes to their names, their address(es), and their passport information, as well.
  • Make sure that you have the required re-entry documents when traveling outside of the U.S. It is good practice to obtain a new travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 from the OIP before departing the U.S.
  • NEVER work without proper authorization. Do not engage in off-campus employment (including internships) without prior authorization and immigration approval. Working without the appropriate immigration authorization is a serious violation of your student status. Limit authorized on-campus employment to no more than 20-hours per week while school is in session and no more than 40-hours per week during school vacations
  • Notify an Ithaca College DSO promptly upon the completion of your program, the termination of your program of study, or if you plan to transfer to another U.S. educational institution.
  • Meet with an Ithaca College DSO before studying abroad or taking a leave of absence.

Maintaining your student status should be easy and stress-free. Here are some suggestions to help you maintain your status:

  • If you are not sure, always ask! The OIP staff is here to answer your questions and explain the immigration regulations to the best of our ability.
  • Check the e-mail messages you receive through the international listserve; they will be sent to your IC email account. If you prefer that these notification are sent to a different email address, please notify OIP. The notices and updates posted on the listserve may carry essential and time-sensitive information relating to your immigration status; check for them often and act upon them immediately.
  • Accept immigration advice only from authorized sources. Contact the OIP if you need clarification related to your student visa status. If we are unable to assist, we may refer you to an immigration attorney who can help. Do not take immigration advice from students, professors, or the Internet. Bad advice may place your immigration status in jeopardy.
  • Be proactive and submit requests to the OIP in advance; do not wait until the last minute. We always do our best to assist students in a timely manner, however, we are not always able to complete last-minute requests.
  • Understand that it is your responsibility to maintain your student visa status. The OIP will inform you of your responsibilities and assist, if necessary, but you must remain vigilant.
  • SEVIS changes are always possible. If a change should occur, the OIP will post announcements on the listserve. Be sure to check your email frequently.