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 has expired; make sure that your I-20 or DS-2019 reflect your current degree program and level. If you change your major, notify OIP (the Office of International Programs) immediately, so we can issue a new I-20.
- Always enroll full time during the academic year. At IC, 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
Please note: there are only 3 Designated School Officials (DSOs) at Ithaca College for the F visa program: Dr. Tanya Saunders, Diana Dimitrova and Rachel Cullenen and only 2 ROs (Registered Officials) for the J visa program: Vicki Estabrook and Diana Dimitrova. These individuals are the only people on campus who can provide you with information and advice regarding your immigration status and who can process and sign immigration documents (I-20s and DS-2019s).
- Report your current local (Ithaca) address and phone number and visa and passport information to the Office of International Programs. Update your record if this information changes.
- Notify the OIP if your local address changes within 10 days from the move. If you have dependents (spouse and children who are with you in the US), you must report the changes in names, address, and passport information of your dependents as well.
- When you travel outside the US, make sure you have the required re-entry documents. Obtain a travel signature from OIP on your I-20 or DS-2019 before you depart the US.
- NEVER work without authorization. Do not engage in off-campus employment, including internships, without prior authorization and immigration approval. Working without the appropriate immigration authorization is a major and 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 of the completion or termination of your of program of study or if you plan to transfer to another US educational institution.
- Meet with an Ithaca College DSO prior to taking a Leave of Absence or Study Abroad.
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 account – if you prefer another e-mail address, notify OIP so we can add that e-mail address to the listserve. The notices and updates posted on the listserve can carry essential and time-sensitive information relating to your immigration status, so check them often and act upon them immediately.
- Accept immigration advice only from authorized sources. Contact OIP if you need clarification on any questions or issues related to your student visa status. If we cannot help you, we can refer you to an immigration attorney who could assist you. Do not take the immigration advice (however well-meaning!) of other students, professors, the Internet, etc., your immigration status can be at stake!
- Plan ahead and submit your inquiries, questions, and requests to OIP in advance. We do our best to assist students right away, but we are often not able to complete last-minute requests.
- Understand that it is your responsibility to make sure you are maintaining status. OIP will do everything possible to inform you of your responsibilities and to help you, but it is your duty to maintain your student visa status.
- SEVIS changes are coming up, so stay tuned – the OIP will hold info sessions and announcements will be posted on the listserve