If you entered the U.S. on a student-visa (F-1), you are required to be a full-time student.
Maintaining Your Student Immigration Status
To maintain your F-1 or J-1 student status, you need to do the following:
- Attend the school you are authorized to attend. In this case, you must attend the IEI.
- Maintain a full course of study and make normal progress in your program. In the IEI, this means that you must enroll in a full-time program consisting of 20 hours of classes each week. You must also attend your classes. If you have more absences than the IEI allows, you will NOT be considered a full-time student making normal progress. This means you will be out of status with immigration.
- Keep your passport valid. As is the case with your immigration documents, you should keep your passport valid at all times. Contact your home country consulate or embassy for information on extending the validity of your passport. Report a change of address or name change to the IEI office within 10 days of the change.
Do not let your I-20 expire. Look for the expiration date noted on your I-20. You must make a decision about what you want to do next before your I-20 expires.
You have three choices:
- Request an extension of your IEI I-20. You must reapply to the IEI before the end of your current I-20. We cannot extend your I-20 for IEI after it ends. If you have not maintained a full course of study (if you have missed too many classes), you will not be eligible for an extension.
- Transfer to another school. Submit your admission letter and signed transfer form from the new school before the end of the current semester. We will transfer you on the last day of the session. The transfer cannot be done before the end of the IEI term, but you need to request it in advance.
- Leave the USA.
If you complete the regular session, you have 60 days to remain in the country. However, if you withdraw, are dismissed, or plan to leave before the end of the session, you must leave the US within two weeks.
If you have questions about your DS-2019, check with your program sponsor.
The IEI expects students to attend class regularly and to complete all assignments on time. Attendance, study, and constant practice are the means to successful language learning. If, after being warned, F-1 students continue to be absent, we will terminate their status in SEVIS and it will be necessary for them to go home or to request reinstatement in order to continue studying at any U.S. university or English language program. See the Student Policies page for the complete policy.
End of Semester Responsibilities
Once the IEI term has ended, you need to have a clear plan of what you are going to do afterwards. You also need to inform us of your decision. Near the end of the semester, you will fill out a future plans form in class.
As an F-1 student, you have 3 options after the term ends:
1. Continue studying at the IEI
2. Transfer to another school and continue studying
3. Return home
What do you need to do for each option?
- Continue studying at the IEI: Simply register in the IEI office.
- Transfer to another school (university, community college, etc.): If you have been a full-time student in good standing during the semester, you have a grace period of 60 days to transfer to another F-authorized school. The 60 days begins on the last day of the term. Simply tell us where you are going and when on the future plans form. Also, sometime during the last week of IEI classes, you need to verify your transfer information with the international student advisor.
- Return home: If you have been a full-time student in good standing during the semester and are planning on returning home, you have a grace period of 60 days to prepare for your departure from the United States. The 60 days begins on the last day of the term. Please be aware that you can travel within the US during this time, but you cannot travel outside the U.S. and re-enter the country on your F1 visa. If you have not maintained a full course of study (no attendance certificate), you are not eligible for the 60 day grace period. If you intend to go home after the semester, you must leave IMMEDIATELY at the end of the program. If you intend to continue studying at the IEI, you will be on probation.
If you are planning on traveling outside the U.S. after the IEI term ends:
- Travel outside U.S. and returning to IEI: If you are traveling outside the U.S. after one IEI term ends and returning to the IEI for the next term, you will need to get a letter from the IEI stating your intentions. Before receiving the letter, you must first register for the next term.. Stop by the front desk during office hours.
- Travel outside U.S. and transferring to another program: If you are traveling outside the U.S. after the IEI term and returning to another program for the next term, you will need to reenter the U.S. on the I-20 issued by the new school.
- Travel outside and NOT returning to U.S. to study: Do not make plans to travel outside the United States after the IEI term unless you are going directly home from your trip. You cannot reenter the U.S. on an F1 visa UNLESS you are going to continue studying. However, if you have a valid tourist visa (B2), you can reenter on that visa.
If you are traveling outside the U.S. during the semester – that is, during Thanksgiving or spring breaks, please request a letter of attendance to carry with you. If you have to travel outside the U.S. for other reasons during the semester, please inform the international student advisor.