It is very important for international students to stay in lawful immigration status at all times. The Coordinator of International Programs provides information and advices on immigration-related issues, but it is your responsibility as an F-1 or J-1 student and visiting scholars to stay informed about immigration regulations and maintaining your status.
If you fall out of lawful immigration status, you may have serious problems with U.S. Immigration. As a result, you may have problems obtaining any U.S. visas or entering the U.S. in the future. If you fall out of status while you are in the U.S, you will not be eligible for any F-1 benefits, including employment authorization. In some cases, being out of status may result in you being put in removal procedures (deportation).
Immigration rules change frequently, and it is your responsibility to read ALL emails from the International Student Coordinator and stay in close contact with our office throughout your studies at LSUA.
Maintaining Full-Time Enrollment
F-1 and J-1 students are required to be enrolled full-time every fall and spring semester. Summer semester enrollment is optional. "Full-time", means 12 credit hours. At least 9 credit hours must be in physical presence.
Immigration rules do not specify that all the classes an F-1 student is enrolled in must be related to the student’s major. A distance or an online education course is defined as a course that does not require the student’s physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class. Students must enroll in physical presence (non-distance education) courses(s) during their semester before graduate.
The exception to the full-time enrollment requirement is a case of a student in his/her final semester of enrollment at LSU who needs less than full course load to complete his/her degree requirement. In such a case the student must officially file for graduation prior to enrolling part-time. International Programs’ office cannot authorize part-time enrollment unless the student’s graduation date is posted in the LSUA system.
If you are considering part-time enrollment for any other reason, please contact Coordinator of International Programs. F-1 students may not drop below a full course of study without prior advising from Coordinator of International Programs.
Maintaining a Valid I-20 Form
YourI-20 must be valid and accurate at all times. You must request a new updated I-20 If your I-20 is going to expire before you complete your program of studies. You must apply for an extension at least two weeks prior to the expiration date. Click here to learn more
An F-1 student who is unable to meet the program completion date on the I-20 may be granted an extension only if the student has continually maintained status and the delays were caused by compelling academic such as changes of major or medical reasons. Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable for program extensions.
If a student does not apply for an extension of his or her I-20 until after the program end date noted on the I-20, the student is out of status and must apply for reinstatement (application to attempt to regain lawful status). An F-1 student who is unable to complete the educational program within the time listed on the I-20 and who is ineligible for program extension is also considered out of status. If eligible, the student may apply for reinstatement.