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Immigration Requirements for F-1 Students

Students in F-1 status are responsible for learning, understanding, and complying with U.S. federal laws and regulations governing the F-1 visa. Failure to do so will violate the student's legal status in the United States. Summaries for many of the rules and regulations for F-1 students can be found on the third page of the Form I-20.

Report any address changes to International Students & Scholars Services (ISSS) within 10 days. ( Change of Address Form)

U.S. federal regulations require all F-1 students to report a change of address within 10 days (of the address change) to an international student advisor in ISSS. The U.S. federal government requires international students to report directly to ISSS. ISSS is required to provide this and other data to the federal government electronically. No other university office is authorized by the federal government to process this data.

Obtain prior authorization from ISSS to drop below a full course of study

To maintain in good standing with your student status at WVU you must take at least 12 credit hours per the fall/spring semesters at the undergraduate level and meet all the WVU requirements. At the graduate level full course of study is defined by your college but usually 9 credit hours per the fall/spring semesters. Please note: If you begin your studies at the beginning of the summer semester (May), you must be enrolled full-time for the summer semester (12 credit hours for undergraduate & 9 credit hours for graduate). If you begin your studies during the second half of summer, you must be enrolled for 6 credit hours undergraduate/graduate to be considered full-time.

Report departure date and reason to ISSS

Sometimes, and for a variety of reasons, students leave the university early or unexpectedly. Some of these reasons include early graduation, completion of practical training, leave of absence, suspension, or expulsion. U.S. federal  regulations require F-1 students to inform their International Student Advisor in ISSS if they plan to leave the university before the expiration date of their I-20 form as well as the reason for doing so.

Report changes in program to ISSS

Students must notify ISSS whenever there is a change in their academic program or program dates.

Abide by employment regulations

F-1 students may work no more than 20 hours per week on-campus while school is in session. These 20 hours include the work you do for an assistantship if you have one. You are not permitted to work off-campus without PRIOR authorization.

Apply for an extension prior to the I-20 expiration

All students must apply for an extension before their I-20 form expires if they intend to stay at WVU. To apply, you must submit financial documentation evidencing your ability to continue your studies and a letter from your academic advisor. The official letter should:

  • be on department letterhead and signed by your academic advisor
  • provide a description of the academic reasons why the student's program could not be completed within the allotted time
  • specify an expected date of completion of the student's program
  • if the need for an extension is due to medical reasons, an additional letter from an MD/DO/Licensed Clinical Psychologist explaining the situation will need to be provided

Receive transfer authorization prior to leaving WVU

Students must receive authorization from ISSS before leaving WVU in order to transfer to another institution. You must maintain your status at the school that holds your SEVIS record.

Depart the U.S. within 60-day grace period

F-1 visa holders must depart the U.S. within 60 days of their I-20 expiration date or upon completion of their degree program (if not applying for practical training), whichever is earlier.

Obtain a travel signature prior to departing the U.S.

You should obtain a signature from an ISSS International Student Advisor on the I-20 form prior to traveling outside the U.S. if you plan on returning to continue your studies.