International Student Regulations (F-1 Visa)
Please remember that is the student's responsibility to follow the regulations of your F-1 status at all times. If you have any questions, contact the PDSO/ISA (International Student Advisor) at 731.661.5031 or make an appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The ISO will only use the official Union University email accounts set up for each student to notify you of any changes or information related to F-1 students. Please make sure that you check your UU student email account regularly!
The following rules apply to those in F-1 status and are expected to be followed. Failure to follow these procedures and regulations may result in negative ramifications to your F-1 visa status.
Entry and Exit from the USA:
Students may enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the start date on their I-20.
Students who withdraw from school with approval from the International Student Office have a 15 day grace period to leave the U.S. before they fall out of status.
If the ISO does not authorize the withdrawal, the student has no grace period to leave the U.S. and is immediately out of status.
Students may only take one class (3 credits) of distance learning per term toward their full-time status. Distance education is defined as a class that does not require physical attendance for classes, exams, or other purposes on the campus where it is offered.
Example: For a traditional undergraduate student, twelve semester hours is considered "full-time." Therefore, an F-1 international student may only take three of those hours through distance education. Basically, nine hours of every semester must be spent in traditional classroom education.
Reduced Course Load:
Students may take a reduced course load in their final term if only one or two classes are needed to complete the degree.
Students may reduce their course load below full time for 2 reasons: academic or medical. In both cases, they must first obtain authorization from the International Student Office before they drop any classes.
Academic reasons, such as initial difficulty with English or reading requirements, unfamiliarity with American teaching methods, or improper level placement, permit the International Student Office to authorize the student to reduce his/her course load to 6 hours for one term only. Such students must resume a full course load the next term, including summer.
Students who become ill may be authorized by the PDSO to reduce their course load or take no classes at all for up to 12 months per academic level. Such students must provide the ISO with a letter from a licensed Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, or a licensed Clinical Psychologist before dropping courses. The PDSO must re-authorize reduced course load for illness before each term begins with new documentation from the medical provider.
Students must notify the PDSO at the beginning of the term in which they return to class full time after taking a reduced course load to avoid falling out of status.
Students must notify the PDSO of a new address or new name within 10 days after the change. Failing to report such a change within the 10-day time frame is a violation of F-1 status. Within 21 days of the student notifying the ISO, the International student advisor must update the change in SEVIS.
Students must provide physical address unless it is impossible to receive mail there.
If students provide a mailing address, they must also provide their physical home address.
Union University must report to INS within 21 days of the occurrence:
- students who fail to maintain status or complete program
- students address/name change
- students graduating prior to I-20 end date
- disciplinary action taken against students convicted of a crime
- any other request made by SEVIS re: student's status
Each term, no later than 30 days after registration ends, Union University must report to INS:
- if students are enrolled, dropped below full-time course of study without DSO authorization, or failed to enroll
- current address of all enrolled students
- start date of next term
Students must apply for an extension of their I-20 prior to current I-20 end date.
No extension may be granted if students do not request an extension prior to the current I-20 end date.
Extensions may be granted at any time prior to the I-20 end date.
Your current I-20 continues to be valid based upon the signature at the bottom of the I-20. It is your responsibility to report any change in your program of study, program end date, change in funding, etc. Again, all these changes must be reported to the ISO within 10 days of the change occurring.
Students wishing to transfer should notify the ISO of the date they wish to transfer and the name and location of the new school.
Upon completion of a degree program, students may remain in the U.S. for up to a maximum of 5 months when transferring to a new degree program. Students who have fallen out of status are ineligible for transfer; they must either apply for reinstatement from INS or depart and re-enter the United States with an initial I-20 for a new program.
Reinstatement applications to INS must be filed within 5 months of the status violation, unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated by the student.
The status violation must have resulted from circumstances beyond the students control - which may include injury, illness, closure of school, natural disaster, or oversight or neglect on the part of the ISO.
If the student has been employed without authorization, no reinstatement is possible.
On-campus employment may not begin earlier than 30 days prior to classes starting.
Students may get 12 months of Optional Practical Training at each higher degree level.
Students may apply for post-completion OPT no earlier than 90 days before completion of all degree requirements and no later than 60 days from the program completion date. In order to apply for OPT, please make an appointment with your PDSO.
OPT is automatically terminated when a students transfers to another school or begin study at a different academic level.
Students on OPT must report any change of name/address and interruption of employment to ISO for the duration of authorized OPT or fall out of status. Students are required to report the name and address of their employer to the PDSO. Students must also report the end date of employment to the PDSO. Unemployment for 90 days or more during OPT may result in the cancelation of OPT by SEVIS, thus causing the student to be out of status.