F-1 Immigration Responsibilities

During your stay in the U.S. in F-1 status, you are subject to many complex immigration law and regulations that relate to your legal status here. Advisors at ISSS are available to assist you and answer your questions about your immigration status, but it is your responsibility to know and abide by the law in order to maintain valid legal status. It is to your benefit to make sure to maintain legal status throughout the duration of your stay in the U.S.

As an international student, please make sure you are following these rules:

Documentation and personal information

  • Possess a passport that is valid at all times.
  • Report promptly any change of address by updating your information at MyFIU. Make sure to update the Home address.
  • Always verify the Foreign Address in your record as well.

Enrollment requirements

  • Attend the school/institution you were authorized to attend.
  • Be registered full-time for each academic semester as defined by USCIS. For undergraduate students, this means registration for, and completion of, at least 12 credits per academic semester (fall and spring semesters), and for graduate students, this means registration for, and completion of, at least 9 graduate-level credits per academic semester. NOTE: You are not required to be registered for classes during the summer unless you have been admitted to FIU for the summer term or completing degree by end of summer term.
  • Register for no more than three (3) fully on-line credits as part of your required full time enrollment. Undergraduate students may enroll for no more than 3 of their required 12 credits each term. Graduate students may enroll for no more than 3 of their required 9 credits each term. If approved for a reduced course load on your final term, you must enroll for at least one three credit in-person class. NOTE: Hybrid classes do not count as on-line classes.

Academic standing

  • Maintain good academic standing as per University policy (includes maintaining a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of at least a 2.0 for undergraduate students and at least a 3.0 for graduate students) and make normal progress towards completing your degree (which includes completion of at least 12 credits each fall or spring semester for undergraduate students and at least 9 credits for graduate students).
  • If you get dismissed from your program of studies, you should contact our office immediately. We will assist in the appeal process. If the request is denied you will not be allowed to enroll at FIU for the upcoming semester. In order to keep your F-1 or J-1 status, you will have to make plans to transfer to another institution to continue your studies. If your dismissal is official and you have not transferred to another institution, your I-20 will be terminated and you will have to leave the US as soon as possible. You can find more information on dismissal and appeal policies.

Transferring your I-20

  • Follow appropriate procedures to notify USCIS if you transfer schools or if you change from one educational level to another. Transfer procedure must be completed within 15 days from start of term.

Program/I-20 extension

  • File for a Program Extension in a timely manner if you must remain in the U.S. longer than the time estimated for completion of your program as stated on your I-20.
  • Check your documents to be sure they are in order before leaving the U.S., even for a brief trip, and be sure to have the proper documents to re-enter the U.S.
  • Limit on-campus employment or any authorized off-campus employment to a total of 20 hours per week during the academic semester.


  • Obtain proper authorization before engaging in any off-campus employment whether the employment is paid or non-paid. (Working without proper authorization constitutes illegal employment, an offense that can lead to deportation.)
  • Refrain from any on-campus employment if/while you are out-of-status.
  • ALWAYS check with the ISSS BEFORE you engage in anything resembling employment, internships, co-op experience, whether paid or unpaid. Avoid putting your immigration status at risk!
  • If you register for a course that consists of an internship, any kind of employment on or off campus, co-op experience, paid or unpaid, or that it has the word “internship” in the name of the course. you MUST visit the ISSS Office IMMEDIATELY to obtain approval. Failure to do so may lead to very serious violations of immigration policies.

Reinstating your status

  • File for a reinstatement in a timely manner if you have fallen out-of-status.