International Community

How to Maintain Your F1 Status


 

Course Load

Don't jeopardize your chance to remain at Auburn Montgomery! You must take a full course load during the academic year in order to keep your nonimmigrant status. This means you must take at least:

    • Undergraduate Students: 12 credits (credit hours) per semester
    • Graduate Students: 9 credits (credit hours) per semester

 

Exceptions

To drop below full-time status during fall or spring semesters, you must request permission from the International Student Advisor (ISA). Schedule an appointment with the ISA before the semester begins or within the first three days of classes, and the advisor must complete a Reduced Course Load Form. If you drop below a full course of study without prior approval of the Office of the International Student Programs and Services, you will be considered out of status.

Change of Address

F-1 visa students must report their initial U.S. address and any subsequent change of address within 10 days of moving to the ISPS Office; students with other non-immigrant visas (H-1B, E-1, or E-2) should report a change of address to the Department of Homeland Security.
 
Note: Homeland Security requires that an AR-11 Form be completed and sent in for any address change. For Homeland Security purposes, your local address, as registered in AUM's Webster computer system, must be the physical location where you live and receive mail.
 
Passport Extension

You must make sure your passport does not expire when you are outside of your country. That can be a violation of status, so you must extend a passport before it expires. Six months before the passport will expire, contact your nearest consulate or embassy or check its Web site for instructions and forms you need to extend it. The United States government has a complete list of foreign embassies in the United States. Consulate locations are generally listed on each embassy's Web site.
 
Extension of I-20

The Department of Homeland Security expects F-1 students to complete their studies on or before the date listed on their I-20 and to either leave the U.S., start a new program at AUM, process a transfer to another university or file for a change of status within the 60 days of completing the course of study.
 
If you need more time, you will need to process an extension by asking your academic advisor to complete the Extension Form. This document should be given to an International Student Advisor so a new I-20 can be created and issued. You will then need a short appointment with the advisor to process the papers. When you go to the appointment, bring your old I-20.
 
Reinstatement of Status

If you violate your status or break an immigration law, meet with the International Student Advisor for assistance. It is best to understand the immigration laws that pertain to you and to follow them rather than to risk violating them and having to be reinstated. If you are out of status, you are ineligible for benefits such as on campus employment, graduate assistantships or practical training.
 
If you violate the terms of you status by:

    • Letting your Form I-20 expire without an extension
    • Not processing your transfer of schools on time
    • Falling below full-time status without prior approval

 

You need to apply to the Department of Homeland Security for reinstatement.
 
You cannot apply for reinstatement when the violation of status involves unauthorized employment. Some violations of status can result in an automatic void of your student visa and bar you from re-entering the country for a few years.
 
Please make an appointment to see the International Student Advisor by e-mailing rblaesin@aum.edu or calling 334-244-3578 to discuss whether or not reinstatement is the right step for you.
 
Once you and the advisor have decided reinstatement is possible, you will be asked to prepare the following documents and return them to the Office of International Student Programs and Services.

    • A letter from your advisor stating your major and the date you will graduate.
    • Proof that you have finances to cover your expenses for one year or until the graduation date (whichever is earlier).
    • Form I-539.
    • A copy of your original Form I-20.
    • A copy of the front and back of your I-94 card.
    • A copy of your passport identification page (with passport number, name and expiration date).
    • A check or money order for $300 made out to DHS. 
    • A formal letter from you to DHS explaining the circumstances of your situation. Clearly outline the circumstances under which you violated your status, mention that you have been in pursuit of a full course of study and that you haven't violated any other regulations. In addition you must prove that you have enough money to be here.