Maintaining Your Status

Current Student FAQ

Can I drop below full-time?

No. To maintain your immigration status, you are required to be enrolled full-time during the Fall and Spring semesters and Summer if it is your first semester (6 credit hours for graduate students and 9 credit hours for undergraduate students). Please meet with an International Services Advisor if you feel that dropping below full-time is necessary to discuss options and implications for your immigration status. NOTE: If you drop without permission, you risk status termination.

What happens if my visa expires?

A visa is an “entry document.” It is used to enter the U.S. If it expires in the U.S. you do not need to be concerned as long as you are maintaining your status, your I-94 is marked D/S, and your I-20 or DS-2019 is valid. However, if you leave the U.S., you must obtain a new visa at a U.S. Embassy outside of the U.S. before re-entering.

I’m an F-1 student. Can I work off campus?

Generally, F-1 students are only allowed to work on campus for 20 hours per week during the Fall and Spring semesters (40 hours during breaks and annual vacation). Please see the information on our website about Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training if you are interested in gaining off campus work experience in your field of study. If you have had a severe, unforeseen circumstance that has resulted in a loss of funding as listed on your I-20, you may talk to an International Services Advisor about the possibility of Economic Hardship work authorization.

What do I need to do if I want to travel outside the U.S.?

Be sure that your visa is valid. Have your I-20 or DS-2019 signed by an International Services Advisor If you plan to travel to a country other than your home country, contact the embassy or consulate of the country that you wish to visit. You will find a list of embassies in Washington D.C. at

What happens if my I-20 or DS-2019 expires and I have not completed my program of study?

You would be considered out of status with immigration. DO NOT let these documents expire. Please check your end date at the beginning of each semester. If you need additional time to complete your program of study, you will need to complete an Extension Request form for F-1 students or USF Extension of Stay Request for J-1 students. If you notice that your I-20 or DS-2019 has expired, see an International Services Advisor immediately.

Are there scholarships available for international students?

There are many different types of scholarships available. Please see the Financial Aid website to search for scholarships for which you may be eligible to apply. 

How do I get in-state tuition?

Students in their first term need to go through Admissions. After the first term, the Registrar’s office makes all decisions regarding Residency Classification for tuition paying purposes. Please visit their website for additional information.

Is there a problem if my I-94 does not say D/S?

YES. D/S means duration of status and all F-1 and J-1 students must have an I-94 with this annotation. If you do not, please see an International Services Advisor immediately. International Services recommends that you bring a copy of your I-94 after each trip outside of the U.S.

Can I drop a course from a previous semester?

If dropping a course from a previous semester will put you below full-time for that semester, you should not drop without first speaking with an International Services Advisor. Retroactively withdrawing can have serious consequences for your immigration status. Additionally, students with scholarships who fall below 30 credit hours in an academic year will have the award revoked.

Do I need to enroll for the Summer?

If you have maintained your F-1 status and intend to continue your current program and register for the next (Fall) term, Summer is considered your annual vacation. In this case, immigration regulations do not require that you enroll during the summer. 


  • F-1 students beginning a new program in the Summer term must enroll full-time for that summer session.
  • F-1 students graduating in a Summer term must enroll in their remaining courses and may not take all online credits.