An F-1 student should maintain a valid passport at all times. Passport should be valid for at least six months into the future. Federal law does not allow a F-1 visa holder to enter the United States or to be employed in the United States if the passport is expired. Students should contact their consulate in the U.S. for passport renewal information. Here are addresses and telephone numbers for foreign consulates in the U.S.
International students and exchange visitors should understand the importance of maintaining their status while in the U.S. Failing to maintain status could result in serious consequences and may affect the ability to remain in or return to the United States.
St. Olaf College expects its students to pursue their studies full-time, attend their registered courses, and make satisfactory academic progress. Although not exhaustive, students are responsible for the following in order to maintain status:
- See the PDSO at the beginning of each semester to register in SEVIS.
- Maintain a full class load (minimum 3.0 St. Olaf course credits) at all times, attending and making progress toward completing the courses.
- Consult with the PDSO before travel outside the U.S. or change in enrollment status.
- Contact the PDSO before (but no later than 10 days after) change in major(s), address, withdrawal from St. Olaf, transfer to another school, extend or shorten the program of study, or experience significant changes in financial status.
- Abstain from any unauthorized on or off-campus employment.
- Adhere to all U.S. laws while in the U.S. (Consult Caitlin Lamont Kreienkamp for information on the latest regulations and procedures).
Immigration regulations require that all F-1 students register for and complete a full course of study every term. If you wish to enroll for less than a full course of study, you must have approval from the PDSO before the semester begins. If you take less than a full course of study without approval from the PDSO, you will lose your F-1 status.
- 3 credit minimum per semester + completion of 3 Interims <–First-year Interim is MANDATORY
- Summer Session Enrollment:
- Continuing students are not required to enroll during summer, and there is no full course of study minimum for the summer session.
- Students admitted to begin a program in the summer MUST enroll full-time during the summer of admission.
- Online and Distance Learning (ODL) courses are limited for F-1 students. Students with F-1 status may count a maximum of 1 ODL course per semester toward their full course requirement, and the ODL course must be taken in conjunction with at least one other in-person course to remain in status (ie. F-1 students cannot register only for an ODL course).
- Audited courses do NOT count toward your full course of study requirement, as they are not credit bearing.
International students are expected to complete all courses, including those taken online, during the semester for which they are registered. Extended-term courses and incomplete courses do not count toward the full course of study credit minimum in any semester other than the one in which you registered for it, as indicated by your transcript.
Violation of Legal Status/SEVIS Termination
Violation of F-1 visa regulations results in the loss of legal status in the U.S. Consequences include, but are not limited to:
- Ineligible to work on-campus
- Ineligible to apply for or pursue CPT/OPT
- Ineligible to receive a Transfer Recommendation to attend a new school
- Ineligible to apply to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for a change of visa status
Regaining F-1 Legal Status
It is important that students discuss legal status issues with the PDSO. There are two ways in which a student may be able to regain legal F-1 status:
- Reinstatement of Legal Status Application to DHS
- Re-entry into the U.S. with a new “initial admit” I-20
Students who are Reinstated by DHS or who re-enter with an “initial admit” I-20, will be required to enroll as a full-time student for at least one academic year before becoming eligible to apply for off-campus work (CPT/OPT).
DHS Declaration of Unlawful Presence
If a DHS official or an immigration judge declares an individual to be unlawfully present in the United States as a result of the Visa Overstay, the unlawful presence will begin on the date of the DHS decision – not necessarily the date the individual violated his/her status.
Unlawful presence will have an effect on future eligibility for entry into the United States:
- Individuals who have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 180 continuous days but less than one year are barred from admission to the U.S. (under any visa type) for a period of 3 years from the date of departure.
- Individuals who have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for one year or longer are barred from admission to the U.S. (under any visa type) for a period of 10 years.