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International Student Services

Rules F-1 and J-1 Students MUST follow to Maintain Legal Status

As an International student, you are required by United States law to abide by immigration regulations throughout your stay in the U.S. Even if your visa is valid, you can lose your F1 or J1 status if you do not comply with immigration regulations. The penalties for violations of immigration law can be severe, so it is essential that you to understand your responsibilities.

Below is an overview of regulations you must follow in order to maintain your legal status. Knowing these rules is absolutely vital to your ability to remain in the U.S. and to complete your academic program.

• Attend the school (Rowan University!) that you are authorized to attend by DHS.

• Report a change of address to the International Center within 10 days of any change.

• Maintain registration as a full-time student every Fall and Spring semester (minimum of 12 credits for undergraduate students, or 9 credits for graduate students).

• Apply for an extension of your program at least 30 days prior to the program end date if you cannot complete your degree by this time. (Be sure to apply for extensions of stay at least one month before the document expires. )

• Keep your I-20 or DS-2019 form correct and valid at all times. See the International Center for a new I-20/DS-2019 if any information changes.

• Maintain a valid passport throughout your stay in the U.S.

• Request a travel endorsement on your I-20 from the International Center before leaving the United States.

• Complete necessary "immigration transfer procedures" if changing from one school to another in the U.S. (even if you completed the program at the prior school). Contact the International Center for details.

• Observe the “grace period” upon completion of studies. This means that if you are an F-1 student in good-standing, you have 60 days from the end of your program to do one of the following things; and if you are a J-1 student, you have 30 days from the end of your program to do one of the following things:

  • Leave the U.S.
  • Get a new "Certificate of Eligibility" (I-20 or DS-2019 form) for a new program or school and enroll in the next possible semester (consult an advisor for details).
  • Apply for a change to another immigration status.

If you leave before completing your program, you do NOT have this “grace period” - please speak with the International Center for details.

• You may work off campus only if you have received written authorization in advance from the International Center and United States Customs & Immigration Service (USCIS).

• Work on campus is limited to part-time (20 hours per week or less) while school is in session and full-time (40 hours or less per week) during semester breaks.

• Consult with the International Center before taking a leave of absence, withdrawing from classes, or dropping below the required number of credits. Students who terminate their program or otherwise fall out of legal status before completing do not have a 60-day grace period to leave the U.S., they must leave immediately!

• All international students are required to complete and submit U.S. tax forms to the federal government every year regardless of whether or not they earned any money in the U.S.

• J-1 students are required by the U.S. federal government to have health insurance coverage that meets specific requirements (please check the literature that came with your DS-2019 form to make sure that your insurance meets these requirements)

• Some foreign visitors may be subjected to a national registry upon entry to the United States. This is known as “special registration.” If you are subject to Special Registration, you must comply with special registration procedures every time you enter or leave the U.S. You know you have been registered if a Fingerprint Identification Number (FIN#) has been written on your passport, visa or I-94, or if you were given “walk away materials” at the Port of Entry to the U.S. Ask the Inernational Center if you are not sure if you have this requirement.