F-1 Status


All non-immigrants in the United States are required to have a valid passport at all times. A valid passport is a legal document issued by the home country of a nonimmigrant that permits travel to U.S. along with a valid visa. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future. Please note that a valid passport does not guarantee entry into the United States; however, a valid passport along with other required immigration documents enables a nonimmigrant to travel to the U.S. point of entry to attempt entry into the United States. As a nonimmigrant, you must adhere to the terms associated with your visa type.

A valid and current passport is required for all F-1 and J-1 students. Failure to have a valid passport could impact your immigration status.

How do I renew my passport?
  • You may renew your passport inside the United States at the local Embassy or consulate of your home country or at an Embassy outside of the United States. You must contact your Embassy or consulate for specific instructions on how to renew your passport.
  • Students with a valid, unexpired visa in their expired passport may still use that visa if they have the old passport. Students must remember to carry and present the old passport along with the new passport when traveling.
  • For a list of foreign consular offices in the United States, visit the website of your home country’s diplomatic mission or the U.S. Department of State website at http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/fco/.


What to do after Renewing your Passport
  • You should notify ISS that you have renewed your passport as soon as possible after receiving the renewed passport.
  • To update your passport information with ISS, submit a copy of your renewed passport in the ISS Portal. Once received, ISS will update your passport information in your student immigration file. For more information on how to use the ISS Portal, click here.
  • ISS monitors the passport information of our current students each semester. If it is discovered that your passport is expired—or soon to be expired—ISS will contact you for more information regarding the status of your passport renewal. If the passport of an F-1 or J-1 student has already expired, a registration hold will be placed on that student’s account until ISS receives a copy of the renewed passport. It is best to be proactive and submit a copy of your renewed passport when you receive it to avoid having a hold placed on your account.

Federal regulations allow F-1 students to work on the premises of the school that issued their currently valid I-20 or DS-2019 if they are in good standing at that school and they are maintaining legal non-immigrant status.Click here for more details.
There are two types of practical training available to F-1 students:

Curricular Practical Training : CPT must be an integral part of a student's degree plan and can only be done before graduation.

Optional Practical Training: OPT is not an integral part of a student's degree plan. However, OPT must be related to the student's field of study and commensurate with the education level. OPT can be done before or after graduation.
If you change your degree level, you must get a new I-20 prior to the 15th class day of the semester or before you leave the U.S. Proof of financial resources are required to apply for an Change of Education Level. Refer to the Financial Resources section of our web site for more information and the Change of Education Level Handout.
An F-1 student can co-enroll in two schools. Please read the instructions and fill out the co-enrollment handout.
Students requesting permission to attend classes at another university during a vacation, while remaining an F-1 student at Texas A&M University should complete and submit Other School Enrollment Form .
Students who are unable to graduate by the expiration date of their I-20 will need to submit paperwork for an extension of stay. Proof of financial resources are required to apply for an extension of stay. Refer to the Financial Resources section of our web site for more information and the Extension of Stay Handout.

 
Any F-1 student who wishes to drop below full-time enrollment should complete the form below. The authorized exceptions to the full course of study requirement and the rules for reduced course load are included in this Reduced Course Load Handout.
Current Texas A&M students that would like to be released in SEVIS to transfer to another school or university in the U.S. need to complete the Transfer Release Form.
International students should not withdraw or take a leave of absence from Texas A&M University without first speaking with ISS about the consequences of this action. An Authorized Early Withdrawal form should be completed by all F-1 students who intend to withdraw or take a leave of absence from the University and depart the United States. Please schedule an appointment with an ISS advisor to submit or discuss the Authorized Early Withdrawal Form.

 
Travel
If you have plans to travel outside of the U.S., please make sure that your Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) is endorsed for travel before you leave and that the travel signature will still be valid upon re-entry.

Travel signatures on I-20s and DS-2019s are valid for one year, though it is recommended to have a signature no more than 6 months old if you will need to apply for a visa while abroad. Be sure to check your I-20 to see if it says "Initial" or "Transfer" instead of "Continuing Student." Only I-20s indicating "Continued attendance at this school" in item #3 should be signed for travel.

If you changed or are changing degree level or major, you must ask for a new I-20 from an ISS advisor prior to your departure from the U.S.

To request a travel signature please refer to the Travel Signature Request Form

Visa Renewal
If you will need a new U.S. visa in order to re-enter, please be aware that you may face delays in visa issuance from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Significant delays in visa issuance may occur if you are in certain technical fields of study OR are from one of the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates or Yemen.

Consulates and Embassies are more frequently conducting background checks on individuals from these countries and individuals in certain technical fields, resulting in significant delays in visa processing times. There might be processing delays up to 120 days to obtain new visasIf you are a citizen of one of these countries, or are in high tech fields, AND you need a new visa to re-enter, it is NOT ADVISABLE for you to travel. Please contact ISS if you have questions regarding this.

For additional resources please refer to the following pages:

F-1 students are eligible to invite their spouse or children to come to the United States as an F-2 dependent.

If the dependent is currently outside the United States please refer to the F-1 Invitation of Dependents Handout for a list of the documents to be submitted to the ISS office. Please refer to the Financial Resources page since Finances are required.

If the dependent is currently inside the United States in another visa category, the F-1 will need to schedule an appointment with an ISS adivsor to discuss the options regarding a change of status to F-2. For information regarding a change of status application please refer to the Change of Status to F-2 Handout.
If you believe that you have fallen out of F-1 immigration status please schedule an appointment to speak with an ISS advisor by calling our office at 979-845-1824. We recommend that you refer to the F-1 Reinstatement Handout for further information.

Individuals that would like to change their status to F-1 have the options to complete this by travel or by application in the United States. If you plan to change your status to F-1 you must schedule an appointment to speak with an ISS advisor. For additional information regarding this process please refer to the Change of Status to F-1 handout

For information regarding maintaining your F-1 immigration status we recommend that you refer to the following: