Maintaining Legal Status
There are basic requirements for maintaining student status in the United States. It is very important that international students follow the guidelines listed below to ensure they remain in good standing with the USCIS:
- Keep your passport valid at all times.
- Attend the school on your I-20.
- Maintain full time enrollment each semester (12 credits minimum).
- Do not go beyond the completion of studies date (Item 5) on the I-20. If you need more time to complete your studies, you may request a program extension. You must do this at least 30 days before the expiration date of your I-20. The International Student Coordinator can help you file an extension request. If the completion of studies expires and you have not requested an extension, you are considered out of status with INS and must apply for reinstatement. Reinstatement is expensive and your request could be denied. It is much better to apply for an extension and to do so costs nothing but a bit of your time.
- Contact the International Student Coordinator before you change your major or degree level, so that you can obtain a new I-20 to reflect your current situation.
- If you begin a program at another school make sure the transfer process is completed. Visit the International student office at the new school to obtain a new I-20 and tell the advisor that you are a transfer student. The new school should take care of the rest.
- Do not work without seeking proper employment permission from INS. Or, if you are working on campus, limit employment to 20 hours per week while school is in session.
- Report a change of address and/or phone number to the International Student Coordinator.
- File Federal and State tax returns each year even if you have earned no income. You will receive information about how to do this from this office.
When to see the International Student Coordinator:
- Before changing major or degree level.
- Before dropping below full time for any reason.
- When you are interested in work opportunities.
- To report change of address and/or phone number.
- To report a name change.
- Before you leave the United States for any reason.
- If you change to another visa status.
- If you apply for permanent residency.
- During your last semester at Midlands Technical College.
- Before you transfer to another school.