Loyola University Chicago

International Student and Scholar Services

Maintaining Your F-1 Status

Basic Requirements

  • Visit OIP within the first week of classes to have your documents copied and to report your local address. You will be registered in SEVIS to remain in legal F-1 status.
  • Maintain a valid passport at all times, unless exempt from passport requirements.
  • Attend the college/university that USCIS has authorized you to attend.

Enrollment Requirements

You must be enrolled in a full course of study during normal enrollment periods. For the definition of full-time enrollment for your program and for exemptions to enrollment requirements, see Enrollment Requirements.

Form I-20

Always keep your I-20 current. Your I-20 has an expiration date indicated at item #5. If you need additional time beyond this date to complete your program of study, please see below for information about program extensions. If you have completed your program of study, you have 60 days to legally remain in the US beyond the expiration date of your I-20 (or beyond the completion date of your program, whichever is earlier). This 60-day period is known as your "grace period." During the grace period, you can change to a new degree program, transfer to a new school, or prepare to depart the US.

Request a new Form I-20 when changing your academic program from one degree level to another (e.g., from bachelor's to master's level), one school to another (e.g., from the School of Medicine to the School of Business), or one major/field of study to another (e.g., from chemistry to physics). You must notify OIP as soon as you know about your program change, but not later than 2 weeks after the change has gone into effect.

You should retain all of your original I-20s. If you apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), an H-1B work visa or adjustment of status, you will be asked to produce copies of these documents.

Note: Your I-20 and your visa are two entirely different documents. While your I-20 needs to remain valid while studying in the United States, your visa does not. Your visa is an entry document to the US and does not need to be renewed as long as you remain in the US. For more information about travel documents and visa renewal, see Travel Instructions.

Change of Address or Name

Report any change of local address or residence and/or any change of name by updating LOCUS within 10 days of the change. OIP will receive the information from LOCUS and then electronically notify USCIS of the change within 21 days, as required by immigration regulations. For more information, see Change of Address.


Notify OIP prior to traveling outside the US so that the Form I-20 can be endorsed for travel or a new form can be issued, if required. If you anticipate that your absence from the US will be 5 months or longer, rather than obtain a travel signature on your current I-20, you will need a new I-20 for initial attendance in order to re-enter the US. For more information, see Travel Instructions.


Notify OIP of any accompanying dependents who will be in F-2 status and provide biographical information (full name, date of birth, address, city and country of birth, and country of citizenship) and immigration information (e.g., passport information, visa information) regarding those dependents. OIP is required to report information to USCIS regarding your dependents and to issue a Form I-20 for each dependent. For more information, see Dependents in F-2 Status.


You are not allowed to work in the US without authorization. F-1 students are allowed to work on campus up to 20 hours per week when school is in session. You are only permitted to work off-campus if you obtain prior authorization from OIP and/or US Citizenship and Immigration Services. For more information about F-1 employment regulations, see Employment Options for F-1 Students.


International students and their dependents are required to file federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax forms each year. Filing deadline is April 15. All F-1s and F-2s must file the 8843. If you have earned income, you are also required to file the 1040NR-EZ, 1040NR, or in a few cases, the 1040. It is also recommended that you file these additional forms, even if you are not required to, to demonstrate your compliance with federal regulations if you think you might ever wish to apply to adjust your status to that of Permanent Resident. For more information about filing fax forms, see Taxes.

Transferring Schools

Complete an official immigration transfer whenever you change educational institutions. The US immigration service has set specific timeframes necessary for completing "transfer out" procedures as well as "transfer in" procedures. For more detailed information about the transfer process, please see Transferring to a New School or Transferring to Loyola.

Program Extension

Apply for an extension of your program of study prior to the expiration date (item #5) on your Form I-20 if you cannot complete your program by that date. Requests for extensions should be submitted at least 30-60 days prior to the expiration date of your Form I-20 so the extension process can be completed prior to the expiration date on the document. To apply for an extension, please see the more detailed Program Extension page.

Reinstatement to F-1 Status

F-1 students may lose his or her legal status in a number of ways. To see Conditions for Reinstatement and Application procedures please read more on our Reinstatement to F-1 Status page.


The Office for International Programs at Loyola uses SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) to report detailed information about its international students attending Loyola and their statuses. To learn more about information reported and SEVIS requirements, please visit our SEVIS page.