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Maintaining Your Visa Status

How do I maintain my status?
Although not a complete list, the following are the most important rules in maintaining your F-1 Visa status.

  • Start and finish each fall and spring semester as a full-time student
  • Complete each class with a grade of "C" or higher
  • Do not engage in any unauthorized employment
  • Notify the International Students Advisor within 10 days if your name, address or phone number changes

What happens if a student does not maintain status?
If a student violates his or her status, the student may apply to the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) for reinstatement if the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control, such as illness, injury or natural disaster. If a student has been out of status for more than five months, she or he many not apply for reinstatement, and may be required by the CIS to depart the United States.

What is full-time study?
Full-time study consists of a MINIMUM of 12 credit hours. As an International Student, only 3 of your 12 credit hours can be taken online.

What do the regulations say about work?
F-1 and M-1 students may work On-Campus up to 20 hours per week (if an On-Campus position is available) while school is in session, and more than 20 hours per week during the summer semester. Off-campus employment requires CIS authorization and approval before work begins. Currently, the Community College of Aurora does not offer on-campus hourly employment for students. Except under extreme circumstances, you will not be granted off-campus employment authorization until you have been in good standing for at least one year.

What are the approved reasons for a reduced course load?
The International Students Advisor may authorize a reduced course load for the following academic reasons:

1. student is having initial difficulty with American teaching methods;

2. student is having initial difficulty with the English language or reading requirements;

3. student was improperly placed in a particular course level; or

4. student is in the last quarter of the academic program and will graduate at the end of that particular quarter.

5. Students authorized for a reduced course load based on approved academic reasons must enroll for at least six credit hours during that semester.

I failed a class! What do I need to do if I will be at the Community College of Aurora beyond my estimated graduation date?
If you fail or repeat a class, you have two choices: 1. Take an extra class to catch-up (you could take an extra class in the spring or fall OR take a class in your optional summer term). 2. Submit a request in writing (to the International Students Advisor) that your program end date is extended by one semester. Use caution, however as extensions are not always granted by Immigration.

What is the rule on reduced course load based on medical reasons?
Students with medical problems are allowed to have a reduced course load, or enroll in no classes, for a maximum of one year. This medical problem should be documented by a medical professional and a copy placed in your file.


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