Maintaining Status
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F-1 Visa Info
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The F-1 Visa is for non-immigrants to enter the United Sates solely for the purpose of study and after completing studies the individual will return to the foreign country of permanent residence.

The university, after accepting a student, will send a Form I-20, which is then used to apply for an F-1 visa from an American consulate abroad. To be admitted to the US, it is necessary to have both the I-20 and F-1 visa passport stamp.

After being admitted to the U.S., you are eligible to remain in the U.S. as long as you are enrolled at UMSL or employed on OPT, and maintaining your status.

During your studies at UMSL, you must do the following in order to maintain your status:

  • Have a valid passport
  • Attend the school stated on the I-20
  • Enroll in a full course of study (12 credits for undergraduate, 9 credits for graduate) and make reasonable progress towards a degree
  • Follow certain procedures for: extension of stay, change of level, and institution transfer
  • Limit employment to 20 hours per week while school is in session, 40 hours otherwise
  • Refrain from off-campus employment without authorization
  • Report address changes within 10 days of the change.

If any of the changes are not followed and permission for an exception has not been granted, the student will be considered "out of status" and in violation of visa obligations. If you are in violation of status, go to the Reinstatement Section.

Dependents of Students in F-1 Status (F-2) F-2 dependents will be issued their own I-20 forms. A new SEVIS I-20 form is required for F-2 dependents when there has been a substantive change in the information for the F-1. Additionally, the F-2 may not be employed.

F-2 Study Regulations The new regulations prohibit full-time study by a dependent spouse or child of a student (i.e., those in F-2 status). Instead, these dependents must change to F-1 status to pursue this study at the university level. However, F-2 dependents will still be allowed to enroll in courses that are recreational or avocational in nature.

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Transfer of Schools
Regulations require that a student who wishes to transfer to a different school must notify the International Student Advisor at their current school that they intend to transfer. The student must specify the new school and present a letter or statement of admission to the new school. The International Student Advisor will update the student's SEVIS record with that information and the release date. The release date is the end of the current semester, or the expected date of transfer, whichever is earlier. At your request, an International Student Advisor may cancel or change the transfer request at any time prior to the release date. On the release date, UMSL will no longer be able to access your SEVIS record and can no longer change the SEVIS transfer.

In order to apply for a transfer to another college or university, please contact Lenka Garimella at for more information.

A student may transfer during the 60-day grace period after completion of studies at one school or after optional practical training. In fact, a transfer may occur after the 60-day grace period, so long as the student does not remain in the United States for longer than 5 months between programs. When the International Student Advisor initiates a transfer within the 60-day period following completion of studies, the 5-month period begins tolling on the date the program was completed, not the date the International Student Advisor initiated the transfer. So, the current school can indicate a release date that is the end of the current semester, or within 60 days beyond the end of the semester.

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Concurrent Enrollment
Students in good F-1 status at UM-St. Louis can take classes at another institution during the Fall and Winter semesters if they meet the following requirements:

  1. The student is fully-enrolled at UMSL (12 credits for undergraduate students, 9 credits for graduate students)
  2. The student has maintained valid F-1 status
  3. Attendance at the other school is with permission from International Student and Scholar Services at UM-St. Louis.

If you wish to apply for concurrent enrollment, please complete the Concurrent Enrollment form (PDF version) and submit it to the ISSS.

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F-1 Program Extension
You are eligible for an extension of stay if:

  • You are studying full-time at the institution listed on your I-20;
  • You can demonstrate funding for the period of your extension; and,
  • You are making satisfactory progress towards the completion of your educational program

You are not eligible for a program extension if any of the following applies:

a. you have not been studying on a full-time basis and did not have ISSS approval for part-time enrollment
b. your need for more time is due to an incomplete, withdrawal or failing grades
c. you have engaged in unauthorized employment or committed any other violation of F-1 regulations
d. you submit a late request for an extension

Your permission to stay in the US ends on the date listed on item 5 on your I-20. If you need to stay beyond the date listed on your I-20 and you meet the conditions outlined above, you will need to complete the extension application. If you would like to apply for a program extension, please complete contact us for the proper form.

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F-1 Reinstatement
Some of the reasons that an F-1 student may fall out of status include:

a. by not studying on a full-time basis or by failing to obtain prior ISSS approval for under-enrollment
b. by not making normal, full-time progress toward degree completion
c. by failing to apply for a program extension before the expiration of your I-20
d. if transferring from another institution, by failing to obtain or activate your UMSL I-20 within 15 days after the beginning of the semester
e. if starting another degree level at UMSL, by failing to obtain and activate a new I-20 reflecting your change of program or degree level within 15 days of beginning your new program.

Reinstatement through travel
If you are currently out of status, you may get back into status by traveling abroad and then re-entering the U.S. with a new I-20. If your documents are processed properly by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), you will be returned to status upon re-entry.

The disadvantage of this means of getting back into F-1 status is that the USCIS does not consider you to have been officially "reinstated." This distinction means that if you get back into status via travel you must wait nine months after re-entry to be eligible for practical training or off-campus work authorization.

Applying for a Reinstatement of Status with USCIS
If you are currently out of status and are unable to reinstate your status through travel as mentioned above, you may be eligible to reinstate by filing an application with USCIS. This is a complicated process and may require the services of an immigration attorney.

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