F-1 Student Basics | What is an F-1 Student Visa? | Maintaining F-1 Status
Changing Your Major | Program Completion | Program Extension
Academic Probation and Suspension | Change from Undergraduate to Graduate Level
F-1 Reinstatement Procedures | Downloadable Forms
The purpose of this section is to acquaint you with your responsibilities as an international student in the United States. As you are probably well aware, even though you are a citizen from another country, the laws of the United States apply to you during your studies at La Salle University. In fact, the International Education Coordinator at La Salle is the Designated School Official ultimately responsible for ensuring that international students meet the basic minimum requirements during their stay in the U.S.
By making you aware of your rights and responsibilities as an international student, we know that our working relationship can be one of mutual help and convenience while you attend La Salle. If at anytime during your academic career you are in need of assistance concerning your status as an international student, please come visit or schedule an appointment at the Multicultural and International Center (MIC) immediately, so that our staff can work with you to answer your questions or offer solutions to problems in the quickest possible manner. This resource will hopefully answer a majority of your questions and concerns for the duration of your stay with us.
After you gained acceptance to La Salle and provided proof of your ability to pay the required tuition, living expenses and related fees, you were issued a valid SEVIS Form I-20 which makes you eligible to apply for an F-1 visa to enter the United States as a full-time student. Unless you have a special circumstance or a relationship that allows you to study under another type of visa, you are considered an F-1 student.
Under U.S. law, an F-1 student is a non-immigrant studying full-time at a government-approved institution like La Salle University to attain an educational or professional objective such as a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree. Once you have obtained your degree or certification, the U.S. government expects you to return to your home country unless you have received special authorization from the government to continue residing in the U.S.
During your studies at La Salle University, you must meet specific requirements to maintain your F-1 visa. Fortunately, the requirements are simple and clear, but failure to do so can put you in jeopardy of falling out of status and your ability to attend La Salle. If you fail to maintain your F-1 status you will be required to either apply for reinstatement, which is costly, time-consuming, and may put you at risk of being deported from the United States or depart the US voluntarily and apply for a new F-1 visa.
The following information will help you remember your requirements as an F-1 student so that you can successfully maintain your F-1 student status throughout your career at La Salle.
1. Maintain a valid passport at all times.
2. Attend La Salle University as authorized on your visa and I-94 card. If you decide to transfer, you must speak with the International Education Coordinator prior to leaving LaSalle.
3. During fall and spring semesters, you must pursue a "full course of study" and maintain a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) as outlined by LaSalle.
• Undergraduates = at least 12 credit hours per semester
• Graduates = at least 6 credit hours per semester, unless otherwise designated by the academic program. For example: The full time MBA program requires at least 9 hours each semester.
Under special circumstances, F-1 students may drop below the full-time requirement of their academic program for the following reasons:
• Illness or medical condition
• Initial difficulty with the English language**
• Initial difficulty with reading requirements**
• Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods**
• Improper course level placement
• Final term of course study
**NOTE: CAN ONLY BE USED IN YOUR FIRST SEMESTER
If any of these circumstances applies to you during your time at La Salle, please make an appointment with the International Education Coordinator immediately. Official authorization is required to drop below a full course of study or withdraw from classes for any of these reasons.
4. Report any change of address within 10 days to the La Salle Registrar and the International Education Coordinator. Your address will be updated in the SEVIS system.
5. International students who commit any type of crime are required to report it to the International Education Coordinator or any other university official immediately. Driving violations, parking tickets, or minor fines do not apply.
6. Engage only in authorized employment under F-1 regulations.
7. Maintain health insurance coverage valid in the United States and provide evidence of coverage each semester to the Multicultural & International Center.
8. Complete your academic program by the completion date listed on your I-20. In order to extend your I-20 beyond the original date, you must speak with the International Education Coordinator. Extensions after the expiration date listed on your I-20 will NOT be granted.
Under F-1 status, you may change your major if necessary, but this change must be reflected in your I-20 as soon as possible. If you change your major, you must:
1. Meet with your academic advisor and follow the requirements for requesting a change of major through the university.
2. Once your request is approved, bring the official documentation and make an appointment with the International Education Coordinator to request a new I-20.
3. Sign your new I-20 and use it for all official purposes.
After you complete your studies at La Salle University, you have four options available to you under federal regulations.
1. Depart the U.S. within 60 days of the program completion date listed on your I-20.
2. Continue in F-1 status by pursuing further studies at La Salle or another school. If possible, arrangements should be made for this before program completion.
3. Apply for OPT before the program completion date.
4. Apply to change to another visa status within 60 days after program completion.
At the beginning of your final semester at La Salle University, the International Education Coordinator will schedule an appointment with you to fully explain these options and assist you with any applications or advice you may need.
You may qualify for a program extension as long as you meet the following requirements:
• Apply for the extension beforeyour program is scheduled to end on your I-20. An extension after the expiration date listed on your I-20 will NOT be granted.
• Continuously maintain F-1 status throughout your academic career at La Salle.
• The delay in completion is due to academic or medical reasons.
If you need a program extension, you must:
1. Obtain a letter from your academic department at La Salle explaining why a program extension is necessary.
2. Provide the letter and apply in advance of your program completion date with the International Education Coordinator to request a new I-20.
3. Sign your new I-20 and use it for all official purposes.
In the unfortunate event that you are placed on probation or suspended from La Salle, it can negatively affect your F-1 status also. As long as you are able to register for a full courseload, your F-1 status remains in effect. If you must fall below full-time or are unable to register for classes, your F-1 status will be in jeopardy. Please make an appointment immediately with the International Education Coordinator if you find yourself in this predicament.
If you plan to pursue a Master's, Doctoral, or Certification program at La Salle University after completing your undergraduate degree, you must:
• Apply for acceptance to the graduate or certification program in advance
• Inform the International Education Coordinator of your plans before the end of your undergraduate degree program
• Complete all requirements for your undergraduate degree program
• Request a new I-20 and use it for all official purposes
Before falling out of status, it is important to consider other options. For example, if you have health problems, you can be authorized to drop below full-time until your condition improves. However, the unpredictability of life may cause you to fall out of status. Should this happen to you, please contact or visit the International Education Coordinator immediately. Under certain circumstances, the USCIS will reinstate a student's visa, but the student must apply for reinstatement in a timely manner.
To receive approval for reinstatement, you must be able to prove the following:
• You have not been out of status for more than 5 months. Students out of status for more than 5 months must have exceptional circumstances that prevented them from applying for reinstatement sooner.
• No record of status violations
• Currently enrolled or seeking enrollment in the next possible semester
• No record of unauthorized employment
• You are not deportable on any other grounds besides the current status violation.
• Your status violation must either be caused by circumstances beyond your control or failure to apply in time for a reduced course load authorization from the International Education Coordinator.
Make an Appointment
Once you realize that you are out of status, it is important to contact the International Education Coordinator to discuss the situation. At your appointment, please bring the following information:
• All immigration documents including your valid passport, I-94, I-20s, and financial support statements.
• A personal letter to USCIS stating the following:
• Request for reinstatement of F-1 status
• Reasons for being out of status
• How not being reinstated would effect you
• Assurance that you are or will be pursuing full-time studies
• Verification that you were not engaging in unauthorized employment
Procedure for Applying for Reinstatement of F-1 Status
To file for Reinstatement of F-1 Status, you must obtain the following for USCIS:
• New Form SEVIS I-20-Request from International Education Coordinator at the Multicultural and International Center
• Copies of all previous I-20 Forms
• Complete Form I-539 Application to Extend Status/Change Nonimmigrant Status
I-539 Form | I-539 Instructions (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
• $300 Form I-539 Application Fee (payable to Department of Homeland Security by check, money order, or cashier's check)
• Letter from you requesting reinstatement to F-1 student status
• Documentation showing funding for your intended course of study
• Copy of Passport and I-94 Card
• Letter of Recommendation from International Education Coordinator or your Program Director to support your reinstatement
• Academic transcripts and proof of current or future enrollment in full-time studies
Gather all the information above, make photocopies for your records, and make and appointment with the International Education Coordinator
Denial and Penalties
Regardless of how convincing your case may be, a USCIS officer may disagree. If your application is denied, it cannot be appealed unless you have compelling reasons why your case should be reopened. Upon receiving notification of your denial, your visa is automatically canceled. You must exit the United States immediately.
If you feel that applying for reinstatement is too risky based on your circumstances, you may also choose to depart the U.S. with a new I-20 and apply for an F-1 visa as a "new" student at a U.S. Consulate in your home country or another country. During your application interview, consular officials will ask you questions regarding your previous stay in the U.S. Be prepared with documentation showing that you maintained status for a majority of your stay in the U.S.