The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for F-1 students and the Department of State (DOS) for J-1 students each have regulations regarding how to maintain visa status. As long as you continually meet these obligations, you will be considered “in status” or “maintaining your visa status.” International Student Advisors are available to answer questions and assist you with maintaining your status; however, it is your responsibility to know and follow the regulations.

All forms for making requests or updates can be found on the OIS Forms Page. A brief overview of how to maintain your visa status is provided below and in the following pages. You may also find the information included in this presentation helpful.

Keep your I-20/DS-2019 Up-to-Date

It is important to keep your I-20/DS-2019 up-to-date. These changes require you to work with OIS to update your document:

  • Change of Major

  • Change of Degree Level

  • Change in Funding

  • Change in Biographical Information (citizenship, name, gender, etc.)

  • Employment Information

  • Changes in Enrollment Status

  • Any other information included on your I-20/DS-2019

Helpful Tips

  1. Your passport should have at least 6 months of validity at all times. Contact your Embassy to renew or extend your passport.

  2. Update all US address changes through within 10 days of any move.

  3. Health insurance is required for all OSU students and their dependents.

  4. In order to change your major on your I-20, you must first receive approval from the Office of the Registrar or the Graduate School.

  5. Register for a full course of study each term.

  6. ALL employment is highly regulated, please review our website and receive authorization before accepting any employment.

  7. Review travel information and obtain the necessary documents before traveling outside the US.

  8. Transfers between OSU and another US school require a new I-20.

  9. Request a program extension before the end date listed on your I-20/DS-2019 if you need more time to finish your degree.

  10. Students who complete a degree program are allowed a grace period (F-1s = 60 days; J-1s = 30 days) starting from the last day of the final term of registration to remain in the US.

  11. All international students’ SEVIS records are monitored by the US Department of Homeland Security and therefore you may be contacted at any time regarding your immigration status. Please speak with OIS if you are contacted by an immigration official.

Failure to Maintain Status

In cases where students do not maintain their immigration status, there may be some options available to help students regain valid F-1 and J-1 status. However, please note that falling out of valid immigration status may require you to submit an application to the US government or travel outside the US and re-enter with new documents. In all cases, it can be a stressful and potentially expensive process, and may impact a student’s ability to complete their program. Please make an appointment with an International Student Advisor if you have any questions about specific situations and how they may impact your immigration status. Any emails from OIS regarding a SEVIS termination should be taken very seriously and responded to immediately.