Staying in Status
Basic Checklist for Maintaining Your Status
- Keep your passport valid for a period of no less than six months in the future.
- Enroll in a full course of study each fall and spring semester. Summer school is optional, unless it is your first term of study. A full course of study is at least 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and at least 9 credit hours for graduate students. Students in the Intensive English Program (ESL) must take a minimum of 18 clock hours of classes per week.
- Be authorized on your I-20 to attend Xavier University.
- Not engage in off-campus employment without written approval from your Designated School Official (DSO).
- Provide a current home address and telephone number and report any new address and phone number to the Center for International Education within 10 days of whenever you move.
Reduced Course Load (RCL)
There are some circumstances when you are able to drop below a full course of study:
- Illness or Medical Condition: You will need to show proof of your illness with a note from a medical doctor or licensed counselor.
- Academic Issues: Assessed on an individual basis by the CIE and your academic department/dean.
- Complete your Course Work: Only if it is your last semester at Xavier University.
In order to be considered for RCL you and your academic advisor must fill out the Reduced Course Load Request Form and return it to the Center for International Education before dropping your courses. Once the completed RCL form has been submitted, the Center for International Education will decide whether you are eligible to drop below a full course of study and notify you via e-mail.
Required Immigration Reporting
All changes including a new address, new name, changes an I-20 and others, must be reported to the CIE by submitting a SEVIS Update Form. For financial and name changes you will have to provide documentation demonstrating the change.
Students must always report changes to the CIE for the following types of information:
- Changes to your current U.S. address: For immigration reporting purposes we need both your physical and your mailing address if they are different. When you move, including moves from one Xavier residence hall to another, moves from a residence hall to an address off-campus, moves from one off-campus address to another, or even if you are just changing your room number you must report your new address to your International Student Advisor within 10 days of the move. You must report ALL address changes even if they are temporary. Your International Student Advisor will update your SEVIS record with your new address. Failure to provide a current address can result in a loss of your F-1 status.
- Changes to your current home country address: If your permanent address in your home country changes you must inform your International Student Advisor of the new address in writing within 10 days.
- Changes made to your program of study (major): Your I-20 indicates your program of study (major). Changing your major is a 2 step process: First, contact your academic advisor to change your major in the Xavier system. Then, notify your International Student Advisor who will issue a new I-20 stating the change. The change must be official in Xavier's system before your International Student Advisor will change your major in SEVIS. If you are a government sponsored student you must receive permission from your sponsoring agency before changing your major.
- Name changes: for example, passport corrections, marriage, etc.
- Changes in your financial situation: This includes changes in sponsorship, loss of a scholarship, or addition of an assistantship.
- Other changes: Inform your International Student Advisor of any intent to withdraw from the university, graduate, transfer, change to another degree level, change to another immigration status, or other changes that affect your F-1 status as these may require SEVIS notification. Your International Student Advisor also needs your current phone numbers at all times in case we need to contact you regarding an urgent issue.
Leave of Asbence (LOA)
Students in F-1 status who need to leave the United States for no more than 5 months, and are unable to maintain full-time student status while outside of the U.S. must receive authorization for a Leave of Absence (LOA) from the CIE and their academic department. Please note that even if you are approved for a leave of absence, your Form I-20 will be terminated for authorized early withdrawal. Immigration regulations require that you leave the country within 15 days of the date your Form I-20 is terminated.
LOA petitions require that:
- You must be outside the U.S. during the LOA.
- You must be in good academic standing.
- You must have been approved for a LOA by the CIE and the academic department.
The Leave of Absence Form must be filled out by your advisor or department chair. We recommend that you speak to your department about the academic consequences of an LOA (i.e. Will you be able to return to your academic program after the LOA?).
Returning from LOA for Less than 5 Months
Send an email to your international student advisor with the following information:
- Date that you plan to return to the U.S. after your leave of absence.
- Expiration date of your COE (Form I-20).
- Date that your I-20 was last signed for re-entry (usually page 3).
- Expiration date of your visa.
- Copy of your return flight itinerary.
If you are away from the U.S. for less than 5 months, your International Student Advisor will request that your SEVIS record be reactivated. Please note that you cannot return to the U.S. unless your Form I-20 has been reactivated.
If your visa and Form I-20 have not expired, you can return to the U.S. with these same documents. Your Form I-20 must have been signed for re-entry within the last 6 months.
Returning from LOA Exceeding 5 Months
Students who will be outside the U.S. for longer than 5 months for an LOA will need to apply for a new visa even if your current visa has not expired. The U.S Government will require you to pay the SEVIS fee again.
You must contact CIE at least two months prior to returning to Xavier in order to request a new Form I-20 in order to apply for your new visa.
For more information on how to apply for a new visa, visit the State Department's website.
Returning from LOA
All students returning from an LOA must report to the CIE immediately upon returning to the United States.
Students must bring the following documents when reporting to CIE:
- Stamped I-20
- I-94 card
- Visa page in passport
If you need a new entry visa in your passport, you must contact the Center for International Education three to four weeks before you leave the U.S. In adition, you should contact the US Embassy or Consulate in your country for more information before you leave the U.S. for changes in regulations. Visit the U.S. Department of State's site to locate the embassy or consulate near you and for information on waiting times for student visa appointments.
Please note that you may not renew your visa in the United States and that you do not have to renew your visa if you have a valid I-20 and you remain in the United States.
How to Renew
To download visa application forms, please visit the State Department's Non-immigrant Visa Application section.
The Automatic Visa Revalidation program allows you to leave the US to visit certain countries for less than 30 days and re-enter on your expired visa if you did not apply for a visa renewal while out of the US. This does NOT renew your visa; it is only valid for a single trip.
The expiration date of your Form I-20, shown in item #5 on your FORM, is the date that your program of study in the U.S. ends. If you will need more time to complete your program of study you must print and complete the Program Extension Form. Please return the completed for to the CIE at least 2 weeks before your current program end date. Please note that It is impossible to extend your program of study if your Form I-20 has expired.