Immigration Information for F-1 Students

Student Status

It is very important for an F-1 student to maintain his or her status while in the United States. Failure to maintain the terms and conditions of nonimmigrant status (F-1) is grounds for removal from the United States (deportation) under the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

To maintain F-1 status:

  • You must be registered in SEVIS within 30 days of the program start date (for new students) or 30 days after returning for the next semester. This is done at Intercultural and International Student Services.
  • International Students are required to be enrolled in a full course of study (minimum 12 credits) each semester. Exceptions to this include: a student who is in their last semester of study, a student who has academic difficulties due to language in their first semester of study, and a student who has medical reasons for being on a Reduced Course Load.
  • Make normal progress towards completing your course of study, by completing studies before the program completion expiration date on your Form I-20.
  • Keep your Form I-20 valid by following the proper procedures for an extension of stay, transfer of schools, or change of major. If any of these situations arise, please contact Intercultural and International Student Services.
  • Report a change of address to Intercultural and International Student Services within 10 days of the change.
  • Do not work, either on or off campus, unless authorized. Most students are permitted to work on campus with a work award. Please contact Intercultural and International Student Services for information about off campus employment.
  • At least 2 weeks before traveling outside of the United States (US) have your documents checked and signed at Intercultural and International Student Services.
  • Remaining in the US for no longer than 60 days after completing the full course of study, unless prior to that time the student has followed procedures for applying for practical training or school transfer.

Travel Outside the U.S.

Re-entry to the U.S.
You need to bring the following documents when you want to re-enter the U.S. from traveling abroad:

  • Valid passport (valid for at least 6 months upon arrival)
  • Your valid F-1 student Visa
  • Valid I-20 signed by a DSO (Designated School Official). The signature must be within the past 12 months.


What is SEVIS?

SEVIS is an internet-based system that allows schools and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to exchange data on the visa status of international students. Accurate and current information is transmitted electronically throughout an F-1 or J-1 student's academic career in the United States. U.S. embassies and consulates also have access to SEVIS.

How does SEVIS work?

After the College of Saint Benedict/St. John's University admits an international student, SEVIS is notified. The USCIS approves the University's request to issue an I-20. The University mails the new I-20 form to the student.

The student visits the U.S. consulate abroad, and the consulate issues a visa after they confirm through SEVIS that the I-20 the student is carrying is a valid document. The student's entry into the U.S. is reported in SEVIS at the airport when the student arrives in the U.S.

When the student arrives on campus, he/she will report to Intercultural and International Student Services, and the school confirms through SEVIS the student's enrollment. CSB/SJU continues to provide regular electronic reports to INS throughout the student's academic career.

Transfer to Another College/University

Students may transfer to a different school to pursue a new degree or continue in the same degree level or higher degree level by contacting  Intercultural and International Student Services.

As an international student, to transfer to another school from CSB/SJU please contact:

Malik Stewart
[email protected]
Director, Multicultural Student Services

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if my visa expires?

Do not worry. If you are in the U.S. and your visa expires, you are fine. You just cannot let your I-20 or Passport expire. You can only obtain a new visa outside of the U.S. For more information on the process, contact the Assistant Director of Intercultural and International Student Services.

What do I do if I leave the country and want to come back?

Make sure that you have your I-20 signed by a DSO (Designated School Official) BEFORE leaving the U.S. Also carry your valid passport and visa to reenter the U.S.

How do I do an internship off campus?

If the internship is required of your degree, you may qualify for Curricular Practical Training. This opportunity is job specific and time specific. It must be integral part of an established curriculum, in your courses of study. You must have an offer of employment from an employer offering work that qualifies as curriculum practical training. This authorization is handled by Intercultural and International Student Services.

How do I work off campus?

International students are not allowed to work off or on campus without authorization. To work off-campus a student must qualify for one of three programs. Curricular Practical TrainingOptional Practical Training or Economic Hardship.

Feel free to come to Multicultural Center for assistance. CSB/SJU is a better place because you are here, and we are committed to your success!

The information contained in the website of Multicultural Center is for the use of the CSB/SJU community. Some of the information is very general and some is specific to the CSB/SJU. Information contained herein should not be used as the sole source of information for making decisions that may affect one's legal status in the U.S. or one's right to study, teach, conduct research, or work.