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International Programs

Maintaining your Status

 

By maintaining immigration status and keeping school administrators and sponsoring officials well informed, students and exchange visitors residing in America have the opportunity to benefit from the outstanding academic and cultural programs of the United States.

Failing to maintain your status could result in serious consequences and may affect your ability to remain in or return to the United States. Violation of status also can affect the prospect of readmission to the United States for a period of time.  If you’re an international student or exchange visitor studying in the United States, know your responsibilities.  Work with your Designated School Officials or exchange visitor Responsible Officers to ensure that your data in SEVIS is accurate and updated. In addition, these officials can help you better understand the requirements governing your immigration status and help you avoid making choices that might jeopardize your status.

International Student Responsibilities

To remain eligible for all F-1 student benefits, such as on-campus employment, CO-OP and Optional Practical Training, F-1 students are responsible for following the regulations below:

  • Attend the school for which you are authorized.  Use only your most recent Merrimack College I-20 to enter the United States.
  • Keep your passport and I-20 valid at all times.  Request a new I-20 when any of the information on it changes: name, major, sponsor, etc.
  • Check the expiration date of your I-20 regularly; you may extend your I-20 thirty days before it expires.
  • Carry a full course of study every term.  Undergraduates must carry a minimum of 12 credit credits.
  • Request a new I-20 when continuing from one education level to another within the College. (Associates to Bachelor’s or Bachelor’s to Master’s)
  • Limit on-campus employment to a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session.
  • Apply for immigration authorization before working off-campus.  Please visit the Office of International Programs to learn about eligibility requirements.
  • Obtain a signature on the back of your I-20 from a member of the Office of International Programs to re-enter the United States when traveling.  Make sure you have all necessary travel documents before leaving the country.
  • Report a change of address to the Office of International Programs and the USCIS, using an AR-11 form, within ten days of the change.
  • File an income tax return on or before April 15th, each year you reside in the United States.  Both working and non-working students must comply.

IMPORTANT: If SEVIS does not receive a timely report each semester confirming that you are enrolled, your SEVIS record will be automatically terminated by the government and you will be expected to either apply for reinstatement to lawful F-1 or J-1 status, or leave the U.S. within 15 days.