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International Student Affairs

How to Maintain F-1 or J-1 Status

It is important that all international students at Hofstra University be aware of and comply with the following requirements to avoid problems that may interfere with your program of study or employment benefits. Please review this list and click the yellow plus icons to see more information about how to fulfill your immigration responsibilities.

Complete entrance immigration check-in to report your first arrival to Hofstra.
Accepted students will receive an email with instructions on how to check-in online. You must check in as soon as you arrive at Hofstra, and no later than 1 week after the start of classes.
Register for full-time enrollment every semester and attend your classes.
Full-time enrollment consists of 12 credits for undergraduate students and 9 credits for graduate students. For F-1 students at least 6 credits must be in person, but for J-1 students all credits must be in person (i.e. not online). Be careful to avoid UW grades that will cause you to fall below full-time enrollment.
Apply for a Reduced Course Load (RCL) if you meet the exceptions that allow less than full-time enrollment. 
Eligible exceptions include certain academic difficulties, medical reasons, or if you are in your final semester and do not need a full-time course load to complete your degree requirements. Please see the RCL application for more details.
Make sure the end date on your I-20/DS-2019 is accurate.
If you need more time to complete your degree or will finish earlier than the end date on your I-20/DS-2019, contact ISA immediately to change your end date. It is the student's responsibility to keep track of their own end date to avoid violating their status by overstaying in the U.S.
Leave the U.S. before your grace period ends.
After the end date on your I-20/DS-2019 or completion of any authorized post-graduation employment, the grace period allows you to remain in the U.S. for up to 60 days for F-1 students and 30 days for J-1 students.
Inform ISA of any changes to the information on your I-20/DS-2019.
This includes changes to your major, phone number, address, or other personal information. If you are on authorized practical training, you must also inform ISA of any changes to your employer.
Do not work without authorization.
Please be aware that even unpaid activities or internships may be considered work and require authorization. Learn more about employment options and consult ISA if you have any questions or concerns. Please note that due to Hofstra University policy, J-1 students are not allowed to work on campus.
Inform ISA before making major changes to your academic program.
If you will leave your program before completing it (e.g. take a leave of absence or withdraw from the University), begin a new program at Hofstra, or plan to change your immigration status, please inform ISA immediately.
Have a valid travel signature on your most recent I-20/DS-2019 when traveling outside the U.S.
Travel signatures are signed by ISA staff on the second page of your original I-20 or DS-2019. The signature is valid for 1 year and confirms that you are maintaining your F-1 or J-1 visa status. It will be checked by an immigration official when you re-enter the U.S.
Make sure your passport is valid at all times.
F-1 and J-1 students are required to have a valid passport at all times while studying in the United States. The passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the program end date on your I-20 or DS-2019. A valid passport is also required when traveling outside the U.S.
If you plan to leave Hofstra to attend another school, request a transfer of your SEVIS record.
Please inform ISA of your plans. Once you decide which institution you will be transferring to, our office will require a completed Student SEVIS Record Transfer Form and a copy of your acceptance letter from the school you intend to transfer to
Keep copies of all your immigration related documents, even after graduation.
This includes current and expired passports, EAD cards, I-20s/DS-2019s, etc. You may need them for future immigration applications to document your employment history and compliance with U.S. immigration regulations.