F-1 Status and Status Maintenance

Once you are admitted to the U.S. in F-1 status, you must meet certain obligations in order to maintain your status:

Have a valid, unexpired and accurate Form I-20 issued by the University of Miami.

Obtain a Form I-20 issued by the University of Miami for your program of study before the program start date. Students who start their studies in the United States are required to either enter the US in F-1 status using the I-20 issued by the University of Miami, or have an approved change of status to F-1 before the start of their program of study.

Review your I-20 and report changes of your personal or program information, such as a name change or correction, or change of major, to ISSS to update your SEVIS record and issue a new Form I-20. In the event that your I-20 is lost or damaged, request a new Form I-20 from ISSS.

Ensure that your I-20 remains unexpired until you have completed all requirements to obtain your degree. If you complete before the program end date listed on your Form I-20, this date will be adjusted in your SEVIS record accordingly.

Enroll for a full course of study.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that you be enrolled full-time (12 credits, if undergraduate; 9 credits, if graduate; 11 credits for all Law programs) each academic semester (Spring and Fall) until program completion. Completing an "Incomplete" does not count towards enrollment. International students are not required to enroll for the summer sessions with the exception of students graduating at the end of the First Summer Session or the Second Summer Session. Summer graduates must be enrolled the summer session in which they are scheduled to graduate.

An authorization to drop below full-course may be granted for certain exceptions, such as the last semester, medical reasons or academic difficulty. Click Authorize to Drop Below Full Course Request for Students in F-1 and J-1 Status  and obtain authorization prior to the last day to register for classes or dropping below full-time. 

Comply with immigration regulation related to working in the United States.

There are limited work opportunities available in the United States for F-1 students. If you work without permission, your SEVIS record will be terminated and you will have to leave the United States immediately, and you may not be allowed to return.

  1. International students in F-1 status who are enrolled full-time and in good academic standing are eligible to work on-campus beginning with the first semester, but are not eligible for "work-study" positions. All on-campus employment and assistantships during the academic year are limited to 20 hours or less per week during the Spring and Fall semesters.
  2. International students may be eligible to engage in off-campus practical training related to their major after having been enrolled full-time for one full academic year immediately preceding the application.  Complete the online employment sessions to learn about Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - miami.edu/cpt and Optional Practical Training (OPT) - www.miami.edu/opt

Report your U.S. address and permanent foreign address in CaneLink.

You are required to report a valid U.S. address and a permanent foreign address upon arrival to the U.S., and within 10 days of moving. Your permanent address is the address where you actually reside in your home country.

  • Students who live on-campus:As soon as you have checked into housing, your U.S. address is automatically entered. You need to make sure to enter a “local” address in CaneLink within 10 days of moving out of the residence halls. You may NOT enter any of the following as your local address:  foreign address, UM Department address, or an address with a P.O. Box.
  • Students who live off-campus:Enter your U.S. address as your “local” address in CaneLink. You may NOT enter any of the following as your local address:  foreign address, UM Department address, or an address with a P.O. Box.

Have a valid and unexpired passport.


F-1 Duration of Status (D/S) and grace period

You are admitted to the United States for "duration of status (D/S)," defined as the period during which you are pursuing a full course of study in a bachelor's or master's degree, doctoral or approved Certificate program, and any periods of authorized practical training, plus 60-day grace period.

  1. If you will not graduate within the time period indicated on your I-20 you may request a program extension by submitting an Extension of F-1 stay The delay in graduation must be due to compelling academic or medical reasons. Your application must be submitted to ISSS prior to the program end date on your I-20. 
  2. If you will graduate within the time period indicated on your I-20:
    • If you plan to apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT),  you may submit your OPT application to ISSS no earlier than 90 days before, and up to 40 days after your program end date. 
    • If you plan to study at another U.S. institution, submit the Transfer Out of UM Request for Students in F-1 and J-1 Status no later than 5 business days before the end of your 60-day grace period.
    • If you will begin a new degree program at UM, apply for a Change in educational level at the same school and obtain your Form I-20 for the new program no later than the end of the 60-day grace period.
    • If you do not have plans to work or study in the U.S. after graduation, note that you have a 60-day grace period after your program completion during which you can prepare to depart and travel within the U.S. If you leave the U.S. during the 60-day grace period and want to re-enter the U.S., you would need to do so in a status other than F-1.

Safeguard and Retain Your Documents: It is your responsibility to retain copies of all your immigration documents and all immigration applications (Form I-20, employment, change of status, program extension, etc.) for your records/future use.