Maintaining F-1 Student Visa Status

All F-1 students are responsible for learning, understanding, and complying with United States federal laws and regulations governing the F -1 student visa. Failure to do so will violate your legal status in the U.S. If you have any questions, please see your international student advisor.

Checking In

You must check in with the school Designated School Official within 30 days of your arrival. The official check-in takes place during the mandatory orientation with your advisor, who is also the Designated School Official (DSO) for immigration.
Please make sure to bring the following documents to the orientation:

  • I-20
  • Passport and visa
  • Insurance

Special Circumstances

Fianacial Hardship

Off-campus employment is allowed if the student is going through severe economic hardship. Please visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for more information and schedule a meeting with your advisor.

Social Security

Social Security numbers are generally assigned to people who are authorized to work in the United States. Social Security numbers are used to report your wages to the government and to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits. Social Security will not assign you a number just to enroll in a college or school. If you want to get a job on campus, you should contact your DSO to find out if you are eligible to work on campus.

Language school students are not permitted to work unless it is due to economic hardship.


 I-20 Program Extension Form - For students who require additional time to complete academic program requirements and are requesting an extended I-20 use this form.

 F-1 Transfer-Out Request Form &  F-1 Transfer-Out Checklist - The transfer-out request form is used to notify Valencia of your intent to transfer your F-1 immigration status to another school. The International Advisor uses the information to update your SEVIS record with the name of the school to which you will transfer and your transfer release date. The checklist guides you through the process of officially entering and transferring from IEP-Valencia to another educational institution in the U.S.

 Vacation Request Form - This form is for F-1 students who need to request vacation from the program.

 Departure Form - This form is used by F1 students for departure including completion of program, early withdraw from classes, and a break from studies due to an emergency.

 Update Personal Information - This form is used by students who have a change or correction in their personal information (name, address, citizenship) and wish to be issued an updated I-20 reflecting this change.

Program Completion

You have 60 days after your program completion to leave the country.

It is the completion of your program that determines when the course of study ends and the 60-day grace period begins, NOT the end-day of the I-20.

Program Extension

  • Program extensions are granted for study only.
  • You must complete the Program Extension Form.
  • Inform your International Student Advisor at least 21 days prior to your program end date.
  • Failure to do so will cause you to be out of status.
  • Provide an updated original bank statement if the one on file is 5 months or older.
  • Provide proof of health insurance coverage for the new program duration.


Reinstatement is the process by which a student who has failed to maintain his or her status may be “reinstated” to lawful F-1 status at the discretion of USCIS. Students become out of status when they:

  • Enroll for less than a full course load.
  • Are not registered during the academic year as required.
  • Fail to extend their stay prior to the expiration date on the SEVIS I-20.
  • Violate one of the school policies.
  • Are not maintaining good academic standing.

Change of Status

Students Who Meet the Following Criteria Are Authorized To Apply For a Change of Status

  • Has not been out of status for more than five months prior to filing for reinstatement.
  • Does not have a record of repeated status violations.
  • Is pursuing or will pursue a full course of study in the next available term.
  • Has not engaged in unauthorized employment.
  • The violation of the student’s status resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control.

If you have failed to maintain your status and would like to be reinstated, please contact the International Student Advisor immediately.


International students are not required to pay Social Security Tax, Medicare, or Federal Unemployment Tax. They ARE required to pay Federal Income Tax and State Income Tax in Florida.

Federal law requires ALL students in F-1 status to submit Tax Form 8843 - Statement for Exempt Individuals, EVEN IF THEY DID NOT WORK in that last year. If you did work the previous year, you are required to submit both Tax Form 8843 - Statement for Exempt Individuals and Tax Form 1040NR - US Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens.

Please note that there are existing treaties between the U.S. and certain countries that serve the purpose of eliminating double taxation of income. If your country has an agreement with the U.S., please provide the proper forms in order to take advantage of applicable tax treaty exemptions. If you are not sure that your country has an existing treating, visit for more information.

The U.S government agency that deals with taxes is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  According to the IRS, all international students are required to file INS form 8843. You can view and print out these instructions from the IRS web site under the Forms & Publications link, by choosing the correct form number from the list provided.

Transfer Out

  • The International Student Advisor will assist you with the transfer out process to any college/university.
  • As an IEP student, you have conditional acceptance to Valencia College.

Travel and Re-Entry

Students must consult their Designated School Official (DSO) prior to traveling within the U.S. or abroad.

Emergency Travel

  • If you are leaving the U.S. and have not completed the 12-week program, you must leave the U.S. within 10 days.
  • If you leave the country due to an unexpected emergency and you do not get your I-20 signed for travel, the school has the option of signing the I-20 and sending it overnight to you. There should be good explanation for the sudden departure, as well as appropriate documentation.

Travel or Vacation

  • F-1 international students must attend class full-time for 6 session (6 months) in the IEP before being eligible for vacation.
  • F-1 students are allowed a 1 session (1 month) long vacation after studying 6 session.
  • After every vacation, F-1 students must study a minimum of 6 session to be eligible to take another vacation.
  • You must be registered for the session upon your return. This might require a program extension.
  • You must provide proof of travel.
  • The I-20 must be signed.

Re-Entry Requirements

Below are the basic requirements for an F-1 student to reenter the United States after traveling abroad on pleasure or personal business?

  • A SEVIS Form I-20, endorsed for travel and signed by your DSO
  • You have been out of the United States for less than five months
  • A current passport valid for at least six months after the date of your reentry or, if you are from one of the countries listed below, a passport that is current through the date of entry
  • A valid, current visa or you traveled to contiguous country or adjacent island for less than thirty days
  • Financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses
  • Bringing your most recent I-94, Departure Card, will facilitate your reentry, if reentering through a land Port of Entry. If you are flying, the airline will collect your I-94 prior to departure and you will complete a new one upon re-entry.