Maintaining Visa Status
International Student Services (ISS) is a reliable resource for immigration- and academic-related information. Although we will do our best to notify students of any potential issues, students are ultimately responsible for maintaining their immigration statuses. Failing to comply with the following conditions may result in “falling out of status,” or the loss of immigration status. If you have any questions, please contact ISS.
Top 10 Ways to Maintain Your Visa Status
1. Enroll in a full course of study during the fall and spring semesters.
International students must be enrolled in and complete a minimum of 12 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters. An actual grade (A, B, C, D, or F) must be earned in each of the 12 credit hours and does not include withdrawals (W). Students must consult ISS before withdrawing from a course. Only 3 credit hours of online coursework per semester can be applied to the full course of study requirement.
- International students are not required to enroll during the summer semester unless it is their first semester or graduating semester at Valencia College. If summer is the first semester at Valencia College, then students must be enrolled in a full course of study.
- During the graduating term, international students are only required to enroll in the minimum number of credits required to complete their degree program. If only one course is required for graduation, then the course must be taken as onsite or hybrid. If more than one course is required for graduation, then only 3 credits can be taken online.
Faculty Withdrawals (W)
- Faculty members at Valencia College have the authority to withdraw students from courses for missing classes and violating the attendance policy. Please make sure to attend all of your courses. Faculty withdrawals can result in the termination of a student’s immigration status.
Reduced Course Load
- Under special circumstances, international students may be authorized to drop below a full course of study. Students must receive permission for a reduced course load from ISS prior to actually dropping below the full course of study requirement.
2. Make satisfactory academic progress towards degree completion.
Degree-seeking international students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0. For more information on academic advising and support, please refer to the Academic Support section of the website.
3. Report any address changes to ISS within 10 days of the change.
International students are required to have a valid local U.S. address on file at all times. The address must be the student’s physical address and cannot be a P.O. Box. Any change in address must be reported to ISS within 10 days. Students may submit a change of address form through the myISS portal. Upon receipt of the new information, ISS will report the change of address to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
4. Maintain a valid I-20 or DS-2019 at all times and do not allow it to expire.
International students who require additional time to complete their degrees must request program extensions before the completion date on their I-20 or DS-2019. Requests should be made at least 60 days in advance. Students must be making satisfactory academic progress and will be required to provide new financial documentation.
5. Do not engage in unauthorized employment.
International students must follow specific rules in regards to employment in the U.S. and should not begin any employment without speaking with ISS. Unauthorized employment will result in the termination of status. Please refer to the Employment Guidelines section of the website for specific details.
6. Maintain a valid passport at all times during the program of study in the U.S.
Passports must remain valid at all times and must not expire during a student’s time in the U.S. In order to enter the U.S., a passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry.
7. Notify ISS as soon as possible if you have decided to transfer out to another institution.
“School transfer” is used to describe the process by which a F-1 international student, including their I-20, leaves one U.S. institution (before or after completion of studies) and begins attendance at another U.S. institution. School transfer, in this situation, does not refer to the transfer of academic credits or records between institutions. Our International Student Services team will assist you with the SEVIS transfer process.
International students must do the following in order to transfer out their SEVIS record (I-20) to another institution:
- Complete the Transfer Out form in myISS
- Upload the admission letter from the new institution
- Upload the new institution’s “transfer in” form
8.Maintain valid health insurance offered through Valencia College for the entire program of study.
As part of international student admission and enrollment requirements, all international students in F-1 or J-1 status are required to purchase the mandatory health insurance policy provided by the College prior to enrollment. Please login to the myISS portal to pay your health insurance.
9. Consult with ISS prior to traveling within the U.S. or abroad.
Visit our Travel Guidelines page for a complete guide to requirements for traveling abroad and re-entering the U.S.
- If you leave the country due to an unexpected emergency and are not able to get your I-20 signed for travel, please contact ISS as soon as possible prior to attempting re-entry into the U.S.
10. Do not violate school policies.