Maintaining your F-1 Status

As an F-1 student, you are responsible for maintaining your status for the duration of your stay at UC San Diego and the U.S. Below you will find information on how to maintain your status.

Important Update:

Effective August 9, 2018, USCIS updated policy regarding Unlawful Presence, which increases potential consequences for F-1/J-1 students who violate their status. The best way to avoid these consequences is to make sure you properly maintain your F-1/J-1 status while you are a student  and during any F-1/J-1 post-completion training periods. Unlawful presence days begin accruing from the day you violated status and can impact your ability to return to the US in the future, including 3 or 10 year bars on re-entry (dependent on number of days accrued)

Complete the Document Self-Check upon arrival at UC San Diego

After arrival into the USA, complete the International Student Document Self-Check within 15 days of your program start date at UC San Diego.*

You are also strongly encouraged to attend the International Student Orientation where we will review the immigration documents together.

*There is no need to notify International Students & Programs Office when you complete document self-check unless you have questions or if you believe there is an error in your visa status. While it is not required to bring your documents to International Student Orientation, failure to complete the document self-check steps listed above may result in the loss of your F-1 or J-1 status, especially if your documents were processed incorrectly at the port of entry and you do not get them fixed. Remember, maintaining your visa status is your responsibility but ISPO is here to help with any questions.

Attend Orientation Session

Enter Change of Address Information in TritonLink

Enter change of address in Tritonlink within 10 days of any move or change. Also, update the International Students & Programs Office about changes in telephone number or email address.

Maintain Full-Time Enrollment (at least 12 units) Every Quarter

You are required to maintain full-time enrollment for each academic quarter at UC San Diego. Full time at UC San Diego is considered 12 units.

Study full time (12 units) for three academic quarters before taking your vacation quarter. At UC San Diego, the summer term is typically considered the vacation term.  Vacation terms do not require full-time enrollment. If you are planning to take a vacation term outside of the summer term, discuss your plans with an international student advisor.

Although you should enroll full time to maintain your status, there are some exceptions to the full course of study requirement.  To enroll less than full-time due to academic or medical reasons or enroll less than full-time because it is your last quarter, you must apply for authorization to do so and receive approval before dropping a class.

Generally, UC San Diego students are required to enroll full-time in the fall, winter and spring terms. Summer is considered a vacation term.

Keep Your I-20 Current

Review the information on your I-20.

Extension of Program: If you will not complete your program of study by the indicated program end date on your I-20, submit an extension request before your current document expires.

Change of major and change of academic level: If you plan to change major or complete a degree and begin working on another, let an international student advisor know IN ADVANCE to keep your I-20 up-to-date or so that we can advise you about other options to pursue to continue studying lawfully in the United States.

Accept Only Authorized Employment

Maintain Adequate Health Insurance

The UC Regents made health insurance a mandatory non-academic condition for enrollment. To ensure that all students have adequate health care coverage, including ongoing primary and specialty care, and to satisfy the mandatory health insurance requirement, UCSD automatically enrolls all registered students into the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).

Obtain Travel Signatures as Needed

Notify the International Center if Transferring or Ending Your Program Early

If transferring or ending programs early, notify the International Students & Pro­grams Office in advance so we can issue a new I-20, shorten the duration of your record, or transfer you as needed.

Carry Your Immigration Documents

The US Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 requires foreign nationals to carry appropriate immigration-related documentation at all times. Appropriate documentation includes a valid passport, I-94 Non-immigrant Arrival/Departure Record and for those persons in F or J status, the I-20 or DS-2019 form. Be prepared to present these documents especially when going through airports, train stations, checkpoints, border crossings, and other transportation hubs.