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International Student & Scholar Services

International Student & Scholar Services

F-1 Information

Maintaining Status

Maintaining Status
Students in F-1 status must do the following to maintain that status:

  • Pursue a full course of study during every academic semester, except for the official school breaks (Note:  Students that start school in the summer semester must be full-time for that semester)
  • Refrain from employment unless authorized by your International Student Advisor or USCIS
  • Keep all of the following documents valid at all times:  passport, I-20, and I-94.  Apply for a replacement I-94 card if lost.
  • Attend the school that you are authorized to attend on the I-20
  • Make normal progress towards completing a course of study.  Completion must happen before the expiration date on the I-20 unless an I-20 extension has been processed in advance.
  • Have an I-20 at all times and apply for timely extensions, changes in educational levels or programs of study
  • Follow appropriate transfer procedures when transferring from one school to another
  • Report any change of address known within 10 days of moving

Change of Status to F-1
If you are interested in changing your status to an F-1, make an appointment with an International Student Advisor to discuss your options.  There are two ways to change your status and an International Student Advisor can help you to select the option that works best for your situation.  Due to the amount of paperwork and time that changing status can take, we recommend that you contact an International Student Advisor at least 4 months in advance of wanting to change status to get informed about the process and options.

There are many regulations that govern F-1 status.  It is important that you understand this when making a decision whether to change to F-1 status from another visa category or not.  Here are a few points to consider:

  • F-1 students must be enrolled full-time each semester in order to maintain their immigration status.  Twelve credits is considered full-time for undergraduates; Five credits for graduates.
  • F-1 students can only work 20 hours or less on-campus.  Any off-campus work must be authorized in advance and is usually not available until after maintaining F-1 student status for two semesters.
  • F-1 students have a mandatory UC-Denver health insurance plan.
  • F-1 students pay out of state tuition.
  • Call (303) 315-2230 in order to make an appointment with an International Student Advisor to discuss these topics and the change of status process.

How to Request a Dependent I-20
The spouse and unmarried, minor children (under the age of 21) of an F-1 student can be admitted in F-2 status to accompany the student to the U.S. or to join the student at a later date. In order to do so, the dependents need to have a dependent I-20 from the university. Please see an international student advisor for more information.

Study Restrictions for F-2 Dependents
Immigration regulations have restrictions on study and work for F-2 dependents. The F-2 spouse of an F-1 student may not engage in full-time study, and the F-2 child may only engage in full-time study if the study is in an elementary or secondary school (kindergarten through twelfth grade). Part-time study is permitted only if it is “avocational or recreational.” If you need further clarification on what may be considered “avocational or recreational,” please consult with an International Student Advisor. Failure to abide by this regulation is a violation of F-2 status.

If an F-2 dependent is interested in full-time study or part-time study that is not avocational or recreational, then the F-2 must apply for a change of status to F-1. To find out more information about this option, contact an International Student Advisor. 

Work Restrictions for F-2 Dependents
F-2 dependents are not permitted to work in the United States. 

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