General Immigration Matters
International students on Student (F-1) or Exchange Visitors (J-1) visas are required by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) according to Federal Regulations to maintain full-time enrollment for Fall and Spring semesters during the academic year. Being full-time means taking 12 credits for undergraduates and 9 credits for graduate students during Fall and Spring semesters. This also includes the summer semester if it is the first semester of study.
International Students in F-1 or J-1 student status must satisfy these requirements to remain in lawful status. For a comprehensive list of immigration regulations, please visit Study in the States.
Entering the U.S.
You will need a Robert Morris University I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status, a valid F-1 visa (the visa stamp in your passport) issued by the U.S. embassy/consulate overseas, a valid passport, and your SEVIS fee receipt. To enter the U.S. as an F-1 student, Canadian citizens do not need U.S. visas. Please be advised that you may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days prior to the start date in section 5 on your I-20. When you enter the U.S., a digital I-94 card will be created for you. Please print it out once you have arrived in the United States.
Maintaining Legal F-1 Status
To maintain lawful status, an F-1 student must:
- Enroll at the university you are authorized to attend (the school that issued your Form I-20).
- Complete immigration school transfer procedure when necessary.
- Be in good academic standing and make progress towards an academic program.
- Extend your I-20 prior to its expiration date if you are unable to complete your academic program by the original completion date (see section 5 of your I-20).
- In the event of change of academic program or level, update your I-20 in a timely fashion in accordance with immigration regulations.
- Maintain full-time enrollment during the academic year.
- Undergraduate students must enroll in and complete with a C or better 12 credit hours each semester.
- Graduate students must enroll in and complete with a C or better for 9 credit hours each semester.
- Suspension, dismissal, expulsion, or any other similar action which prevents enrollment may have effect on legal immigration status.
- Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours per week during the academic year and ALWAYS notify the CGE BEFORE you start.
- Not work off campus without prior authorization.
- Keep your passport valid at all times. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future on the day you return to the U.S. from a trip abroad.
- Complete the departure form or otherwise notify the Center for Global Engagement if you leave your program before the end date of I-20.
- Maintain a valid home (must be outside the U.S.) and mailing (must be your US residential address) in the eServices web site. Addresses must be updated within 10 days of moving.
Dependents are defined as spouse and minor children under 21 years old of the F-1 student. Please be aware that each of your dependents will need his/her own I-20 in order to obtain an F-2 visa at the U.S. embassy/consulate and to enter the United States. F-2 status holders may not accept employment or engage in business under any circumstances.
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).
When an F-1 student successfully completes his/her academic program or Optional Practical Training, there is a 60-day grace period during which the F-1 student and any F-2 dependents may stay in the U.S. but may not work or travel nor reenter in F-1 status.
Students who leave their program for any reason prior to completion are eligible for a 15 day grace period provided they notify the Center for Global Engagement in advance.
Robert Morris University gives foreign students the opportunity to study at an American degree-granting post-secondary accredited educational institution through the J-1 Visa Program. RMU has exchange agreements with a number of universities throughout the world, and students from those institutions may participate as non-degree applicants. They must pursue a full-time course of study and maintain satisfactory advancement toward the completion of their academic program at their home institution.
Penalties for losing Student Status
For more information on United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rules and regulations be sure to read the International Student Handbook.
- If you are not meeting these requirements as stated above, you are out-of-status. Visit the Center for Global Engagement immediately.