Maintaining Your F-1 Status

As an international student attending Hillsborough Community College on an F-1 student visa, you are not only expected to comply with all HCC academic and student policies and regulations, but also with those that relate specifically to you as an F-1 international student. Please read the following information carefully. It is essential for international students to be familiar with their specific responsibilities in maintaining their F-1 immigration status, including but not limited to:

  1. As an F-1 student, you are required to attend the educational institution designated on the SEVIS I-20 and are expected to complete at least one semester at the institution prior to requesting transfer to any other educational institution.
  2. You are required to enroll and complete a minimum of 12 semester credits in the Fall and Spring terms. Students who fail to maintain full-time enrollment will be considered out of status and will need to apply for reinstatement with USCIS or regain legal F-1 status through travel with a new, initial I-20. If you cannot enroll in or complete 12 credit hours at HCC for any reason, you must consult with an International Student Advisor prior to dropping credit hours. 
  3. You may not accept employment off campus without specific authorization from the United States government. On campus employment is permitted for no more than 20 hours per week. Meet with an International Student Advisor to discuss options for off-campus employment.  Engaging in unauthorized employment (paid or unpaid) could lead to loss of your F-1 status.
  4. All fees are due on the day you register; otherwise your classes will be dropped. 
  5. As an F-1 student, you can take no more than the equivalent of one online/distance education class or three credit hours per semester towards the full course of study requirement. Limits for online course registration are applicable in the fall/spring semesters and in the summer if it is your first semester at HCC or graduating term.
  6. You must make normal progress toward completing a degree. If you decide to change your major, please contact your International Student Advisor prior to changing it. 
  7. You are required to keep your passport valid at all times.  Passports must be valid for at least six months into the future.
  8. Report a change of address or name to the Center for International Education within 10 days of the change. 
  9. You should not leave the United States, even for a short time, without making sure that all travel documents are valid and in your possession, and that the Center for International Education signs their I-20. 
  10. You must have a valid I-20. If students must remain at HCC past their I-20 expiration date, they must apply for a program extension prior to the expiration date on the I-20. There are specific procedures that need to be followed to request an extension; therefore, please see your International Student Advisor.
  11. All international students on visas must file income tax returns even if they do not have any taxable income. Please visit http://www.irs.gov/ for more information and to download Form 1040 NR, Form1040 NR-EZ, Form 8843, and the Publication 519. If you need help, HCC offers students free tax assistance.
  12. If you wish to transfer to another school in the United States, you must be accepted by another SEVP-certified school and work with your International Student Advisor to choose a transfer release date. On the transfer release date, the responsibility for the student’s SEVIS record transfers to the transfer-in school. Transferring students must contact the DSO at their new school, who will be able to create a Form I-20. It is important to note that you can only transfer if you have been maintaining valid status.
  13. Within 60 days of completing the course of study, you must transfer to another school, apply for a change of status, Optional Practical Training (OPT), or depart the U.S.
  14. Please be advised that failure to comply with USCIS regulations will result in the loss of your F-1 status and will require reinstatement by USCIS.