Maintaining Immigration Status

It is very important for an F-1 or J-1 student to maintain his or her status while studying in the United States. Maintaining status means you are complying with immigration regulations pertaining to your F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status. Failure to maintain your status can lead to termination of your Form I-20 or DS-2019 record and loss of your student visa. There are several important things you must do to maintain status. Some of these are:

Check-in or report to International Recruitment and International Services

New international students are required to report to International Recruitment and International Services or to their campus main office representative (for those at other campus locations in the U.S.) with their immigration documents as soon as they arrive. Students are required to bring the following documents when reporting to International Recruitment and International Services or to their campus main office representative:

  • Form I-20/DS-2019
  • Passport/Visa
  • I-94 card  or online print out of the I-94 admission record available from Admission (I-94) Number Retrieval 
  • Address and Contact  Information.

Students who are admitted to the St. Louis main campus or area campuses are required to check-in on a specific International Student Immigration Check-in Day.This will be arranged in advance, and must be attended unless the student is unable to do so due to unavoidable circumstances. In that case, you must check-in electronic via this form

Make sure Webster University is listed on your visa and I-20 or DS-2019

F-1 or J-1 students entering the U.S. for first time with initial I-20s or DS-2019s from Webster University should have Webster University listed on their visas (Except Visa Exempt Countries) and on their I-20s or DS-2019s and must intend to attend Webster University. If you are transferring from another school to Webster University, then it is okay if Webster University is not listed on your visa. 

Keep all your documents valid

Keep your Form I-20 or DS-2019 valid at all times by following proper procedures for extension of stay.  A student should also keep his or her passport valid at all times. Renew your passport at least 6 months before the current expires if possible.

Report change of name and address

F-1 students are required to report to International Recruitment and International Services within 10 days any change of name or address. Student can complete the Address and Name Change paper form or online form to report any of these changes.

Enroll full-time

Full-time enrollment is one of the cornerstones of maintaining F-1 or J-1 student status. Students must be enrolled full-time throughout their stay in order to maintain F-1 or J-1 status.

Do not work without permission

Please obtain permission from International Recruitment and International Services or USCIS to work on or off-campus. It is considered a serious violation of your visa status to work off -campus with out permisson.

Make normal progress toward completing your studies

To maintain status, an F-1 or J-1 student must be "making normal progress" toward completing his or her program of studies.  This means, the student must enroll full-time and complete program of study on or before the end date recorded on his or her Form I-20 or DS-2019. A student who transfers to Webster University, or changes educational levels or majors at Webster University, is considered to be making normal progress if the transfer or change of level is done in a timely manner, and the student enrolls full-time and completes his or her program of study on or before the end date recorded his or her Form I-20 OR DS-2019. A student who is unable to complete his or her program of study by the end date on the I-20 or DS-2019 must have a legitimate reason to apply for a program extension, otherwise he or she will be considered out of status.

Don't engage in criminal activity and disclose information when requested by DHS

Students are also required to obey federal, state, and local laws. Commission or conviction of certain crimes can affect a student's immigration status. Therefore, if a student has been arrested or charged with a crime, he or she must seek legal counsel from both a criminal attorney and immigration attorney and inform International Recruitment and International Services. 

International Recruitment and International Services is required to report any disciplinary action taken by Webster University to to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE) as a result of you being convicted of a crime.

Abide by post-completion optional practical training (OPT) rules

A student must report changes in name, address, and employment to International Recruitment and International Services within 10 days while on post-completion OPT.  You must abide by the aggregate unemployment rules while on post-completion OPT. International Recruitment and International Services will then update your SEVIS record.

Abide by the grace period rules

An F-1 or J-1 student has four immigration options:

  1. Depart the U.S. within 60 days (for F-1 students) or within 30 days (for J-1 students) of completing the program of study or completing OPT or Academic Training.
  2. Pursue another program of studies either at Webster University or transfer to another school.
  3. Apply for post-completion OPT no later than 60 days after completing studies for F-1 student or within 30 days after completing studies for J-1 student.
  4. Apply to change status to another nonimmigrant or to immigrant classification within the 60 days (for F-1) or 30 days (for J-1) after completing the course of study.

Do not overstay your visa

If a student does not choose one of these options after completing a program of study, then he or she will be in violation of status and could be subject to arrest or deportation from the United States. Violation of status can also affect your future prospect of readmission to the United States for a period of time. If you have spent more than 180 in the United States unlawfully, you could be barred from coming back for three years. And if you have spent more than one year in the United States unlawfully, you could be barred from coming back for ten years.