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Immigration requirements for current students

Students in F-1 or J-1 status are responsible for learning, understanding and complying with U.S. federal laws and regulations governing the F or J visa. Failure to do so will violate your legal status in the United States and will have serious consequences.

You are responsible for:

Keeping your passport valid at all times
You must have a valid passport in your possession. For information on renewing your passport, visit the web site of your country's embassy or consulate in the United States.

Reporting address changes within 10 days to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)
U.S. federal regulations require all F-1 and J-1 students to report a change of address within 10 days of the address change. U.S. residential address changes can be submitted to the ISSS via an e-form.

Maintaining a full course of study each semester
U.S. federal regulations require you to pursue a full course of study each fall and spring semester until graduation or transfer to a new school. Information on full-time courses of study at Binghamton University is available online. You must maintain your registration each semester until you graduate or transfer to another institution.

There are very limited exceptions to the full course of study rule. They include academic difficulty, medical condition or completion of study, and there are strict criteria for each. You must obtain PRIOR authorization from the ISSS to drop or withdraw from a course. After obtaining this authorization, you may then drop the course(s).

Abiding by U.S. Federal Employment Regulations
F-1 and J-1 students may work no more than 20 hours per week on campus when classes are in session. These 20 hours include the work you do for an assistantship if you have one. You cannot work off campus (including off-campus, credit-bearing internships) without PRIOR authorization from the ISSS and the U.S. federal government. Opportunities for off-campus work are limited.

Maintaining required health and accident insurance
F-1 and J-1 students must have ISSS-approved health and accident insurance for themselves and any F-2 or J-2 dependents throughout their stay in the United States.

Reporting changes in program to ISSS
ISSS must be notified if you are changing your major or transitioning from a master's to a doctoral program. It is your responsibility to work with your department to make these changes, and to ensure the department communicates the change to ISSS.

Being prepared before you Travel
There are several things you thould do before traveling within the United States or Abroad. Be sure to review the Travel Checklist.

Notifying the ISSS of dependents who will be joining you in Binghamton
The ISSS prepares visa documents for any dependents of F-1 and J-1 students who will enter the United States on F-2 or J-2 visas. The ISSS is required to report biographical data on F-2 and J-2 dependents to the U.S. federal government. Dependent information can be submitted via an e-form.

Reporting your departure date and reason to the ISSS if you are ending your studies at Binghamton University unexpectedly

Students may leave the University early or unexpectedly due to a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include early graduation, leave of absence, withdrawal or termination. U.S. federal regulations require F-1 and J-1 students to inform the Office of International Student and Scholar Services if they plan to leave the University before the expiration date of their I-20/DS-2019 form as well as the reason for doing so. Submit the ISSS Departure Form e-form before you leave.

Applying for an extension prior to the I-20 or DS-2019 expiration date
Students must apply for an extension BEFORE their I-20 or DS-2019 form expires if they intend to stay at Binghamton and cannot complete their program by the form expiration date. Extension of stay requests are submitted via an e-form, and can be done at any time up to thirty days prior to the expiration date on the form. The Academic Advisor's Recommendation Form must be uploaded with the e-form, and your finances must be recertified.

Obtaining transfer authorization prior to leaving Binghamton
Students who plan to transfer to another college or university in the United States must inform the ISSS by submitting the Transfer Out/SEVIS Release Request e-form. The ISSS will then perform the "transfer out" in SEVIS and designate the school to which you will transfer.

Departing the U.S. within the grace period
Students in F-1 status must depart the United States within 60 days of the I-20 ending date OR their program end date, whichever is earlier. The exceptions to this rule include those who have applied for Optional Practical Training, are transferring to a new school or have applied for a change of status with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS). Students in J-1 status must depart the United States within 30 days of the DS-2019 expiration date or program end date, whichever is earlier, unless they have applied for academic training or are transferring to a new J program.

The two-year home-country physical-presence requirement for J-1 Exchange Visitors
The requirement is intended to prevent a participant from staying longer than necessary for the objective, and to ensure that he or she will spend at least two years in the home country before coming back to the United States for a long-term stay.

Be aware of the consequences for violating your status
USCIS has increased the penalties for international students and scholars who do not maintain their immigration status. Students and scholars who are in violation of status could be subject to a 3-year or 10-year bar on returning to the United States or could be subject to removal from the U.S. You must be sure to follow all the rules and requirements listed above. If you believe you may be in violation of your F-1 or J-1 status, please speak with an ISSS advisor immediately so that we can assist you.

Important Note: This information is subject to change without notice. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your legal status in the United States, it is important for you to contact the ISSS.

Last Updated: 11/7/18