One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

Continue to pursue your studies with peace of mind! Make sure you're aware of the guidelines you need to follow to maintain your legal F-1 visa status.

Use this checklist to help keep your immigration status valid while in the U.S.:

Duration of Status

Your F-1 status lasts through the end date marked on your I-20; this is called "Duration of Status". Once you reach the end date, your I-20 is complete and you have 60 days to exit the United States. If you need more time to complete your degree, you must request a program extension and get an updated I-20 from International Student Services before you reach your end date. If you apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) post-graduation, your end date will be extended for one additional year, allowing another year of duration of status.

Student Employment Regulations

On-campus employment is limited to fewer than 20 hours per week (no more than 12 is recommended) during normal enrollment periods, but during official school breaks, you may work up to 40 hours per week. Please notify International Student Services when you accept on-campus employment.

Any off-campus employment requires a curricular practical training (CPT) application, the support and approval of your advisor, and approval by the International Student Services office. Any CPT employment must be directly related to your major and integral to your program of study. CPT must be reflected on your I-20 with specific start and end dates and is approved on a semester-by-semester basis. Learn more about student employment

Keep Documents Up to Date

  • Health Insurance – Keep your health insurance information up to date in the UMS patient portal.
  • I-20 – Whenever you make a change in your major or in degree levels (from bachelor's to master's, master's to doctorate, optional practical training to a new degree, etc.), you'll need a new I-20.
  • Passport – Keep your passport valid and renewed at all times. Remember your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your stay in the U.S.
  • F-1 Visa – You may remain in the U.S. if your visa expires, as long as your I-20 is active. If you exit the U.S. with an expired visa you will need to renew it before you re-enter the country. You may renew your visa as long as your I-20 is active and you have not reached your program end date.

Traveling Outside the U.S.

If you travel outside the U.S. for study abroad, a missions trip, or a University break, please visit the website of the country you'll be visiting to check if you need an additional visa to enter and stay in that country. Keep in mind that before traveling outside the U.S., you may need an updated travel signature from Cedarville's DSO on your current I-20 to re-enter the U.S. Signatures are valid for one year.

Be mindful of your visa's expiration date and determine if it will be valid on the day you plan to return to the U.S. If not, consider the time you may need to apply for a visa renewal at a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas. Bring documented evidence with you to show that you've been maintaining your F-1 status while in the U.S.

Transfer Guidelines

Whenever you change schools, you will need to request an I-20 transfer before classes begin for your first semester at your new school. The transfer is complete when it is set in SEVIS and the new school accepts the record of transfer.

Whether you're transferring to Cedarville from another school or from Cedarville to another school, you'll need to contact International Student Services at Cedarville and the DSO at the other school to complete the transfer. Your current school will release your I-20 record with a release date from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Then, once the release date arrives, your new school will accept your student record and issue a new I-20. You don't need to get the approval of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to transfer, but International Student Services will verify that your student account has a zero balance before you transfer.

Follow these guidelines if you're transferring to Cedarville without leaving the United States:

  • Once you're accepted to Cedarville University and have paid your deposit, you will be provided with an I-20 transfer form. Complete the top portion and give the form to the DSO at your current school. They will complete their portion and return it to Cedarville; the form instructs the DSO where to transfer your I-20 so you can remain in status. Your transfer must be completed within 60 days of your program end date or you will no longer have an active I-20.
  • When you arrive, bring previous I-20 forms, along with your passport, to the Office of International Student Services in the Engineering and Science Center (ENS) 280.
  • Get your new I-20 within 10 days of the beginning of the semester for which you were admitted.