Maintaining Your F-1 (Student) Status

Because you have qualified to study in the U.S., it's critical that you abide by immigration regulations relevant to your visa. Failure to do so will put you out of immigration status. At that point, you will have only 2 options - go home immediately or request reinstatement through USCIS.

The application for reinstatement is costly and generally takes a year to be processed; it can be approved or denied depending on why you lost your status.

Study in the States
YTo learn more about the laws and procedures governing F-1 students, please go to the website for Study in the States. This is the Department of Homeland Security site for international students.

Scroll down to Student Resouces or click on Students in the top blue bar.

Enroll for 1 Year Before Taking a Break
You must attend school for 1 full year before you are eligible to take a break from your studies. For those who attend our Plainview campus, you must attend classes for 2 semesters, August-December and January-May. For those who attend one of our external campuses, you must attend four 8-week sessions before you can take a break.


Maintain a Passing GPA and a Good Behavioral Record
If you fail all of your classes for a semester, you could be suspended from the university. That will put you out of immigration status. You must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. If you are suspended because of behavioral problems or violation of school policies, you will be out of status.


Enroll in Classes for Each Semester as a Fulltime Student
This means that Undergraduates, those seeking a Bachelors' Degree, must enroll in at least 12 hours of class per semester. And 9 of those hours must be in face-to-face settings. The remaining 3 hours may be in online settings. If you drop below the 12 hours of class per week, you are out of status. If you take fewer than 9 hours of face-to-face classes, you are out of status.

Graduate students, those seeking a Masters' Degree, must enroll in at least 6 hours of class per semester. And 3 of those hours must be in face-to-face settings. Anything less will put you out of status. All first-time Graduate students to Wayland must take a face-to-face class during their first term at Wayland.

Please do not drop any classes until you speak with the DSO.


seek help:

  • For Difficult Coursework: Waiting until the second or third week of the term to seek help for challenging assignments could jeopardize your grade. Please see the professors for assistance with your class work or sign up for tutoring. The tutoring sessions are paid for by your fees. Visit the tutoring center on the second floor of the library. You must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA


  • For Spiritual Needs: Any faculty or staff will be happy to speak and pray with you. Should you want to speak with the Director of Spiritual Life, please see Donnie Brown whose office is located in the Brown Family Conference Center across from Jimmy Dean Dorm.


  • For Health Problems: Please see our Director of Health Services for any health issues. The office is located on the second floor of the University Center - above the Cafeteria. Remember, you have a health insurance policy so if you need to see a doctor, your out-of-pocket costs will be reduced.


  • For Mental/Emotional Concerns: Our counseling office is located next to the Health Services Office. Again, there is no direct cost to you because the services are covered by fees that you have paid. These are confidential visits; please do not hesitate to get the help you need.


  • For Disciplinary or Harassment Issues: Should you need to speak with an official regarding disciplinary or harassment issues, please see Wayland's Dean of Students on the second floor of the University Center. These records are confidential; do not hesitate to seek help. If you need immediate police help, call 911.


  • For Housing Issues: Please visit the Housing Office on the second floor of the University Center.


Work Only on Campus: F-1 students may work only on campus for up to 20 hours weekly. Exceptions to that rule are for students participating in CPT and OPT; see the DSO about these options. Students must have a Social Security card before they can begin work. The DSO can assist with that process. If you work, you must file a U.S. tax return for each year of work in the U.S. You should plan to use a tax-preparation service.


Pay Your Wayland Bills: Please check with Wayland's Business Office regarding the payment of your bill. You must have cleared the balance for your current term before you are allowed to enroll in the next term. The Business Office is on the first floor of Gates Hall.


Inform the DSO of Changes, Immigration Issues, or Transfer Plans: The Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the U.S. government's web-based system for tracking and managing your non-immigrant status while in the U.S. Inform the DSO immediately of any changes in address, degree, major, phone number or email. These changes must be noted in your SEVIS record. Too, if planning to travel out of country, please contact your DSO. For any issues with your I-20 or if you plan to transfer out of Wayland, please ee the DSO.


Return and Report: Students must return to campus by the first day that the university officially opens for the new term following a holiday. They must report to the DSO in person that they have returned. Likewise, students must report to the DSO should they plan to leave early to return home after finals.


Know Your End Date and Email Any Extension Requests: Stay aware of your Program End Date; it is noted on the first page of your I-20. The End Date is the date by which you should complete your degree at Wavland. You are required to leave the country 60 days after your End Date unless you are participating in OPT, re-enrolling in a university, or changing your visa type.

Consult with your academic advisors regularly to stay current about your academic requirements and graduation date. Should you need additional time to complete your degree, past the end date, you must speak to the DSO at least a semester before you plan to finish your degree. If approved by the DSO, email the DSO your formal request with the finish date.


Check Your I-20 Before You Travel: Check with the DSO before traveling out of the country to have your I-20 signed.