Maintaining Your Visa Status

Please follow these simple guidelines so you will comply with U.S. ICE (U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) and USCIS (U.S. Customs & Immigration Services) regulations:

  • You must be a full-time student at the school that you are authorized to attend by U.S. ICE. This means completing at least 12 units each semester.
  • You must have a permanent home address outside of the United States. That address must be on file with the school granting your I-20.
  • You must keep your passport valid at all times, up to six months into the future.
  • You must be able to support yourself without working illegally during your entire stay in the United States.
  • You should make photocopies of: Your passport, your I-20, your I-94 card (both sides). Keep the photocopies of these documents in a safe place. If your original documents get lost or stolen, having copies will make the replacement process much easier for you.
  • You must not travel outside the United States without first consulting with the International Student Advisor at least 2 weeks before you travel. The Advisor will check your documents and sign your I-20 so that you will not have any difficulties re-entering the United States. International students from certain countries may need to obtain special “visitor visas” to enter Canada. If you have a family emergency and need to leave immediately, contact the Advisor for immediate assistance.
  • Travel during your application request for Optional Practical Training (OPT): If you are eligible and would like to apply for Optional Practical Training, you will be advised that you should not travel outside the USA until you have been issued the work permit from DHS.
  • VISA OVERSTAYS: Nonimmigrant visa stamp in your passport will now be void in the United Stated beyond the period of authorized stay. You cannot seek a new visa other than from your country of citizenship. (Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996)
  • BE AWARE OF THE DATES ON YOUR I-20. Plan your education program so that you will not be out-of-status. Be enrolled in twelve (12) or more units, this means the completion of twelve (12) or more units at the end of Fall or Spring semesters. (Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996)
  • Plan your extension of stay in a timely manner to meet the immigration deadline. (Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996)
  • For additional information please call the International Student Office at (213) 763-5345 and schedule an appointment.
  • PERIOD OF AUTHORIZED STAY extends to the expiration date on your I-20, plus your grace period. (Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996)

Any International student who is UNLAWFULLY IN THE UNITED STATES FOR MORE THAN SIX (6) MONTHS BUT LESS THAN ONE (1) YEAR IS NOT ADMISSIBLE TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THREE (3) YEARS. If the student is unlawfully present for MORE THAN ONE YEAR, THE INDIVIDUAL CANNOT BE ADMITTED FOR TEN (10) YEARS. (Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996)