Permanent Residents are those who have obtained their Green Card (Form I-551). They are not considered citizens of the United States but have many rights associated with citizens. They are also not considered international students. They are a special category. With that being said, a Permanent Resident does not need any special visa or authorization from the International Student and Scholar Office to enroll at Baylor. In addition, they may work on or off-campus without authorization.
An individual who has filed the I-485 application to adjust his or her status from a non-citizen to become a Permanent Resident is considered to be Pending for Permanent Residency (PR Pending or I-485 Pending). This status gives the individual legal status to remain in the U.S. during this pending period. The individual does not automatically have the right to work but may apply for work permission using the Form I-765. Like the Permanent Resident, the PR Pending may also enroll at Baylor without any special visa or authorization from the International Student and Scholar Office. This means that these students are not required to have an F-1 visa to study at Baylor. It may be months or years before the pending status is resolved, so students should be aware of their options and the potential benefits and consequences of each.
When you file the Form I-485 application you are allowed to remain in the U.S. without maintaining F-1 status. Although maintaining student status is not required once you file the I-485 there is a practical benefit to maintaining your legal F-1 status. If you choose to maintain your full-time F-1 status while you are PR Pending, you may be eligible to be reinstated back to F-1 student status if you are denied Permanent Residency. Without doing this, you may be forced to return home. This pathway provides a backup plan in case you fail to become a PR and still want to stay in the U.S. As an F-1, you will be tracked in SEVIS so that there is proof of maintaining your F-1 status. However, if you follow this path and fail to maintain F-1 status for even one semester, you will still be legally PR Pending but you will no longer have the F-1 option available if you fail to become a PR. Also, remember that if you want to maintain your F-1 status while you are PR Pending, then you may not work off-campus (even with approval based on your PR Pending status), because you will forfeit your F-1 status. F-1 students may not work off-campus.
If you have filed the I-485 (PR Pending), you have legal status in the U.S. and do not have to follow F-1 regulations. You do not have to attend school. If you follow this path, then you will have no alternate plan if you are denied for Permanent Residence. More than likely, if denied, you will be forced to leave the U.S. and return to your home country.
Please contact the Registrar’s Office is you need to change your status after you have enrolled.
The information above is only for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. If you are seeking Permanent Residency or U.S. Citizenship, you should contact an immigration lawyer or other appropriate counsel for advice.