Maintaining Status

Maintaining status is the responsibility of each student and scholar. As a student or visiting scholar, you must maintain lawful F-1 or J-1 status during your time in the U.S. because if you do not, then you could have serious short-term and long-term consequences.  When you sign your I-20  or DS-2019 and enter the United States, you are indicating that:

  • You agree to comply with the terms and conditions of your admission and any extensions of stay.
  • All information provided on your documents is true and correct to the best of your knowledge.
  • You seek to enter or remain in the United States temporarily only for the purpose of completing the program at the institution indicated on your documents.

Important Reminders

  • Maintain a valid passport at all times. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months into the future.
  • Keep Form I-20 or DS-2019 current. Do not let it expire. Make sure all the information on your form is accurate and valid. Obtain a new Form whenever any information has changed.
  • Be enrolled full-time during the academic year unless you have permission from ISSS.  Full-time enrollment normally means 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and 9 credit hours for graduate students.
  • Apply for an extension if you cannot complete your program before the completion date on your I-20 or DS-2019. No extension is allowed past the expiration date on the form.
  • Make certain that you have a valid travel endorsement on your I-20 (valid for one year) or DS-2019 (valid for 6 months) from the Center for Global Engagement before traveling. The endorsement for travel must be obtained during the current semester. It is not necessary if you are returning home permanently.
  • The visa sticker in your passport can be allowed to expire while you are in the U.S. because it is an entry visa.   However, If you travel outside the U.S. with the expired visa, you will need to renew it before you return to the U.S.
  • Report a change of address in BearWeb within 10 days of the change by updating your address and contacting our office to let us know that you have moved.
  • Make sure your I-94 is always marked F-1 for those with F visas and J-1 for those with J visas.  It should also be marked as "D/S". It is much harder to correct errors once you leave the immigration inspection site (airport). If your I-94 card contains errors, immediately contact ISSS.
  • Report any life event that may affect your status such as birth of a child, marriage, change of legal name or divorce.
  • NEVER work off-campus unless you have current work authorization from an ISSS advisor or DHS (Department of Homeland Security).
  • Do not engage in criminal activity.

Additional Requirements for J-1 Students

  • Maintain required health insurance coverage
  • Observe the 30-Day Grace Period for J-1 Visas - You are allowed to remain in the U.S. for an additional 30 days after your Program End Date on your DS-2019. However, if you leave the U.S. during the Grace Period, you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. in J-1 status.

Center for Global Engagement

Hankamer Academic Center, H 160.01
1428 S. 5th St.
Waco, TX 76798

One Bear Place #97012
Waco, TX 76798-7012

(254) 710-1461